Trump national debt

Screengrab via dorseyshaw/Twitter

Trump’s tweet on the national debt came from Fox News, but it isn’t the entire story

It's not his budget, for one.

 

Samantha Grasso

Tech

Published Feb 25, 2017   Updated Apr 25, 2017, 10:08 am CDT

President Donald Trump began his Saturday by watching Fox & Friends and then tweeting in reaction to what he’s heard regarding his administration.

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 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.

So where exactly did Cain get these numbers? First of all, the $12 billion comes from the U.S. Treasury’s daily history of the national debt, which the Hill pointed out.

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.

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*First Published: Feb 25, 2017, 5:09 am CST