President Trump on Monday morning attacked former President Obama for allegedly once saying Trump “would need a magic wand to get to 4% GDP” — a statement that would look bad in light of the fact that GDP growth during the second quarter was 4.2 percent.
“’President Trump would need a magic wand to get to 4% GDP,’ stated President Obama,” Trump tweeted. “I guess I have a magic wand, 4.2%, and we will do MUCH better than this! We have just begun.”
“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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2018
There’s just one problem — Obama never actually uttered the quote attributed to him by Trump.
Trump appears to be paraphrasing remarks Obama made during a PBS town hall in June 2016. Obama referenced Trump’s promise to bring back manufacturing jobs, and said, “Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What exactly are you going to do? There’s no answer to it.”
“He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, what, how exactly are you going to negotiate that?” Obama continued. “What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is, he doesn’t have an answer.”
At no point during Obama’s remarks did he say anything about GDP. In short, Trump fabricated a quote to make himself look good.
Not only did Trump make up a quote, but he also misrepresented Obama’s economic record. While Trump would have you believe that 4.2 percent GDP growth is some sort of unprecedented feat that Americans should thank him for, quarterly GDP growth exceeded 4.2 percent on three separate occasions during Obama’s tenure.
As ThinkProgress has detailed, Trump has a long history of fabricating quotes on Twitter. In May, while he was trying to drum up outrage about an FBI informant making contact with members of his presidential campaign who had suspicious contacts with Russia, Trump put words in the mouth of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and even got angry outline about his fake quote.
In a tweet posted in March, Trump twisted former FBI Director James Comey’s words in a misleading effort to make it seem like Comey lied under oath. On separate occasions in February, Trump doctored quotes by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).