Gingrich: Supporters Allow Obama to Have It 'Both Ways' on the Economy

'The View' co-host Sunny Hostin claims 'if anything good happens under Trump,' Obama deserves credit

June 5, 2018

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R., Ga.) bemoaned Tuesday the manner in which former President Barack Obama's supporters give him credit for the economic growth witnessed since he left office, while also absolving him of any culpability for the economic turmoil that marred a portion of his two terms in the White House.

Gingrich, who appeared on ABC's "The View" to discuss his newly released book, was asked to elaborate on what he believed was the "best thing" President Donald Trump accomplished since taking office.

The former speaker pointed to the economy as being the best and biggest indicator of Trump's success.

"I think the best thing is the economy," Gingrich said. "I think, the fact that we have the lowest black unemployment in history–"

Before he could finish, Gingrich was interrupted by Sunny Hostin, one of the show's co-hosts, who questioned whether Trump was truly responsible for the strong economy.

"Can he take credit for that?" Hostin asked. "Isn't that Obama's doing?"

Gingrich cited the fact that economic growth in the first 18 months of the Trump administration has outpaced levels witnessed during the entirety of the Obama presidency, as proof Trump deserved credit.

"I think this quarter we will have more than twice the economic growth rate of any quarter in the eight years of Obama," Gingrich stated.

Hostin took umbrage at the former speaker's remarks, claiming Trump was "given a gift" by Obama in the form of a rebounding economy.

"Because he's been set up," Hostin said. "He was given a gift, Newt. It's true."

Gingrich castigated the assertion Obama could both be credited with the economic recovery, occurring under the Trump administration, and devoid of any culpability for the poor economy he inherited from former President George W. Bush.

"So Obama gets it both ways," Gingrich said. "He got a terrible gift from George W. Bush, he gave Trump a good gift. If anything good happens under Trump, it's actually Obama."

"It's true," Hostin exclaimed.

"Well that's one way to look at the world," Gingrich responded.

Hostin's fellow co-host, Joy Behar, echoed the pro-Obama sentiment by falsely claiming Obama inherited the presidency with a deficit and left Trump "a surplus."

"Obama inherited a deficit," Behar claimed. "Trump is inheriting a surplus."

It was unclear if Behar was referring to economic growth or the actual federal budget deficit, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated to be $4.6 trillion higher when Obama left office than originally forecast in 2009. Behar's subsequent statement, however, seemed to imply it was the latter.

"Well we're in a major deficit now thanks to your party," Behar claimed.

Gingrich pushed back against the false claim.

"[Trump] didn't inherit a financial surplus," Gingrich stated. "He inherited a gradually growing economy and he's doubled the speed of growth."

Under Trump, the country has witnessed an explosion in economic growth. In February alone, the economy added 313,000 new jobs—the strongest showing since July 2016. Furthermore, the nation's unemployment rate as of the May jobs report was 3.8 percent, tying the lowest level in nearly 50 years.

Hostin's arguments mirror those that have been waged by supporters of the former president to bolster his economic legacy. It is unclear if those arguments are held by a majority of Americans or even a majority of Democrats. In April, a plurality of Democrats expressed that Trump deserves credit for the current state of the economy rather than Obama, according to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University.