Donald Trump and his chief trade advisers insisted on Sunday the US is not facing a recession which markets appear to fear and which could prove costly at the polls next year.In a 30-minute appearance before reporters in New Jersey, the president appeared impervious to danger. The characteristically freewheeling exchange covered his positions on trade, the economy, gun control and international relations.
“I don’t see a recession,” Trump said, preparing to fly to Washington. “We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are tremendously rich. They’re loaded up with money. Walmart is through the roof. We’re not going to have a recession – the world is in a recession right now.”
Competitors including Germany, the European union and the UK and “a lot of countries are not doing as well like we’re doing”, he said, adding again his contention that “the world is in a recession right now”.
Trump also repeated familiar claims that his policy of trade war with China is working rather than rebounding on US consumers and business, saying Beijing “wants to come the negotiating table”.
“China’s doing very poorly – the worst in 27 years – because of what I’ve done,” he said. “They are losing millions of jobs in China. We’re not paying for the tariffs, China is paying for the tariffs. Other countries maybe but in the case of China, China is eating the tariffs – at least so far.”
Analysts disagree with many of Trump’s claims but contrary opinions rarely change his thinking. In a familiar move on Sunday morning, senior White House advisers were sent out to preach the gospel of enduring prosperity.
Speaking to ABC’s This Week, trade adviser Peter Navarro defended US policy, predicted a “strong economy through 2020” and disputed a bond-market indicator of approaching recession that this week sent stocks into their largest one-day sell-off this year.
On Fox News Sunday, economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted: “There’s no recession on the horizon. What’s wrong with a little optimism?”
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Kudlow was confronted with a similar statement made in his National Review column in late 2007 – right before a global recession. He “pleaded guilty” but pointed out other experts had made similar predictions.