President Trump thinks he invented a term “a couple of days ago” that he has been using for months and that economists have for more than a century, and it wasn't even the least accurate thing he said in his latest interview.
Now, everyone is understandably laughing at Trump's history of the phrase “priming the pump.” That, of course, is the long-standing idea that the government should fight recessions by cutting taxes and increasing spending. It really entered the lexicon in the 1930s — that's the first time the Economist used the term — but it goes back to at least 1916. Trump, though, has some alternative facts. “Have you heard that expression used before?” he asked the Economist, before explaining that “I haven't heard it ... I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good.” This is puzzling. First off, Trump's question doesn't make any sense on its own terms. How could they have heard of it if he just came up with it? And second, how could he think he just coined it when he used the very words “priming the pump” back in March and December?