The risk for Trump isn’t necessarily a recession, but a slowdown in growth that undermines his promise to voters that the economy has been renovated for the better under his watch.
Trump pledged consistent growth of more than 3% annually, yet the Congressional Budget Office forecast Wednesday that it will be closer to 2% in 2020 and drifting further downward in the years to come.
An organic slowdown in growth — not even a recession — would be tough on Trump’s reelection chances and he knows it, which is why he has aides talking up the economy on TV as he repeatedly hammers the Fed, said a former senior White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
The surest relief Trump could offer on the economy would be backing off the trade wars with China. But for the moment, the president is headed in the opposite direction, announcing increased levels of tariffs on Chinese goods Friday.