Unlike most of his predecessors, who have generally avoided talking about the ups and downs of the stock market, Mr. Trump has repeatedly taken credit for the rise in stock prices. He often mentions the bull market in settings that have nothing to do with the economy. But on Monday, he made no mention of it, preferring to focus on other economic indicators, like the unemployment rate and economic growth.
“When I signed the tax cut six weeks ago, it set off a tidal wave of good news that continues to grow every single day,” Mr. Trump said. “Before the ink was dry, companies were announcing thousands and thousands of new jobs and enormous investments to workers.”
In fact, Mr. Trump’s speech coincided with the worst single-day numerical decline in the Dow Jones average in history. The market’s decline on Friday and Monday erased all of the gains it made so far this year.
On Air Force One, a White House spokesman, Raj Shah, told reporters that “markets do fluctuate in the short term,” but added, “the fundamentals of the economy are very strong.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was traveling with Mr. Trump, declined to discuss the stock market.
As Mr. Trump patted himself on the back for the tax cut, he went after the Democrats for opposing the $1.5 trillion legislation. He delivered a lengthy digression on the State of the Union address, noting that Democrats sat on their hands as he ticked off one measure of success for the country after another.
“It got to a point where I really didn’t even want to look up too much during the speech over to that side because honestly, it was bad energy,” Mr. Trump said.
“Even on positive news, really positive news like that, they were like death and un-American,” he said, repeating, “Un-American. Somebody said treasonous. I mean, yeah, I guess, why not.”
Mr. Trump was clearly also honing his message for the political campaigns to come before the midterm elections in November. He acknowledged that the president’s party normally suffers setbacks, in part because its voters become complacent.
But he insisted that Republicans could ride the strong economy to victory this fall, saying Democratic leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California were out of touch with ordinary people.
“They want to raise your taxes,” he said. “They don’t want to give the money to the military, which we have to because our military — because of Obama and even beyond Obama — it’s depleted, it’s in bad shape.”
Noting Ms. Pelosi’s recent assertion that middle-class people would receive only “crumbs” from the tax cut, Mr. Trump said, “This is not a good day for Nancy Pelosi. She’s our secret weapon.” He added, “I just hope they don’t change her. There are a lot of people that want to run her out. She’s really out there.”
Ms. Pelosi fired back quickly, saying through her spokesman, Drew Hammill, “As the Dow nosedives on his watch, the president’s rambling, deceitful tax scam sales pitch reached an all-time low in Cincinnati.”
Though Mr. Trump was on an official presidential trip, his visit was replete with political overtones. In addition to Ohio’s Republican senator, Rob Portman, the president brought along James B. Renacci, an Ohio congressman who is challenging the state’s Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown, this year, with the encouragement of the White House.
“We want to get Jim in it, and a lot of other people in,” Mr. Trump said. “But we have to be tremendous.”
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who challenged Mr. Trump in the 2016 Republican primary race and has remained a vociferous critic, did not meet him.
In a more sedate event nearby, Melania Trump, the first lady, played board games with children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Mrs. Trump, who accompanied her husband to Ohio after spending much of January relatively out of sight, received a briefing on neonatal abstinence syndrome from physicians, who explained the effects the disease has on infants born with opioid dependency.
When Mrs. Trump visited an infant recovery center last fall in Huntington, W.Va., she said she hoped to “give a voice” to those suffering from addiction.
But while her husband reveled in the back-and-forth with his audience, Mrs. Trump kept her time in front of cameras limited to a few minutes, directing her attention to the children who had been gathered to greet her. She played the game “Sorry!” and handed out valentines, with her signature on the inside.
Continue reading the main story
Powered by WPeMatico