President Trump simply doesn’t get the credit he deserves, according to President Trump. After all, under no other president has the stock market hit the highs we’ve seen since his inauguration. Trump tends to focus on the Dow Jones industrial average instead of other market measures, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 composite-index, in part because the Dow is the best-known market index and, in part, certainly, because the Dow involves much bigger numbers than the other options.
So, on Wednesday evening, Trump celebrated another success.
The Dow crossed 25,000! News worthy of shouting from the rooftops.
There’s just one little catch: The Dow has crossed the 25,000 mark before. In fact, since Trump has been president, the Dow has crossed the 25,000 mark 10 times.
So why the celebratory tweet? Well, because when the Dow (and other markets) are on the upswing, Trump likes to celebrate the change as an indicator of how well the economy — and therefore his presidency — is doing. During the run-up in the market at the end of 2017, Trump tweeted about the market regularly.
When it hit a period of volatility in early 2018, that stopped. In late 2018, with midterm election looming and the markets again climbing higher, back to tweeting. And the surge this year has meant that Trump is once again happy to talk about the strength of the markets.
The 25,000 figure holds some special sway over Trump, in fact. As Politico’s Ben White noted, Trump also touted the Dow hitting 25,000 about a year ago, when it first did.
But that wasn’t the only other time he did so.
He also tweeted about the Dow crossing 25,000 in July, after it had crossed the mark for the seventh time.
This is not a traditional method for celebrating economic accomplishments, particularly because the market hitting the same mark as it had about a year ago is an indicator that the markets aren’t really growing at all.
The day before his first tweet about passing 25,000 — during what turned out to be the tail end of a steady upward climb — Trump tweeted this.
The tax bill he signed in December 2017, he pledged, meant huge upward potential in the markets. A year later, the market is still about at the point it was when he tweeted that.
And yet, weirdly, he still wants credit for boosting the markets. In an interview with the conservative Daily Caller on Wednesday, Trump cited the market hitting 25,000 as proof of the efficacy of his policies.
“Tax cuts, regulation cuts by far the most that anybody’s ever got, biggest tax cuts. And that’s why you look at the market — we just hit over 25,000,” Trump said. The implication is that 25,000 is a new achievement that derives from his policies.
But he then immediately added recognition of what had happened: “We’re back where we were, right?”
His tweet on Wednesday evening implied that the Dow having “just broke” 25,000 was an indicator of his economic success. That leverages the probably correct assumption that many of his Twitter followers won’t remember that he has celebrated the same thing twice before. His caveat in the Daily Caller interview implies instead that 25,000 is a mark of success by itself, even if it’s an unstable one. He’s suggesting that his policies built the market to where it is — ignoring that the market hit 25,000 only two weeks after the tax bill was signed and is now at that same level.
Trump has done similar things before. He has repeatedly, for example, celebrated hitting certain approval poll numbers that he has hit repeatedly in the past. The goal of the tweets isn’t to accurately convey information about his own improvement; it’s simply to convey the sense that improvement is happening, accurately or not.
As of writing, the Dow is back below 25,000. That’s not entirely bad news. If it dips below 25,000 on Thursday and climbs back above that number on Friday, it will give Trump an opportunity to celebrate yet another milestone: the Dow passing 25,000.