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Trump and His Allies’ New Rallying Cry: Media Creating Recession to Swing 2020 to Democrats

President Trump

Trump has long feared a possible recession and what it could do to his re-election chances—so amid talk of a downturn, he and his defenders are naming a scapegoat and motive.

For years, President Trump has discussed with his advisers—
with a hint of worry—the possibility of an economic
recession occurring on his watch.
Ever since early 2017, he’s made it plain to aides that
he understands how a recession can cripple, or destroy,
a presidency. Trump has also made it abundantly clear
that if a recession does happen, he knows exactly who to
blame: chiefly, his enemies in the media, and a Federal
Reserve chairman whom he’s privately compared to an
inept golfer.
According to three people who’ve spoken to Trump
about recessions and the American economy since 2017,
the president has repeatedly voiced concerns—or bitter
annoyance—about what he views as media outlets ability,
or even alleged desire, to help create economic recession
through self-fulfilling prophecy.
One of these sources said they’ve heard Trump say at
least three times over the past two and a half years that
the media would “love it if” a recession occurred during
his first term, seriously harming his chances at re-election
in 2020. Since his inauguration, the president has
brought up the subject of possible recession, sometimes
as an unprompted tangent, in various policy and messaging
discussions, including on health care, taxes, and
trade.
“[Trump] thinks recessions or booms are often self-fulfilling
prophecies,” another one of the sources said. “He’s
said when the media starts beating the drum about a recession
coming, that negativity gets into people’s heads
and they change their behavior: less purchasing, fewer
entrepreneurs starting small businesses, people moving
money out of the market, [and so on]. That’s why he’s so
concerned about the coverage of a potential recession…
He believes he can will the economy in a positive direction
by feeding optimism to the ‘American spirit.’”
The president himself posted to Twitter on Thursday
afternoon: “The Fake News Media is doing everything
they can to crash the economy because they think that
will be bad for me and my re-election.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment
on this story. But by Thursday, it was clear that
prominent media defenders of Trump’s, several of whom
moonlight as top informal advisers to the president, had
begun to coalesce around the narrative that much of the
mainstream media craved a recession to oust Trump.
Over on Fox Business Network, two of the president’s
most loyal media supporters have also latched onto the
idea that the media is attempting to undermine the economy
in order to crush Trump.
Still, for now, the president and his team are doing their
best to present the same, rosy forecast on the supposedly
unstoppable Trump economy. As for what they hope is
just this week’s bump in the road, the president and his
economic adviser Peter Navarro are also content to heap
scorn and blame upon the Fed, evidence be damned.
“This is basically the Federal Reserve’s problem—volatility,”
Navarro said on Fox News on Wednesday. “They
are causing this because when [Federal Reserve chair
Jerome] Powell got in as chairman he proceeded to raise
interest rates by 100 interest points, too far too fast. And
even though the Trump economy is rock solid, it slowed
us down a bit because of those higher interest rates.”
Powell, perhaps more so than media outlets, has become
a primary target, both in private and in public, of
the president’s ire over economic matters and interest
rates.

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