Trump Makes Puzzling Claim That Stock Market Gains Have Reduced The Debt

President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

While boasting about the U.S. economy during an interview on Wednesday, President Donald Trump made the bizarre suggestion that gains in the stock market actually reduce federal debt.

“The country — we took it over and owed over $20 trillion,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “As you know, the last eight years, they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And yet, we picked up $5.2 trillion just in the stock market. Possibly picked up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months, in terms of value.”

“So you could say, in one sense, we’re really increasing values,” he continued. “And maybe in a sense we’re reducing debt. But we’re very honored by it. And we’re very, very happy.”

While it’s true that the federal debt increased under President Barack Obama, and it’s true that the stock market has continued to see steady gains since Trump took office, there’s no clear correlation between the two. Gains in the stock market are not automatically transferred to the federal government.

In fact, the national debt has actually continued to increase under Trump, and hit $20 trillion for the first time in September.

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