President Trump escalated the political battle with his predecessor Monday, boasting that he’s got a “magic wand” for the economy after Barack Obama tried to downplay the gains on Trump’s watch.
Obama hit the campaign trail for congressional Democratic candidates over the weekend, after delivering a fiery speech accusing Trump and Republicans of fueling “division and resentment” – and suggesting the current administration was taking credit for a recovery he engineered.
“When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said Friday.
But Trump on Monday tried to use Obama’s past words against him.
“’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.
This may have been a reference to a 2016 town hall where Obama pushed back on Trump’s vow to bring back manufacturing jobs by negotiating a “better deal.”
“How exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have?” Obama asked at the time.
Trump is crowing over recent estimates that the U.S. economy grew at a 4.2 annual rate in the second quarter, the strongest in almost four years. And he’s using the GDP numbers and job growth to hit back hard at Obama’s return to the campaign trail.
He also tweeted Monday: “The Economy is soooo good, perhaps the best in our country’s history (remember, it’s the economy stupid!), that the Democrats are flailing & lying like CRAZY! Phony books, articles and T.V. ‘hits’ like no other pol has had to endure-and they are losing big. Very dishonest people!”
Further, he repeated a claim that if the Democrats won in 2016, the GDP would be trending in reverse.
“I opened up our beautiful economic engine with Regulation and Tax Cuts. Our system was choking and would have been made worse. Still plenty to do!” he tweeted.
The long-distance rhetorical battle between Trump and Obama may define the final two-month stretch of the midterms, with the current and prior president each fanning out to stump for allied candidates across the country in a fight for control of Congress.
Delivering some of his toughest broadsides against the GOP since leaving office – and referring to Trump by name, something he used to avoid – Obama said Friday there are certain “powerful and privileged” people who want to “keep us angry.”
“It did not start with Donald Trump,” Obama said. “He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”
But speaking in Fargo, N.D., that same day, Trump dismissed Obama’s speech and mocked his claim that Trump was taking credit for a booming economy that started during the prior administration.
“I think he was trying to take credit for this incredible thing happening to our country,” he said. “I have to say to President Obama, it wasn’t him, and if the Democrats got in with their agenda … instead of having 4.2 [percent GDP growth] up, you have 4.2 down, you’d be in negative numbers.”
He said that Obama had overseen the “weakest recovery in the history of our country.”
“This is called not a recovery, but a rocket ship,” he said in reference to the economy under his watch.
Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.