WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Saturday took credit for a brightening economy and continued his push against the mainstream media, the day after he launched another attack against the press  and his White House barred some outlets from an informal press briefing.

In a series of Twitter posts on Saturday Trump said:


“Great optimism for future of U.S. business, AND JOBS, with the DOW having an 11th straight record close. Big tax & regulation cuts coming!” 7:27 a.m. Eastern Time

Backstory: The stock market has responded well in the five weeks Trump has been president. Trump has the opportunity to outline more of his tax and regulation plans Tuesday night, when he speaks for the first time to a joint session of Congress.

While Trump has the power to limit, to a degree, regulations, only Congress can cut or raise taxes. Trump’ plans for an expensive infrastructure program and a southern border wall need Congressional approval to proceed.


“The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo.” 7:19 a.m. Eastern Time

Backstory: Trump is complaining about “the media” not giving him credit for a decline in the national debt in the way he is getting credit for the robust stock market – investors like what they see.

At the same time in that post Trump is taking ownership of the national debt, which started its big climb upward in the last year President George W. Bush was in office.

What is important here is not a one-month decline that is not directly linked to any Trump specific action.

Let’s keep an eye on Trump’s budget proposals when he submits his spending plan to Congress next month. That will have a big impact on the debt.

Background: The Council on Foreign Relations has a good, fast read backgrounder on the national debt.

Some key points from CFR…

“Since the start of the crisis in 2007, total U.S. government debt has roughly doubled. Debt held by the public — the measure of how much the government owes to outside investors — stands at $14.4 trillion. It has nearly doubled since 2007, rising from about 40 percent to nearly 80 percent of GDP. (Counting intragovernmental debt, or debts owed by one U.S. government agency to another, brings the total to nearly $20 trillion, more than 120 percent of GDP.)

“Without any further spending, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the debt will grow by $9.4 trillion over the next decade.

“How would Trump’s budget plans affect it?

“Trump has yet to fill out many of the details of his administration’s budget plans, which are expected by mid-March, roughly in line with most new administrations. Funding for the current fiscal year expires on April 28.

Noted by The Hill:Trump’s tweet came less than an hour after former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, appearing on Fox News, said the national debt fell $12 billion. Reporters have noted that Trump often seems to tweet about a new topic shortly after a cable news segment features it.


“Maybe the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN should have their own rally. It would be the biggest of them all!” 6:25 a.m. Eastern Time

Backstory: With Congress on break this week, there have been stories about folks showing up at town halls held by some members of Congress – and some GOP members who will not hold them. Trump in earlier Twitter posts complained about the protesters who show up.

MORE MEDIA HITS: FactCheck.Org analysis

“FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!” 9:09 p.m. Eastern Time Feb. 24, 2017

Backstory: Check out the section on the media in an analysis from FactCheck.Org pegged to Trump’s Friday CPAC speech, where he said he was against “the people” who made up sources. He also deplored the use of anonymous sources.

From FactCheck.Org “… we found that Trump’s speech to his conservative “friends” at the conference contained a lot of the same false and misleading claims we’ve been fact-checking for months.

“In fact, just hours before Trump’s speech, the White House held a “background briefing by senior administration officials” (with the condition that those sources not be named) to push back against news reports that some members of Trump’s campaign had communicated with Russian officials during the campaign.”