One shudders to think what he’s trying to explain here.
By Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.
With alarming regularity, Donald Trump will offer an authoritative opinion on a topic he clearly knows nothing about. Last week, for instance, he told Fox News that he might “wipe out” Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt—something neither he nor the federal government has the power to do. Over the summer, he described a (nonexistent) health-insurance plan with a $12 annual premium. In May, he told The Economist that he invented the phrase “prime the pump.” And last night, he boldly claimed that gains in the stock market under his administration have reduced the national debt.
Speaking to his pal Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump said, “The country—we took it over and owed over $20 trillion,” referring to the national debt. He went on, “As you know, the last eight years, [the federal government] borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And yet we picked up $5.2 trillion just in the stock market. Possibly picked up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months, in terms of value.”
“So, you can say in one sense we’re really increasing values; and maybe in a sense we’re reducing debt,” he added. “We’re very honored by it.”
Here’s where Trump’s desperate need for adulation and complete ignorance on most topics converged. While the stock market is in the midst of a historic—but not at all unprecedented!—run, which the president regularly brags about on Twitter, it has . . . no effect on paying down the national debt. Higher stock…
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