True, this is considered ordinary these days. But this time, the content of his tweet appeared more questionable than usual: In the first month of his presidency, Trump tweeted that he’s managed to lower the national debt by $12 billion, in comparison to the national debt rise of $200 billion that President Barack Obama saw in his first month.
The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
Great optimism for future of U.S. business, AND JOBS, with the DOW having an 11th straight record close. Big tax & regulation cuts coming!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
The statistic appeared to come from businessman and political commentator Herman Cain, who spoke on Fox & Friends earlier Saturday morning. During his time on the show, he told the show’s hosts about a little-reported fact that reflected Trump’s success as president.
“And here’s another statistic that I haven’t heard anybody talk about. Did you know that the national debt, in President Trump’s first month, went down 12 billion dollars…” Cain said.
Journalist David S. Bernstein called it early, having realized where Trump would get his morning tweet inspiration from less than an hour later.
…& compared that w/Obama increasing debt $200b in his 1st month. Turns out that's from a post circulating on wacky-right sites.— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) February 25, 2017
…but if Trump tweets that stat this morning, you know where he got it.— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) February 25, 2017
Cain was correct to say that the number hasn’t been widely reported save for a post from right-wing website Gateway Pundit published on Thursday. The post now reflects Trump’s tweet of the statistic.
Secondly, Business Insider further explains why Trump’s claimed responsibility doesn’t make much sense. The budget’s shrinking mostly has to do with the federal government rebalancing intra-governmental holdings (as the debt held by the public has seen just more than $1 million in change). And since Trump has yet to pass a budget, the federal government is still working off of a budget from before his administration.
As for the claimed figure of $200 billion in debt gained in Obama’s first month, Business Insider wrote that the “economic circumstances” under which Obama and Trump became president are incomparable. In other words, that recession Obama inherited? Well, it’s gone now.
To help stabilize the economy and help create jobs amid the recession, both Obama and President George W. Bush passed laws taking on massive amounts of debt. Bush’s program cost $426 billion and Obama’s $831 billion, which he passed before the end of his first month in office.
Trump might be celebrating Cain’s newfound praise of the economy under his lead, but it’s ultimately not his accomplishment to claim.