MSNBC: ‘Dangerous’ for Trump to Tout Stock Rise, Must ‘Own the Fall’

Throughout the day on Tuesday, MSNBC’s anchors and correspondents lectured President Trump on the perils of touting a surging stock market, in the wake of Monday’s losses. However, all of the journalists at the liberal cable channel seemed to forget how often Barack Obama similarly took credit for stocks being on the rise during his administration.

During her 9:00 a.m. ET hour show, host Stephanie Ruhle warned: “The sell-off on Wall Street is posing a real issue for Donald Trump. Remember, this guy and his entire administration has spent the last year cheerleading the markets, cheerleading. That is dangerous behavior.” Moments later, she added: “President Trump and his daughter and Steve Mnuchin have taken – have hung their hat on these markets every day possible.... How can they possibly walk away from this?”

 

 

Correspondent Peter Alexander piled on: “Yeah, Stephanie, I think you’re exactly right....This, though, is teaching this White House a very tough lesson that what goes up can come back down....he’s repeatedly claimed the rise, but so far, he is not owning the fall.”

In the next hour, anchor Hallie Jackson declared: “You know the President loves talking stocks....Of course, the risk? If you take credit for the wins, you might politically own the losses.” White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett doubled down:

So of course, the political challenge for the White House of course is trying to distance the President from the decline in the market, because as that montage you just played showed, the President has been quick to claim credit for the stock market on its good days. And as you point out, if you claim the rise, you own the fall.

Back to discuss the topic in the 11:00 a.m. ET hour with her co-host Ali Velshi, Ruhle condescendingly scolded:

This could be a really good learning moment for this administration....Unlike previous administrations, the President and his Treasury Secretary and his administration have been touting this market right, left and center, saying, “You’re welcome for your 401(k).” And that’s dangerous to do....the White House needs to take stock and realize, “We cannot hang our hat and tout and sell this market every day because there are factors that are simply beyond our control.”

Weeks before Ruhle was admonishing Trump for taking credit for stock market gains, she was giving the President credit for stock market gains. On the December 1 Today show, co-host Hoda Kotb asked Ruhle: “The Dow has been up 6,000 points, I think, since the Trump took office. So is what we’re seeing, the Trump effect, watching the stock market go up?” Ruhle replied:

 

 

You can’t deny it. The market has gone up significantly. 30% since Trump won. That’s not a Trump bump, it’s a Trump mountain. But the market has been consecutively going up for the last nine years. Since Obama took office, it’s been a slow and steady climb.  But Trump won, he said, “I’m deregulating, I’m cutting taxes.” And you can see it in the market. The market loves it.

In the noon ET hour on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell joined in the hand-wringing over Trump touting the stock market: “President Trump has broken an unwritten rule of past presidents who don’t brag about the stock market, knowing what goes up can come down.”

Turning to Financial Times U.S. Managing Editor Gillian Tett, Mitchell fretted: “...this is such a risky business for the President to define the economy by, you know, the stock market.” Tett proclaimed: “Oh, it’s completely nuts what he’s done in terms of talking about the stock market as a barometer of his success.”

Apparently Mitchell, Tett, Ruhle, and the rest of the MSNBC crew didn’t remember how frequently former President Obama seized on rising stocks in order to boost his administration’s handling of the economy.

As MarketWatch reporter Jeffry Bartash recalled in a March 2, 2017 article:

Obama touted stock market improvements in State of the Union speeches in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back, corporate profits are up, the economy is growing again,” Obama said in his 2011 address.

And in 2014 Obama told Congress: “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better.”

During a 2014 interview with The Economist, Obama patted himself on back:

Since I have come into office, there’s almost no economic metric by which you couldn’t say that the US economy is better and that corporate bottom lines are better. None.

So if, in fact, our policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10m new jobs...

On Monday, Townhall’s Cortney O’Brien reminded readers of a 2011 interview Obama gave to ABC’s David Muir, in which the President hyped: “Well, first of all, if you’re talking about the movements of the U.S. stock market, the stock market was down when I first took office and the first few months I was in office about 3,000 points lower than it is now.”

Where was the coverage on MSNBC fearing that Obama was engaging in “dangerous behavior” for taking credit for such investment gains?

Here are excerpts of the February 6 coverage going after Trump on the issue:

9:05 AM ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: The sell-off on Wall Street is posing a real issue for Donald Trump. Remember, this guy and his entire administration has spent the last year cheerleading the markets, cheerleading. That is dangerous behavior. Particularly in recent weeks. Take a look at this.

DONALD TRUMP: Have you heard the latest? The market’s up about 150 points and we broke a very, very big barrier, 25,000....Just hitting a new high on the stock market again, and that means jobs....The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion and more in value in just this short period of time.

RUHLE: Well, there you have it. NBC’s Peter Alexander is at the white house. Peter, I've watched in the last day the White House dial it back and say we look at long-term trends. Baloney. If they looked at long-term trends, they would be looking at a market that has been on the rise since President Obama took office. President Trump and his daughter and Steve Mnuchin have taken – have hung their hat on these markets every day possible. Two weeks ago, in Davos, Steve Mnuchin, going against policy and talking down the weaker dollar. How can they possibly walk away from this? The President over and over got on that podium and said, “You can thank me for your 401k.”  

PETER ALEXANDER: Yeah, Stephanie, I think you’re exactly right. When this White House talks about trends, certainly when the President talks about trends, the trend can only begin on January 20 of 2017, that’s the trend that he focuses on. This, though, is teaching this White House a very tough lesson that what goes up can come back down. President trump now presiding, as you noted, over the biggest stock market drop in U.S. history, when you measure it by points. He has been noticeably silent on the market slide. As you just showed, he’s repeatedly claimed the rise, but so far, he is not owning the fall.

(...)

10:03 AM ET

HALLIE JACKSON: You know the President loves talking stocks. This has been one of his favorite, frequent lines during speeches, during pool sprays. Check this out.

DONALD TRUMP: The stock market has gained almost $3 trillion in value since the election on November 8 – a record....We’ve added $3.3 trillion....$3.4 trillion....Almost $4 trillion....We've created more than $5 trillion....Since Election Day, $5.2 trillion in value....More that $7 trillion....We’ve created now almost $8 trillion worth of value.

JACKSON: Of course, the risk? If you take credit for the wins, you might politically own the losses. So Geoff Bennett is over at the White House. Jeff, the White House so far have a pretty muted response, I would say, to these – to what we’re seeing in the markets happening.

(...)

GEOFF BENNETT: So of course, the political challenge for the White House of course is trying to distance the President from the decline in the market, because as that montage you just played showed, the President has been quick to claim credit for the stock market on its good days. And as you point out, if you claim the rise, you own the fall.

(...)

11:34 AM ET

RUHLE: This could be a really good learning moment for this administration. We’ve talked about this before. Unlike previous administrations, the President and his Treasury Secretary and his administration have been touting this market right, left and center, saying, “You’re welcome for your 401(k).” And that’s dangerous to do. The market is irrational. Think about yesterday –  and I’m not going to dig into the weeds of it – the fact that the market could get driven so far down by a technical, by hedge funds going short volatility. And I know people are going cross-eyed right now, but that’s important. When you’ve got hedge funds who are going short and vol, obscure a derivative on a top of a derivative, when that affects every stock in the market, then the White House needs to take stock and realize, “We cannot hang our hat and tout and sell this market every day because there are factors that are simply beyond our control.”

ALI VELSHIS: That’s right. That’s exactly right.

(...)

12:31 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: President Trump has broken an unwritten rule of past presidents who don’t brag about the stock market, knowing what goes up can come down. For Mr. Trump, it's been a form of reality TV, market watch, if you will. Joining me is Gillian Tett, U.S. Managing Editor for The Financial Times, and Catherine Rampell, Washington Post opinion writer. Welcome both.

Gillian, there’s a lot of volatility, the market’s – let’s see, it’s back up considerably. So it’s been on a roller-coaster ride all day today. We don’t know how it’s going to close, but this is such a risky business for the President to define the economy by, you know, the stock market.

GILLIAN TETT [FINANCIAL TIMES U.S. MANAGING EDITOR]: Oh, it’s completely nuts what he’s done in terms of talking about the stock market as a barometer of his success. Because, you know, every president, every Treasury Secretary knows that you can't control the stock market. And there’s all kinds of factors feeding into it. And he’s certainly gone very quiet about the stock market over the last day.

(...)


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
NBDaily Economy Stock Market Conservatives & Republicans MSNBC Video Stephanie Ruhle Andrea Mitchell Donald Trump