The top official on the White House economic advisory council said on Monday that President Trump’s claim that the quarterly change in the country’s gross domestic product has eclipsed the U.S. unemployment rate for “the first time in over 100 years” is false.
“I can tell you what is true,” Kevin Hassett, chairman of the council, told reporters during a press briefing. “What is true is that it is the highest in 10 years.”
Earlier Monday, Trump fired off a series of tweets boasting about the state of the economy.
“The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!” the president tweeted.
The claim was quickly debunked.
“Trump is completely wrong about how rare this is,” the Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote. “Out of the 282 full quarters since 1948, the rate of change in the GDP has topped the unemployment rate 64 times, or more than a quarter of the time. So 64 times in the past 70 years. Not quite the same as once in a century.”
This has happened 64 times in the past 70 years.
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 10, 2018
Hassett, who appeared at Monday’s briefing to try to show that recent positive economic data was a direct result of the president’s policies, said he did not know the source of Trump’s bunk economic data and “could not engage” in speculation about where he got it. Then he did just that.
“At some point somebody probably conveyed it to him adding a zero to  and shouldn’t have done that,” Hassett said.
He added that the “numbers geeks” at the White House are grateful when the press points out mistakes because “we want to correct them.”
Trump’s erroneous tweet, however, has yet to be deleted and the president has not issued a correction.
The president’s other tweets about the economy, while assertive in tone, were essentially his opinions.
“If the Democrats had won the Election in 2016, GDP, which was about 1% and going down, would have been minus 4% instead of up 4.2%,” he tweeted. “I opened up our beautiful economic engine with Regulation and Tax Cuts. Our system was choking and would have been made worse. Still plenty to do!”
Trump added: “The Economy is soooo good, perhaps the best in our country’s history (remember, it’s the economy stupid!), that the Democrats are flailing & lying like CRAZY! Phony books, articles and T.V. ‘hits’ like no other pol has had to endure-and they are losing big. Very dishonest people!”
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