WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, unlike his predecessors, bragged repeatedly about stocks as the market rose. Monday, he avoided the topic as they plunged.
During the bull market of the last year, Trump complained that the media weren't giving him credit for record highs in securities values.
"I mean, it's something that's pretty amazing," he said to a group of mayors last month, in characteristic remarks, citing an estimate of $8 trillion in added wealth.
He also has said that the market would have lost 50 percent of its value had Hillary Clinton won the election, a claim that he repeated publicly during a recent speech to global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The assertion is impossible to prove or disprove.
Trump's comments came despite frequent reminders from fact checkers and others that stocks began rising during the tenure of former President Barack Obama. In his administration, Obama and his aides were especially careful to avoid making comments about the market, for fear that the president would be blamed when it fell, as markets inevitably do.
During Monday's market plunge, Trump was delivering a speech touting his tax cuts at a factory in Cincinnati, calling employees to the stage to discuss the gains they expected to make as a result of changes in the tax laws and what they intended to do with bonus checks they were receiving.
Trump did not mention the falling market, but as he bragged about the soaring economy, all three cable news channels airing the speech displayed graphics showing the market dropping in real time. As the speech wore on and stocks continued falling, all three — including Trump-friendly Fox News — pulled away from the speech entirely to report on the Dow.
Jay Carney, who served as Obama's press secretary, tweeted: "Good time to recall that in the previous administration, we NEVER boasted about the stock market — even though the Dow more than doubled on Obama's watch — because we knew two things: 1) the stock market is not the economy; and 2) if you claim the rise, you own the fall."
The Dow Jones index ended the day down 1,175 points.