President Donald Trump responded to former President Barack Obama’s attack on him during a speech Friday, joking his predecessor is good for inducing sleep.
In a speech at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on Friday, Obama told the students they were coming of age when “the privileged … want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep us cynical, because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege.”
He added that the current administration is “a symptom, not the cause” of that division. “It did not start with Donald Trump,” he said.
At a Friday campaign fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota, Trump told the audience he had been asked by a journalist if he watched Obama’s speech given earlier in the day.
“I’m sorry. I watched it but I fell asleep,” the president said. “I found he’s very good, very good for sleeping.”
Trump did directly address Obama’s claim in his remarks that the current robust economy, at least in part, is due to the steps taken during the previous administration.
Obama said that under his leadership, the country initiated the longest job creation streak on record and ensured that wealthier Americans paid their “fair share” in taxes to “help folks coming up behind them.”
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Trump responded by saying Obama “was trying to take credit for this incredible thing that is happening to our country … I have to say this to President Obama, it wasn’t him.”
“If the Democrats got in with their agenda in November, two years ago, instead of having (a Gross Domestic Product) 4.2 (percent) up, I believe honestly you’d have 4.2 down. You’d be in negative numbers right now. We were heading south.”
“It was the weakest recovery … since the Great Depression,” Trump said. “It was barely a recovery, and now this is called not recovery. This is called rocket ship.”
The president pointed to the newly released August jobs report numbers, which showed hourly wages increased 2.9 percent, while unemployment remained at a low of 3.9 percent, matching a number not seen since 2000.
Trump has often touted that the nation is experiencing the lowest unemployment rates for African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics ever recorded.
The GDP grew at 1.6 percent during Obama’s final year in office in 2016. During Trump’s first year in office, the rate was 2.3 percent.
The day after Trump’s election in 2016, the Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked over 250 points, closing at a record high of 18,589.
Over the next year, it steadily increased and now sits just under 26,000.
The 31 percent rise in the stock market during Trump’s first year represents the best tally since the 1930s, when the market was recovering from the 1929 crash.
Earlier this summer, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, credited the economy’s strength to four very un-Obama policies his boss implemented since taking office.
“We’ve lowered tax rates, we’ve rolled back regulations, we’ve unleashed energy, we’re moving to fix the broken world trading system,” Kudlow said.
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