Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, on Monday told reporters President Donald Trump tweeted an incorrect claim that US gross domestic product had surpassed the rate of unemployment for the first time in more than a century.
“The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
Hassett told reporters the GDP growth rate is higher than the unemployment rate for the first time in 10 years, not 100 as the president suggested in his tweet. The chief White House economic adviser said he wasn’t sure how the error occurred but speculated that an adviser “added a zero” when conveying the information to the president.
Hassett was also asked to provided clarification on a separate tweet from Trump in which he misquoted former President Barack Obama.
“‘President Trump would need a magic wand to get to 4% GDP,’ stated President Obama. I guess I have a magic wand, 4.2%, and we will do MUCH better than this! We have just begun,” Trump tweeted.
The president seemed to be imprecisely referencing remarks made by Obama at a town hall event in 2016, in which he questioned promises from Trump regarding manufacturing jobs, not economic growth.
At the time, Obama said, “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.”
When Hassett on Monday was asked to expand on Trump’s tweet and his apparent error, he said to reporters, “I’m not the chairman of the Council of Twitter Advisers.”
Hassett briefed reporters amid a raging debate over how much credit Trump deserves for current economic growth, or whether it’s a continuation of growth under Obama.