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Trump struggles to explain why Obama’s jobs numbers were better than his

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver

Donald Trump has repeatedly struggled to explain why the number of jobs created during his presidency compared unfavourably with the new employment figures under Barack Obama.

Presented with a chart which depicted the unemployment rate from the peak of the recession, the president was asked to account for slower rate of job creation since he entered the White House.

In the interview on NBC’s Meet the Press – after Mr Trump had claimed his economy was “great” – Chuck Todd said: “Your economy is great. I’m not saying it’s not great.

“But this recovery started and in the 28 months that you’ve been president and the last 28 months of Obama’s presidency, he averaged more new jobs than your first 28.”

Mr Trump initially responded by claiming that Mr Obama started with a “bad base”.

He was then asked if his jobs numbers were merely a continuation of those under his predecessor.

Mr Trump said: “Yeah, but Chuck, you have to understand, nobody was working. The whole place was a disaster. And I don’t – I’d never take that away.”

Mr Trump continued to attempt to explain, he said “But it’s very easy -- because when that turned around they pumped a tremendous amount of money into the economy.

“He also had a Federal Reserve person who kept the interest rates low. I don’t. I don’t have that privilege.”

Mr Todd retorted: “Sounds like you do now. Do you feel like you have sent the threat, your threat to demote him, do you think that’s had an impact?”

The president dismissed suggestions he had threatened to demote Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, which Mr Todd questioned, saying: “There’s been some talk that you might demote him to the number two slot.”

Mr Trump responded: “Well, I’d be able to do that if I wanted but I haven’t suggested that.

“No, no, I have the right to do that. But I haven’t said that. What he’s done is $50 billion a month in quantitative tightening. That’s ridiculous. What he’s done is he raised interest rates too fast.”

Mr Todd then asked the president if he was concerned that the raised interest rates would harm his chances at re-election.

“I think the economy’s so strong we’re going to pull through it,” Mr Trump said.

“But I’m not happy with his actions. No, I don’t think he’s done a good job. I think this, if he didn’t raise rates Obama had very low rates. So Obama was playing with funny money. I wasn’t. I’m playing with the real stuff.

“Obama had somebody that kept the rates very low. I had somebody that raised the rates very rapidly. Too much. He made a mistake.

“That’s been proven. And yet my economy is phenomenal. We have now the best economy, maybe in the history of our country. One -- just to finish off, when I took over, this country, the economy was ready to collapse. You take a look at the numbers. It was ready to collapse.”

Mr Todd suggested the numbers indicated the economy was stronger than the president implied, saying: “I just showed you the numbers. It was not ready to collapse.”

Mr Trump disagreed: “You showed me unemployment numbers. Excuse me. Take a look at your GDP, take a look at your jobs, take a look at your optimism.

“Take a look at all of the charts. When I took over from election day on, I mean, you show me one chart which, where I did. Take a look at some of the optimism charts and everything else. It went from 57 to 92. Nobody’s ever seen anything that right after I won.”

Mr Todd conceded that job optimism was at a higher rate after Mr Trump was elected, but still maintained that his jobs numbers were lower than those of his predecessors.

Mr Trump replied: “Well, optimism is a big part of success in business.”