Donald Trump smiling at CPAC 2017

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Trump claims he invented the concept of ‘priming the pump’

This is absurd, even for Donald Trump.


David Covucci

Internet Culture

Published May 11, 2017   Updated May 24, 2021, 2:47 pm CDT

Donald Trump has a history of making grandiose statements about himself, but this one may have taken the cake.*

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*’Take the cake’ is an idiom that first entered the American lexicon when Donald Trump had a slice of cake at Ivanka’s fourth birthday party in 1985. “I have taken the cake,” he said to himself. 

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In an interview with the Economist, President Trump took credit for inventing what is a very basic fundamental concept of economics.*

*It should be noted that the entire foundation of economics was first thought up by Donald Trump, when he accidentally stubbed his toe while purchasing a stick of gum and he realized that there was an unseen body part that guides him in transactions around the world, which he dubbed “the unseeing foot of business.”

Here is the transcript, verbatim.

Another part of your overall plan, the tax reform plan. Is it OK if that tax plan increases the deficit? Ronald Reagan’s tax reform didn’t.
Well, it actually did. But, but it’s called priming the pump. You know, if you don’t do that, you’re never going to bring your taxes down. Now, if we get the health-care [bill through Congress], this is why, you know a lot of people said, “Why isn’t he going with taxes first, that’s his wheelhouse?” Well, hey look, I convinced many people over the last two weeks, believe me, many Congressmen, to go with it. And they’re great people, but one of the great things about getting health care is that we will be saving, I mean anywhere from $400bn to $900bn.

Mr Mnuchin [Secretary of the Treasury]: Correct.

President Trump: That all goes into tax reduction. Tremendous savings.

But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the deficit?
It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll…you understand the expression “prime the pump”?

We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.
We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?
Yeah, have you heard it?

Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

It should first be noted, that not once, not twice, but three times, Donald Trump asked reporters at the Economist, the world’s foremost authority on the worldwide economy, if they were familiar with a very fundamental concept of the subject matter they cover. It should also be noted it’s a phrase that’s been around at least since FDR implemented the New Deal in 1933. That’s literally like asking the editor in chief of Sports Illustrated, on three consecutive occasions, if he’s heard of a hockey stick.

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Trump: Have you heard of a hockey stick before?

Editor-in-Chief of Sports Illustrated: A hockey stick?

President of the United States Donald Trump: Yeah, have you heard it?

EIC of SI: Yes.

The frigging president of the United States: Have you heard what a hockey stick is? Because I haven’t. I mean, I just…I came up with the idea a couple of days ago and I thought it was good.

Fuckin’ a, man.*

*Fuckin’ a being an expression first coined by the president when he first attempted to learn the alphabet and was bested one letter in. 

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*First Published: May 11, 2017, 10:41 am CDT