As soon as the second quarter GDP growth rate of 4.1 percent became public, the media did their best to downplay the good news and refrain from giving President Trump and his policies credit for the strong economy, instead accusing him of using the news to “distract” from the Russia investigation. Not surprisingly, the dismissal of the President’s role in the good economy began before the report even came out.
During Thursday’s edition of Hardball With Chris Matthews, Vivian Salama of The Wall Street Journal brought up the upcoming GDP report, predicting that “it is going to be a good one,” but adding the caveat that “a lot of that is boosted by preemptive activity on tariffs, so let’s see what happens.” Host Chris Matthews jumped in, “How about a trillion dollar deficit? That helps too.” Tax-and-spend iberals suddenly caring about the deficit may actually be one positive aspect of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
After taking a break from the economy to report on developments in the 2020 Presidential race, the Hardball panel quickly returned to the upcoming jobs report. Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post weighed in on the upcoming GDP report: “President Trump is going to take a lot of credit for these good numbers, don't believe him.” Marcus attributed the good economy to “a lot of people who bought things because they are worried about his tariffs and a lot of false growth from tax cuts juicing the economy.” Marcus may have committed a Freudian slip when she admitted that the tax cuts were “juicing the economy.” Marcus then predicted “it’s going to slow down, don’t buy it,” apparently hoping that the self-fulfilling prophecy will doom her least favorite President.
Matthews pointed out that in spite of all of the good economic news, President Trump still has an approval rating in the low 40s. Maybe if the media didn’t provide wall-to-wall negative coverage of the Trump administration, especially by obsessing over Russia and Stormy Daniels, he might have a slightly higher approval rating. Matthews also wondered “what is he going to be…when we have our recession in two years?”
The media must think Americans are really stupid. They all predicted an economic crisis in the event of a Trump victory in the 2016 Presidential election. Now that their predictions turned out to be wrong, the media have instead decided to openly root for a recession; realizing that the good economy will help President Trump and his party in the midterms in addition to aiding him in his re-election bid.
On Friday’s edition of Hardball, which aired after the President gave a press conference on the South Lawn touting the strong economy, the topic barely came up at all, except in a roughly 30-second long ad break where Matthews delivered this brief monologue:
President Trump took a victory lap of sorts on the South Lawn this morning after the latest GDP numbers show the economy growing by more than four percent in the second quarter. Trump touted the Republican tax overhaul, saying Americans are getting far better paychecks. Well, that’s despite Labor Department data showing real wages and personal income growth have slowed or remained stagnant over the past year. The President also claimed the new levels of economic growth are sustainable but some economists say the GDP may have been artificially inflated in this quarter by a flood of exports as countries race to stay ahead of a potential trade war. We’ll be right back.
The latest GDP report comes roughly 100 days before the midterm elections. The next jobs report will likely come up right before the midterm elections. If the third quarter GDP report looks anything like the second quarter GDP report that came out on Friday, then expect to see a lot more media meltdowns. After all, a strong economy should lead to a very good performance for the Republicans on Election Day; a scenario which the Democrats and their allies in the media see as their worst nightmare.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Thursday’s edition of Hardball is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Hardball With Chris Matthews
CHRIS MATTHEWS: We’re back with the “Hardball” roundtable. Vivian, tell me something I don’t know.
VIVIAN SALAMA: Donald Trump’s favorite subject: economic growth. Tomorrow, second quarter GDP coming out. Economists agree that it is going to be a good one, that figures can be anywhere from four percent to maybe even as high as five percent but a lot of that is boosted by preemptive activity on tariffs so let’s see what happens.
MATTHEWS: How about a trillion dollar deficit? That helps too.
SALAMA: Let’s see what happens.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Gabe.
GABE DEBENDETTI: Well, while all of us have been focused on D.C., there’s been a trio of western Democratic governors who have been really amping up their 2020 activity. John Hickenlooper from Colorado who recently went to Iowa, is in New Hampshire tonight, meeting with state party leaders. Jay Inslee from Washington was in Iowa recently and the most 2020 forward of them all, Steve Bullock from Montana, is in New Hampshire next month. And I’ve recently been told that he’s going to Iowa later this week. He will be in Dubuque tomorrow.
MATTHEWS: I like kind of his jib, we’ll see.
DEBENDETTI: And the backdrop, Democrats have never nominated a Westerner.
MATTHEWS: 25 candidates it looks like, Susan.
RUTH MARCUS: Vivian scooped me. And I’m not…
MARCUS: ...I’m nimble enough to come up with an alternative. President Trump is going to take a lot of credit for these good numbers, don’t believe him. He’s…it’s a lot of people who bought things because they are worried about his tariffs and a lot of false growth from tax cuts juicing the economy. The…it’s going to then slow down. Don’t buy it.
MATTHEWS: Here’s the thing. With the economy booming like it is now, at least in GDP terms and low unemployment rates among minorities and all that good news, he is still in the low 40s. What is he going to be when we have our, when we have our recession in two years?
MARCUS: Yeah, and by the way, wages: flat.