CNN fact-checked President Donald Trump, who tweeted his disagreement about who got the credit for America’s strong economy. But the network missed a key distinction between Trump’s economy and the economy under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama: consumer confidence.
Trump tweeted, “Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration. He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing. NOW, best jobs numbers ever. Had to rebuild our military, which was totally depleted. Fed Rate UP, taxes and regulations WAY DOWN.”
….ever. Had to rebuild our military, which was totally depleted. Fed Rate UP, taxes and regulations WAY DOWN. If Dems won in 2016, the USA would be in big economic (Depression?) & military trouble right now. THE BEST IS YET TO COME. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2020
What spurred Trump’s tweet was a tweet from Obama, where he wrote, “Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”
Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history. pic.twitter.com/BmdXrxUAUf
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 17, 2020
CNN’s fact-check compared the state of the American economy under Trump and Obama and found that there was no significant difference. For example, it cited that the average rate of GDP growth was not too different between the two presidents. Though CNN was correct in its comparison about the economy under Trump versus Obama’s economy, it missed the key distinction of consumer confidence.
The Washington Post reported that 59 percent of Americans told Gallup that they are better off financially today than a year ago. It was the highest percentage of consumer confidence in Gallup surveys since 1999. Also, the survey saw optimism at record highs in the history of Gallup’s “Mood of the Nation” survey.
The Post noted that some of the largest increases in consumer confidence “have come from independent voters and less affluent households” and that several small-business owners told them that Trump “had turned ‘cautious optimism’ into full-blown optimism.”
The interviewees did not disagree that Obama turned around the economy, but all agreed that Trump’s management of the economy led to their optimistic outlook.
CNN’s fact-check omitted the important distinction between Obama’s economy and Trump’s economy: consumer confidence. Though CNN was correct in asserting that the economic recovery began under Obama, it was disingenuous to solely focus on economic figures and ignore consumer confidence.