Top Trump Aide Denies Recession Rumbles as Stocks Tumble

Kudlow: ‘I don’t even remotely agree’ with downturn warnings

Lawrence Kudlow, President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, says there is nothing to worry about with the economy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Lawrence Kudlow, President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, says there is nothing to worry about with the economy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:34am

U.S. stock markets continued to drop sharply on Tuesday, but the chief economic adviser to President Donald Trump insists the economy is not headed for a recession.

“I don’t even remotely agree with that,” Lawrence Kudlow told reporters when asked if he agrees with some top financial firms that the American economy is primed for a major slowdown after steady growth under President Barack Obama and faster growth under the Trump administration.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average at one point Monday was down 500 points before ending down 396 points. The Dow and other leading U.S. markets continued to decline on Tuesday. The Dow was down nearly 500 points (1.8 percent) just after 10 a.m. Tuesday, with the S&P 500 Index down 38.1 points (1.4 percent).

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Kudlow dubbed the downturn a “correction,” describing financial sector warnings of a recession as among the “weirdest” things he has been reading lately.

But the president has had plenty to say about U.S. markets and their growth in value under his watch.

“The stock market is way up again today and we’re setting a record, literally all the time,” Trump tweeted on in January, adding stocks under a President Hillary Clinton “would have gone down 50% from where it was.”

Trump continued to tout the value of American markets most of the year, especially at his campaign rallies into early October.

He frequently told the story of an unnamed man he met at a rally who thanked him for the state of the economy and the growth in his personal retirement account. Trump claimed the unidentified man was appreciative that his wife, who once considered him a “loser” on such matters — now sees him as a “financial genius.”

But the president has been mostly silent in recent weeks as markets turned downward.

A White House spokeswoman signaled the administration would have nothing else to say about the market drop.

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Brian Levitt of Oppenheimer Funds and Benjamin Mandel of J.P. Morgan agreed in a CNBC interview that what is most likely happening is a move toward “average” U.S. economic growth after months of “excellent” growth.

Trump used the state of the economy as a midterms selling point and aides had signaled he hopes it remains strong to boost his 2020 re-election campaign.