The Note: Trump bullish on economy, at what cost?

Trump told reporters Sunday that he "prepared for everything."

August 19, 2019, 5:59 AM

The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks

Like many politicians, President Donald Trump wants to take credit for what's working and zero blame for what's not.

Gun safety activists held events across the country this weekend, even after the president seemed to backtrack on the idea of supporting new legislation for expanded background checks. When it comes to the astonishing number of deaths from gun violence in the U.S., the president last week mostly talked about mental illness, placing blame somewhere else.

President Donald Trump speaks to the press before boarding Air Force One in Morristown, N.J., Aug. 18, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

On the economy, it's a different story. The president's tendency is to take credit for all strong indicators, despite the political risks there.

Following a tumultuous week on Wall Street, ominous foreign headlines and stalled trade deals, Trump's advisers fanned out Sunday to heap praise and calm jitters.

Trump, too, told reporters Sunday while he's "prepared for everything," he does not see a recession on the horizon.

"I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut. And they're loaded up with money," he said.

Democrats have balked both at the idea that everything is rosy and that Trump deserves credit.

"Look at who has a track record of telling the truth. Pretty much nothing the Trump administration says turns out to be true. So if they're saying the economy's in great shape, I would be very, very worried," South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg told a crowd in South Carolina Sunday.

The fact is many factors influence stock market swings and consumer confidence, plenty of which are outside of any president's control. But the more Trump tries to own the economy now, the more he'll also own it if it goes south.

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersama

Freshmen Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, both Muslim, would have arrived in Israel this past weekend to attend political meetings and briefings as part of a U.S. delegation. Now, after Israel barred the two congresswomen from entering the country amid pressure from Trump, Omar and Tlaib will host a press conference on travel restrictions to Palestine and Israel on Monday.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, right, speaks, as Rep. Rashida Tlaib listens, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE

The press conference is set to happen after Tlaib was offered, and rejected, entry to Israel on humanitarian grounds to visit her family in the West Bank. Tlaib said she wouldn't go through with the trip due to "oppressive conditions" surrounding the visit, which required her to not promote boycotts of the Israeli government while there. An Israeli spokesperson said Tlaib had written to the Israeli interior minister accepting restrictions, and her decision to cancel ultimately shows her "hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother."

Trump seized on this back-and-forth with a personal dig at Tlaib, tweeting, "The only real winner here is Tlaib's grandmother. She doesn't have to see her now!" The president's presence in the situation was widely criticized by his 2020 Democratic challengers, including New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who also spoke out against Israel's initial decision to stop the two congresswomen from visiting the country.

"I don't know why Netanyahu wanted to deny members of Congress to come to Israel if they expect us to be that never-ending partner and friend," Gillibrand said on ABC News' "This Week."

Despite the criticism, Gillibrand stopped short of suggesting repercussions for Israel after its decision.

"I think our obligation, as an ally and as a friend, is to hold them accountable when they're wrong. And I think anytime you are undermining basic free speech rights and human rights you're going in the wrong direction," Gillibrand said.

The fallout of the situation has so far demonstrated that while Trump is able to take the unprecedented move of extending political rivalries beyond the U.S. border, there's no guarantee of tangible consequences for the president or his political allies.

The TIP with Lissette Rodriguez

With just nine days before the deadline to hit both a donor threshold and poll requirements, a total of 10 Democratic presidential candidates visited the Granite State this past weekend, with seven of them still vying for a spot on the debate stage.

Among them were former Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who is just one poll away from qualifying for a spot, according to an ABC News analysis. He made his pitch to New Hampshire voters twice, telling them both Saturday and Sunday: "I'm one poll away from qualifying for the September debate. Hint, hint. So, you know, if you get a call from a random number, especially if it says private, answer it."

Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the Democratic Wing Ding event in Clear Lake, Iowa, Aug. 9, 2019.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

He later told reporters at the Hillsborough County Democrats' Picnic in Greenfield, that he's "traveling like crazy" to early states like New Hampshire and Iowa to make sure he gets enough support to obtain that last qualifying poll.

Meanwhile, candidates like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton told reporters at the same Greenfield event they may be looking beyond qualifying for the September debate.

De Blasio told reporters that the October debates have the "same exact standards but an extra month to achieve it." Moulton said voters aren't too concerned about debate appearances.

"Not a single voter today asked me about debate thresholds or number of donors. Unfortunately, those are the things that the DNC wants us to talk about," Moulton said.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News' Rachel Scott, who describes the Trump administration's jittery response to growing recession fears. Then economist Diane Swonk from Grant Thornton explains why the service industry could hold the signal that rough economic times lie ahead. And ABC News' Ian Pannell checks in from Hong Kong amid more massive pro-democracy rallies.


  • President Donald Trump has an intelligence briefing at 11:30 a.m.
  • Four Democratic presidential candidates deliver remarks at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum starting a 9 a.m CDT in Sioux City, Iowa: Marianne Williamson, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
  • Washington Post Live 2020 Candidates Series features an interview with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., at 9 a.m.
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, tours Black Wall Street in Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood at 10:20 a.m. CDT before visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and holding a campaign rally near the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman at 4 p.m.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds a town hall on labor at 10:30 a.m. CDT and a "office barnstorm" at noon in Davenport, Iowa. Later, he hosts an ice cream social at 3 p.m. in West Branch before heading to the plate for a softball game with press and staff at "The Field of Dreams" in Dyersville at 7 p.m.
  • Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., speaks at the New Hampshire Medical Society First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primary Rounds at 4:30 p.m. in Concord.
  • Warren heads to St. Paul, Minnesota to participate in a town hall at 6:15 p.m. CDT at Macalester College.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden hosts fundraisers in Washington and McLean, Virginia.
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