Trump Uses Fake Quote to Slam Obama

President Donald Trump invented a quote to slam former President Barack Obama on Monday while touting his own economic achievements.

The quote that Trump attributed to Obama, however, does not appear to exist.

Obama referred to a magic wand at a PBS town hall in 2016, when criticizing Trump’s claims about bringing back jobs:

“Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What exactly are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, what, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is, he doesn’t have an answer.”

Trump’s fabricated Obama quote appears to be based on a Fox News segment that aired a few minutes before his tweet. While discussing Obama’s effort to take credit for the strong economy under Trump, Washington Free Beacon writer Elizabeth Harrington said that during the 2016 election, Obama “said that Trump would need a magic wand to get to 4% growth.”

Obama’s comment actually referred to unemployment, not GDP growth.

[Mediaite]

Trump’s latest boast about the economy isn’t even close to accurate

President Donald Trump spent the morning bragging about the economy. At least one of his claims didn’t come close to being true.

“The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!” the president said in a tweet.

The first two numbers are correct, although they measure completely different things, and in different ways.
The overall US economy grew at a 4.2% annual rate in the second quarter. Unemployment was between 3.8% and 4% during the quarter, and it came in at 3.9% in August.

That’s all good news.
“It’s definitely better when it’s true than when it’s not,” said Justin Wolfers, professor of economics at University of Michigan. “I like high GDP growth and low unemployment.”

But Trump got it wrong — way wrong — when he said it hasn’t happened in a century.

In the last 70 years, it’s happened in at least 62 quarters, most recently in 2006.

“He wasn’t even in the neighborhood of right,” Wolfers said in an interview.

Wolfers tweeted a response to Trump’s claim. In fact, it took him two tweets to list all the quarters in which economic growth was higher than the unemployment rate. He added a chart.

“It certainly not a natural comparison,” Wolfers said. “I’ve never seen it made before. It’s not one that a macroeconomist would make. They’re not comparable.”

That’s not just because lower unemployment is better, while higher GDP is preferable.

The unemployment rate is a monthly reading on the percentage of people in the labor force who are looking for work. It is a snapshot of a current condition.

GDP is a reading of the output of the overall economy. When economists talk about GDP growth, they’re not talking about a snapshot of a current condition. They are measuring the change compared with a year earlier. Quarterly GDP growth is also adjusted to come up with the annual rate.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[CNN]

Reality

This happened in 1941, 42, 43, 44, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 59, 62, 64, 65, 66, 68, 72, 73, 98, 99, and 2000.

Trump: Now Ford can build Focus in U.S.; Ford: That makes no sense

Auto analysts groaned on Sunday in response to tweets sent by President Trump that touted his tariffs on Chinese imports and his claim that the trade war would inspire Ford Motor Co. to build its Ford Active crossover in the U.S. rather than overseas.

Wrong, Ford said.

The Dearborn-based company issued a statement in response to the president’s tweet:

“It would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S. given an expected annual sales volume of fewer than 50,000 units and its competitive segment. Ford is proud to employ more U.S. hourly workers and build more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker.”

Jon Gabrielsen, a market economist who advises automakers and auto suppliers, said, “This is further evidence that neither the president nor his trade representatives have any clue of the complexities of global supply chains.”

A trade war actually hurts one of America’s most iconic companies, Gabrielsen said. “This forces Ford to forfeit the sales they would have had if they could continue to import that low-volume niche vehicle.”

Ford on Aug. 31 canceled plans to import the Focus Active crossover from China to the United States because of costs from the escalating trade war.

“Given the negative financial impact of the new tariffs, we’ve decided to not import this vehicle from China,” Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford North America, told reporters.

The Focus Active was meant to take the place of the Ford Focus in the U.S. because Ford is phasing out the entry-level car as it shifts its production to pickups and SUVs. Focus Active was scheduled to go on sale in the late summer of 2019.

“Basically, this boils down to how we deploy our resources. Any program that we’re working on requires resources — engineering resources, capital resources,” Galhotra said. “Our resources could be better deployed at this stage.”

Tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on Chinese products and the threat of more had a direct impact on the Aug. 31 decision, according to Ford officials. The United States already has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from China and, as of July, put a 25 percent tax on autos imported from China.

“Ford was pretty clear in its statement: Focus production will not shift in part or in whole back to the U.S.,” said Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst at London-based IHS Markit.

Trump didn’t tweet about the Ford announcement at the time. On Sunday, he quoted the CNBC TV network and tweeted, “‘Ford has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the U.S. because of the prospect of higher U.S. Tariffs.'” CNBC. This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs.”

“Ford is one of the companies that has the highest U.S. content and the most U.S. autoworkers of any company,” said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the Industry, Labor & Economics Group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

“You know, their statement was very clear. It’s too costly to build that car here and they weren’t planning to. They don’t make business decisions based on tweets. They make decisions based on whether there’s a demand here for the vehicle and if it can be done profitably. Demand for small cars is waning, so they thought they would build some for the rest of the world and bring a few for folks here who want one,” Dziczek said.

Building the car may still be the plan, but not in the U.S., she emphasized, along with other analysts. At issue is finding low-wage production sites to maintain profit margins, and that doesn’t include the U.S. or Canada.

“This trade thing turns into Whac-A-Mole,” Dziczek said. “You can shut off China and things will come from India, Thailand, Taiwan, Poland, Slovenia. There are loads of low-cost countries for parts and vehicles.”

After touting his tariff plan, the president also cited tariff data that alarmed analysts.

“If the U.S. sells a car into China, there is a tax of 25%. If China sells a car into the U.S., there is a tax of 2%. Does anybody think that is FAIR? The days of the U.S. being ripped-off by other nations is OVER!”

Wrong again, Dziczek said. “China lowered the tariff rate from 25 percent to 15 percent for most-favored nation status — which is offered to World Trade Organization members — but raised it to 40 percent for the U.S. in retaliation to the tariffs we put on Chinese goods.”

She continued, “And the tariffs we charge for goods coming into the U.S. is 2.5 percent, not 2 percent. And then we put an additional 25 percent on cars coming from China into the U.S. So now they’re paying 27.5 percent. This is why Ford had to re-evaluate.”

American automakers ship about 250,000 vehicles a year from the U.S. to China, while China ships about 50,000 vehicles to the U.S. annually, Dziczek noted.

For example, every Buick Envision sold in the U.S. is made in China. General Motors has petitioned that the car be excluded from tariffs on Chinese-built products.

Ford spokesman Mark Truby emphasized Sunday that the company plans to build many new vehicles in America. “For example, we are starting production soon of the Ford Ranger in the factory just outside of Detroit where the Focus was previously built. We’re not defensive about building in America. Nobody does more than us. We also have to make a business case that works.”

[Detroit Free Press]

Several People Behind Trump Were Removed, Replaced During Rally In Montana

President Donald Trump’s rally in Billings, Montana, on Thursday had many strange moments, including a tangent where he speculated about his potential impeachment and an instance where he seemed unable to pronounce the word “anonymous.” Perhaps oddest of all, though, was that several people standing behind Trump were replaced on camera as the evening went on.

A man in a plaid shirt was replaced seemingly after he made a series of animated facial expressions as the president spoke.

A woman, who some people on Twitter said looked like to be longtime Republican operative Zina Bash, eventually came and took the man’s place on camera. You can watch the moment below:

That man was not the only one removed from his spot behind Trump during the speech. As seen in the clip below, a man and woman in the same row were replaced by two blond women. The resulting image is Trump flanked by young women.

It’s not uncommon that Trump’s rallies feature a mix of supporters and protesters, leaving Trump staffers to handle situations quickly and quietly.

But these swaps are particularly egregious considering they were all mid-speech and directly behind the president, and the people who were swapped out didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong.

The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

After scathing op-ed, Trump defends leadership by taking credit for Obama’s economic policies

After the publication of a scathingly critical essay purportedly from an anonymous senior administration official, President Donald Trump used a series of morning tweets to defend his leadership, citing strong economic data and praise from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted. “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

The New York Times published an op-ed Wednesday that it said was from a senior official who described the president as erratic and amoral and said staff worked to thwart “misguided” decisions they feared would be detrimental to the country.

In the hours after the Times posted the story Wednesday afternoon, an angry Trump criticized the newspaper for not identifying the author. He demanded that the Times out him or her and suggested that the person should be investigated.

In a third post, Trump returned to the economy, proclaiming “consumer confidence highest in 18 years, Atlanta Fed forecasts 4.7 GDP, manufacturing jobs highest in many years.”

[USA Today]

Trump inauguration crowd photos were edited after he intervened

A government photographer edited official pictures of Donald Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger following a personal intervention from the president, according to newly released documents.

The photographer cropped out empty space “where the crowd ended” for a new set of pictures requested by Trump on the first morning of his presidency, after he was angered by images showing his audience was smaller than Barack Obama’s in 2009.

The detail was revealed in investigative reports released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act by the inspector general of the US interior department. They shed new light on the first self-inflicted crisis of Trump’s presidency, when his White House falsely claimed he had attracted the biggest ever inauguration audience.

The records detail a scramble within the National Park Service (NPS) on 21 January 2017 after an early-morning phone call between Trump and the acting NPS director, Michael Reynolds. They also state that Sean Spicer, then White House press secretary, called NPS officials repeatedly that day in pursuit of the more flattering photographs.

It was not clear from the records which photographs were edited and whether they were released publicly.

The newly disclosed details were not included in the inspector general’s office’s final report on its inquiry into the saga, which was published in June last year and gave a different account of the NPS photographer’s actions.

By the time Trump spoke on the telephone with Reynolds on the morning after the inauguration, then-and-now pictures of the national mall were circulating online showing that Trump’s crowd fell short of Obama’s. A reporter’s tweet containing one such pair of images was retweeted by the official NPS Twitter account.

An NPS communications official, whose name was redacted in the released files, told investigators that Reynolds called her after speaking with the president and said Trump wanted pictures from the inauguration. She said “she got the impression that President Trump wanted to see pictures that appeared to depict more spectators in the crowd”, and that the images released so far showed “a lot of empty areas”.

The communications official said she “assumed” the photographs Trump was requesting “needed to be cropped”, but that Reynolds did not ask for this specifically. She then contacted the NPS photographer who had covered the event the day before.

A second official, from the NPS public affairs department, told investigators that Spicer called her office on the morning of 21 January and asked for pictures that “accurately represented the inauguration crowd size”.

In this official’s view, Spicer’s request amounted to “a request for NPS to provide photographs in which it appeared the inauguration crowd filled the majority of the space in the photograph”. She told investigators that she, too, contacted the NPS photographer to ask for additional shots.

The NPS photographer, whose name was also redacted, told investigators he was contacted by an unidentified official who asked for “any photographs that showed the inauguration crowd sizes”. Having filed 25 photographs on inauguration day, he was asked to go back to his office and “edit a few more” for a second submission.

“He said he edited the inauguration photographs to make them look more symmetrical by cropping out the sky and cropping out the bottom where the crowd ended,” the investigators reported, adding: “He said he did so to show that there had been more of a crowd.”

The investigators said the photographer believed the cropping was what the official “had wanted him to do”, but that the official “had not specifically asked him to crop the photographs to show more of a crowd”.

A summary in the inspector general’s final report said the photographer told investigators “he selected a number of photos, based on his professional judgment, that concentrated on the area of the national mall where most of the crowd was standing”.

Asked to account for the discrepancy, Nancy DiPaolo, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, said the cropping was not mentioned in the final report because the photographer told investigators this was his “standard artistic practice”. But investigators did not note this in the write-up of their interview.

The newly released files said Spicer was closely involved in the effort to obtain more favourable photographs. He called Reynolds immediately after the acting director spoke with Trump and then again at 3pm shortly before the new set of photographs was sent to the White House, investigators heard. Another official reported being called by Spicer.

At about 5.40pm that day, Spicer began a now notorious press briefing at the White House in which he falsely stated: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period.” A spokeswoman for Spicer did not respond to a request for comment.

The inspector general’s inquiry was prompted by a February 2017 complaint through the office’s website, alleging NPS officials tried to undermine Trump and leaked details of Trump’s call with Reynolds to the Washington Post, where it was first reported. The inspector general found no evidence to substantiate the allegations.

The Guardian asked in its June 2017 freedom of information request for the identity of the complainant who sparked the inspector general’s inquiry. But this, and the entire complaint, was redacted in the released documents.

[The Guardian]

Trump Responds to Chuck Todd Op-Ed on Anti-Media Rhetoric: I Fought the Press and ‘WON’

Donald Trump attacked Meet the Press host Chuck Todd tonight on Twitter after the NBC correspondant penned an op-ed condemning anti-press rhetoric, as the president told the NBC News reporter that he “won” in the fight against the media.

“Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake NBC News said it’s time for the Press to stop complaining and to start fighting back,” the president tweeted at around 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday night. “Actually Chuck, they’ve been doing that from the day I announced for President. They’ve gone all out, and I WON, and now they’re going CRAZY!”

In Todd’s piece for the Atlantic, the reporter called out the late Roger Ailes and Fox News for fanning the flames of anti-media hatred:

“From the very beginning, Ailes signaled that Fox News would offer an alternative voice, splitting with the conventions of television journalism. Take the word balanced. It sounded harmless enough. But how does one balance facts? A reporting-driven news organization might promise to be accurate, or honest, or comprehensive, or to report stories for an underserved community. But Ailes wasn’t building a reporting-driven news organization. The promise to be “balanced” was a coded pledge to offer alternative explanations, putting commentary ahead of reporting; it was an attack on the integrity of the rest of the media. Fox intended to build its brand the same way Ailes had built the brands of political candidates: by making the public hate the other choice more.”

Todd also named Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and other conservative media figures as being part of a “new kind of campaign” designed “to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media.”

[Mediaite]

Trump threatens to pull out of WTO ‘if they don’t shape up’

President Trump on Thursday threatened to pull the U.S. out of the World Trade Organization (WTO) “if they don’t shape up,” a stance he has reportedly discussed in private but has denied publicly.

“If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO,” the president told Bloomberg News in an interview.

Trump has long criticized the international body, saying in late June that the U.S. has been “treated very badly” by the group, describing it as an “unfair situation.”

At the time, the president insisted he was not considering pulling out of the WTO despite his frustrations, though Axios reported he had discussed with advisers his intentions to exit.

Leaving the WTO would upend the decades-old international trade system, which the U.S. helped establish, and roil markets around the globe.

The U.S. on Monday told the WTO that it plans to block the reappointment of one of the its four remaining judges, a move that would significantly hinder the organization’s ability to function.

If the U.S. successfully blocks the appointment of Judge Shree Baboo Chekitan Servansing, the WTO would only have three judges, the bare minimum to continue operations.

Two of the WTO judges’ terms expire in December of next year.

Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recently agreed to work towards a trade agreement that would involve reforming the WTO.

Multiple nations have filed complaints about Trump’s escalating tariffs with the WTO, including China. Trump is reportedly planning to impose $200 billion tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as next week, on top of the billions of dollars of tariffs he has already implemented.

[The Hill]

Trump Reaffirms Praise For Gov’t Response to Puerto Rico as Death Toll Updated to 2,975: ‘Fantastic Job’

President Donald Trump responded to the new shocking death toll in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria last year by saying the government “did a fantastic job.”

The new toll, which was found by researchers at George Washington University who were commissioned by Puerto Rico, raised deaths caused by the disaster from 64 to just below 2,975.

“I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico. We’re still helping Puerto Rico. The governor is an excellent guy, he’s very happy with the job we’ve done,” Trump told reporters today. “We’ve put billions and billions of dollars into Puerto Rico, and it was a very tough one.”

He continued by saying that “we’ve put a lot of money and a lot of effort into Puerto Rico” and added that he thinks “most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we’ve done.”

The comments echoed what Trump has said in the past about the US territory, as he infamously bragged just days after the storm that only “16 people [died] verses in the thousands,” which he claimed was good compared to “a real catastrophe like Katrina.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement of her own after the new death toll came out this week, saying, “The President remains proud of all of the work the Federal family undertook to help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.”

[Mediaite]

Trump tries to take credit for Obama’s accomplishments in Consumer Confidence

Trump tweeted the Consumer Confidence Index hit a 18 year high and the GDP is booming, taking credit for both.

Reality

Donald Trump thinks you are so stupid, you wouldn’t look at the Consumer Confidence Index or the GDP growth and see that he’s taking credit for the continuing trends of Barack Obama’s achievements.

Consumer Confidence has been growing since Obama turned the country around after The Great Recession.

And our GDP has been steadily growing over the past decade

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