Trump suggests economy could grow at 8 or 9 percent if he cuts the trade deficit

  • President Donald Trump told talk show host Sean Hannity that he could imagine the economy growing at eight or nine percent on Friday — just hours after the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that the GDP rose 4.1 percent in the second quarter. The claim is far higher than economists predict.
  • The president said that the gains could come from cutting the nation's trade deficit "in half."
  • "I look forward to seeing next quarter … I think the 4.1 is just a stepping stone," Trump said.
President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, July 10, 2018.
Leah Mills | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, July 10, 2018.

President Donald Trump told talk show host Sean Hannity that he could imagine the economy growing at 8 or 9 percent on Friday — just hours after the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that the GDP rose 4.1 percent in the second quarter.

The president said that the gains could come from cutting the nation's trade deficit "in half."

"If I cut it in half, right there we will pick up three or four points," Trump said during the unexpected radio show appearance. "We'd be at eight or nine" percent, he added.

"I look forward to seeing next quarter … I think the 4.1 is just a stepping stone," Trump said.

Trump's claim about reaching GDP growth of 8 or 9 percent is far higher than economists predict.

The U.S. economy has not grown at a rate close to eight percent since the 1980s. In comparison, China, an emerging economy undergoing rapid transformation, grew at a rate of 6.7 percent in the second quarter, according to official figures put out earlier this month.

Trump did not specify Friday whether he was referring to an annual or quarterly growth rate.

The president has previously established a goal of growing the nation's economy at an annual rate of 3 percent. That figure — well below the president's off-script prediction to Hannity — would be tough to meet, but achievable, economists have said.

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