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Dumping Trump?

Matt Wuerker
© Matt Wuerker

Are voters finally getting tired of Donald Trump? It was fun while it lasted, but it might have just been a summer fling.

UPDATE: During Trump’s presidential announcement speech, he attacked the performance of the US economy under president Obama, saying, “The last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product — a sign of strength, right? But not for us. It was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.”

Well, he got one thing right: The GDP is never below zero. Last quarter, as usual, it was in the trillions of dollars. What Trump meant to refer to was that the growth in GDP was below zero. So let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he simply misspoke.

Unfortunately for Trump, even then he lied. GDP goes up and down all the time. For example, it goes up for the Christmas holiday buying spurt and then goes down in the following winter quarter pretty much every year, which is why the government “seasonally adjusts” the figure (and Trump was talking about numbers for the first quarter). But even if you use the seasonally adjusted number, quarterly GDP growth has gone negative 15% of the time since they started tracking it in 1947.

Lately, the winters have been unusually harsh, causing the winter quarter to decline even more than normal, but it is hypocritical to blame this on a president who is fighting strong opposition from Republicans to fight climate change. Oh, and if you are going to be blaming economic cycles on the president, then you should note that of the 42 quarters of negative growth since WWII, 30 of them occurred under Republican presidents and only 12 under Democratic presidents.

By any measure, even giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, Trump lied. In fact, Trump has never received a “True” rating from PolitiFact.