- Trump extolled a newly confident America with a series of bold statements about the country’s economic performance throughout his presidency in his big speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
- Many of those statements didn’t match economic reality or were wildly misleading.
President Trump touted a newly resurgent America in his big speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, making a series of bold claims in an address that echoed some of his talking points on the 2020 campaign trail.
Many of those assertions, though, didn’t match economic reality or were wildly misleading.
Trump said that the American economy was in “a dismal state” when he inherited it in 2017 and that US wealth inequality was tossed into the dustbin of history. He also asserted that he “saved” historically black colleges and universities and the economy now is “the greatest” in US history.
Finally, he contended that the two trade deals he recently signed – the USMCA and the “Phase One” US-China trade agreement – were “the biggest ever made.”
Here are the facts about five of Trump’s boldest claims in Davos.
Claim: Trump said the American economy was in “a rather dismal state” when he took office.
Fact: Trump inherited a fairly strong economy from his predecessor, President Obama.
Under Obama, the economy underwent its longest sustained expansion on record, one that Trump is still overseeing.
In the first year of his presidency back in 2017, Trump added 2,188,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the economy created more jobs in every year of Obama’s second term than it did in Trump’s first year, for example.
GDP growth early in Trump’s presidency, though, did outpace that of Obama’s last year in office, partly the result of a short-term boost from the 2017 tax cuts.
Claim: “For the first time in decades, we’re no longer concentrating wealth in the hands of a few,” Trump said.
Facts: American inequality is still worsening year after year.
The Census Bureau said in 2019 that the gap between the richest and poorest households in the US widened, as reported by Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower.
It’s the largest it has ever been since the agency started keeping track of it a half-century ago.
Experts say inequality in the US stems from a range of factors that include stagnant wages for the middle class and tax policies favoring the richest households and corporations.
Claim: “I saved HBCUs. We saved them. They were going out and we saved them,” Trump said.
Facts: That’s a huge stretch.
Back in December, Trump signed a law that permanently restored funding for historically black colleges and universities that had dried up earlier in the year due to congressional gridlock. It totaled $255 million.
HBCUs at large, which constitute 3% of institutions in the higher education system, were not in existential danger before the law restored funding.
Still, they face many of the same challenges wracking other colleges and universities around the country, including rising price tags and budget cuts.
The Trump administration has taken steps to support higher education for minorities, including making available over $100 million for scholarship funding and research last year.
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