Trump Says U.S. Is in the Midst of an Economic Boom
President Donald Trump boasted about his handling of the U.S. economy in a speech to business and political leaders in Davos, hours before his impeachment trial was set to begin in Washington.
“I’m proud to declare that the United States is in the midst of an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before,” Trump said Tuesday at the World Economic Forum. “We’ve regained our stride, rediscovered our spirit.”
Trump recounted how his administration presided over cuts in regulations and taxes, and described low unemployment rates for African Americans and women, repeating the arguments he often makes for re-election ahead of November elections.
Trump claims credit for overseeing an economy enjoying its longest-ever expansion, with an unemployment rate that fell to a five-decade low after tax cuts and spending increases. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which Trump regularly cites as a marker of success, is up about 25 per cent from a year ago.
But his fight with China over trade and other protectionist policies have created uncertainty among businesses, especially manufacturers. Despite last week’s interim trade deal with Beijing, the International Monetary Fund on Monday predicted economic growth will moderate to 2 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent in 2021 from 2.3 per cent in 2019 as fiscal stimulus wanes.
In his speech at the Swiss resort, Trump said: “The American dream is back, bigger better and stronger than ever before.”
The president repeated his grievances with the Fed, saying it raised rates too quickly and lowered them too slowly.
On the flight from Washington, the president tweeted about the “incredible” U.S. economy and said that his intention in Davos is to “bring Good Policy and additional Hundreds of Billions of Dollars back to the United States of America.” “We are now NUMBER ONE in the Universe, by FAR!!” Trump tweeted.
Trump is due to hold bilateral meetings with Iraqi President Barham Salih, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga and Nechirvan Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, according to the White House. Trump will also meet with the forum’s executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, and has said he’ll meet with business leaders, too. He leaves Davos on Wednesday.
This is Trump’s second visit as president to the annual gathering of business chiefs, central bankers and foreign leaders. Hanging over the trip this time, however, is his impeachment trial set to formally begin in the Senate. Trump will almost certainly be acquitted by the Republican majority in the Senate, but the trial may produce surprises.
Trump has sought to highlight his trade and economic victories to contrast the impeachment proceedings. He skipped Davos in 2017 out of concern that the well-heeled Davos crowd was the wrong fit for a man elected on a nationalist, anti-elites message. He attended in 2018, then skipped last year amid a government shutdown.
Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are the biggest-name political leaders in attendance; Trump has regularly complained that Merkel spends too little on defense, doesn’t do enough in Ukraine and is too soft on Iran’s regime, but won’t meet with her in Davos.
Other speakers include teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, whom Trump has insulted on Twitter. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose phone call with Trump triggered the impeachment process, is also due to attend briefly but not to meet with the U.S. president.
Once Trump leaves on Wednesday, the U.S. delegation will be led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Trump’s first Davos appearance in 2018 oscillated between a vintage, raucous version of Trump in meetings with national leaders and business executives and more subdued remarks in his formal speech. He touted his agenda but added: “America First does not mean America alone.”