Michael Bennet: Even Donald Trump ‘couldn’t screw up’ Obama economy

May 5, 2019

Sen. Michael Bennet became Sunday the latest Democrat refusing to credit President Trump for the economic boom, insisting that even he “couldn’t screw up the momentum” from the Obama administration.

The Colorado Democrat, who jumped Thursday into the 2020 Democratic presidential field, said the economy has been ticking up for 10 years, dating back to the first year of the Obama administration.

“We’re in the tenth year of an recovery that started in 2009, when Barack Obama was president,” said Mr. Bennet on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If you look at the job creation numbers along that trajectory over that 10 years, it goes just like this.”

He gestured upward. “So Donald Trump is elected in the last two years, and I will confess, even he couldn’t screw up the momentum that we have been going on in the eight years that he got elected,” Mr. Bennet said.

WATCH: Should a strong economy benefit President Trumps case for re-election? Senator Bennet (D-Colo.) says its Obamas economy. #MTP #IfItsSunday@MichaelBennet: Even [Trump] couldnt screw up the momentum. pic.twitter.com/dT7H9Pnnjd Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 5, 2019

Republicans have argued that economic growth under Mr. Obama was both anemic and inevitable, given that he took office after the 2008 Great Recession, while the economy has hit historic heights under Mr. Trump, thanks to his tax reform and deregulation policies.

Labor Department figures for April released Friday showed that 263,000 jobs were created and unemployment plunged to 3.6 percent, the lowest figure since 1969, while wages rose by 3.2 percent from a year ago.

While the sunny economic picture has made it difficult for 2020 Democratic presidential contenders to gain traction, they have countered by arguing that many Americans are still struggling despite the booming economy.

“Most people can’t afford housing, they can’t afford health care, they can’t afford higher education, they can’t afford early childhood education, they can’t afford a middle-class lifestyle,” said Mr. Bennet. “And Donald Trump has done nothing to help with that.”

Mr. Bennet, who entered the race after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, said that even those who support Mr. Trump’s economic policies should be concerned about other issues, such as “the fact that he has built his entire political career on dividing Americans.”