Trump Says he Inherited a Mess, Messes It Up President Donald Trump makes a messy case that he “inherited a mess’’ from his predecessor. Economics statistics and territorial losses of Islamic State insurgents don’t support his assertions about the problem
TRUMP Tobehonest,Iinheritedamess. It’samess.Athomeandabroad,amess. THE FACTS By almost every economic measure, President Barack Obama inherited a far worse situation when he became president in 2009. He had to deal with the worst downturn since the Depression. Unemployment was spiking, the stock market crashing, the auto industry failing and millions of Americans risked losing their homes to foreclosure when Obama took the oath of office. None of those statistics is as dire for Trump.
Unemployment is 4.8%, against a peak of 10% during Obama’s first year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was cratering until March 2009, only to rebound roughly 200% over the rest of Obama’s term— gains that have continued under Trump on the promise of tax and regulatory cuts.
TRUMP ISIS has spread like cancer. THE FACTS The Islamic State group began to lose ground before Trump took office, not just in Iraq and Syria but also in Libya. The gradual military progress achieved in Iraq during Obama’s final two years has pushed IS to the point of collapse in Mosul, its main Iraqi stronghold. It remains a potent danger beyond its shrunken territory, encouraging adherents to stage acts of terrorism. The analogy with cancer is an echo of Obama’s last defence secretary, Ash Carter.
TRUMP Thisadministrationisrunning likeafine-tunedmachine,despitethe factthatIcan’tgetmyCabinetapproved. THE FACTS Did he just say a “fine- tuned machine’’? Trump’s first month has been consumed by a series of missteps and firestorms, and produced far less significant legislation than Obama in his first month.
Republican-led congressional committees will investigate Trump team’s relations with Russians before he took office and the flood of leaks that altogether forced out his national security adviser in record time. His pick for la- bour secretary withdrew as he didn’t have enough Republican support. By many measures, the administration is in near paralysis.
In his first month, Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package into law, as well as a law expanding health care for children and the Lilly Ledbetter bill on equal pay for women. Trump has vigorously produced executive orders, which don’t require congressional ap- proval and typically have narrow effect. The one with far-reaching consequences — banning entry by refugees and by visitors from seven countries —hasbeenblockedbycourts.Trump’s biggest initiatives, such as tax cuts and a replacement for Obama’s health care law, have not emerged.
TRUMP It was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan. THE FACTS Not even close. In seven previous elections, winner of five of those contests won a larger Electoral College majority than Trump. They were George HW Bush in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996; and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. When a reporter pointed out that Trump was overstating his winning margin, the president said: “Well, I don’t know, I was given that information.’’