Obama Unwittingly Credits Trump for Economic Recovery


One of Barack Obama’s apparent points of frustration has been President Donald Trump taking full credit for overseeing the strongest U.S. economy in decades.

However, during his remarks at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, the 44th president, perhaps unwittingly, opened the door for his successor to take full credit for the economy going into the November election.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States was enjoying its lowest unemployment rate in 50 years (3.5 percent), along with strong economic and wage growth.

In fact, wages were growing the fastest for the lowest earners and at a rate not seen in over a decade thanks to the tight labor market, The Washington Post reported in January.

The unemployment rate is poised to drop remarkably from a high of 14.7 percent in April into single digits this month, and 9.1 million jobs were added from May through July.

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On multiple occasions, Obama has tried to take at least some credit for the Trump economy.

In a September 2018 speech at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Obama said, “I mean I’m glad [the economic recovery] continued, but when you hear of this ‘economic miracle’ that’s been going on when the jobs numbers come out, monthly job number.

“Suddenly Republicans are saying, ‘It’s a miracle.’ I have to kind of remind them, ‘Actually the job numbers are the same as they were in 2015, and 2016.’ “

Similarly, in February 2020, Obama tweeted, “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.”

He appeared to be referencing the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the unemployment rate reached over 25 percent, according to CNBC.

When Obama took office in 2009 during the “Great Recession,” unemployment peaked at 10 percent. President Ronald Reagan, a generation or so before Obama, faced an even higher 10.8 percent figure during a recession in the early 1980s. But no need to quibble: Both presidents grappled with major economic challenges.

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The difference is Obama oversaw the worst economic recovery from a major recession since World War II and Reagan oversaw the best.

By raw numbers, Trump was staring at numbers not seen since the Great Depression, with an official unemployment rate of 14.7 percent this past April, but CNBC estimated the actual figure was closer to 20 percent.

Obama placed all the blame of the job loss on Trump during his DNC convention speech Wednesday night.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” the former president said. “And the consequences of that failure are severe. 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever.”

So Trump is responsible for every job lost due to COVID-19?

Never mind, it was the governors in the individual states that decided whether — and to what extent — to shut down their economies because of the coronavirus outbreak, and how quickly they would open them back up.

Not surprisingly in an election year, the Democrat-led states, by and large, had the most severe shutdowns and have been the slowest to reopen.

It’s neither here nor there now, because Trump owns it all, according to Obama, which means he also can take full credit for what is turning into the quickest recovery on record.

The unemployment rate is heading toward single digits in August, having reached 10.2 percent last month.

The robust recovery began in May, when 2.5 million jobs were created, which caught analysts completely off guard and set an all-time record.

June shattered that benchmark with 4.8 million jobs added, and the trend continued in July with another 1.8 million.

Will the economy continue to strengthen in the fall?

One reason the economy has been bouncing back so quickly is all the fundamentals were in place.

After taking office, Trump made four very un-Obama like moves: He cut government regulations on businesses more than any president in U.S. history; he signed tax cuts for businesses and individuals into law; he promoted domestic energy production; and he negotiated new pro-American trade deals.

The first year after the tax cuts were implemented, economic growth shot up to 3 percent in 2018, and it fell back in 2019 to 2.2 percent, which can be attributed, at least in part, to tough trade stands Trump took against China that led to a deal. Additionally, the Federal Reserve tightened the money supply and raised interest rates.

The last year Obama was in office, the GDP grew at a paltry 1.7 percent.

So it was Trump’s economy, even if his predecessor didn’t want to admit it.

Now, if Obama wants to place all the blame on Trump for the COVID-19 shutdown job losses, he has officially ceded the ground to the 45th president to receive all the credit for the recovery.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith