TRUMP: "If our opponent had won that election, you know what would have happened? Right now, China would be the No. 1 economy anywhere in the world. And right now, I can tell you, they're not even close." — Minneapolis rally.
TRUMP: "So I think China might have caught us if my opponent had gotten in. By now, they would have caught us. And now it's going to be a long time before they catch us, if they ever catch us. I don't think anybody is going to catch us." — remarks Oct. 7 on trade.
THE FACTS: No matter who got elected in 2016 — Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton — there is no way China's economy would have caught up with America's by now.
Even if the U.S. economy hadn't grown at all since 2016, China's gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — would have had to have surged a fantastical 79% in three years to have pulled even with America's. That comes to growth of more than 21% a year — something even China's super-charged economy has never approached.
Moreover, despite Trump's suggestion that China can't ever catch up, the Chinese economy continues to slowly narrow the gap because every year it grows much faster than America's. In 2019, for example, the International Monetary Fund expects Chinese GDP to increase 6.2%, more than double the 2.6% growth it expects for the United States.
RONNA MCDANIEL, Republican National Committee chair: "New data is out on median income growth: Under Barack Obama, incomes rose $11 a month. Under @realDonaldTrump, incomes are rising at $161 a month. That's huge!" — tweet on Oct. 7, retweeted by Trump.
New data is out on median income growth:Under Barack Obama, incomes rose $11 a month.Under @realDonaldTrump, incomes are rising at $161 a month.That’s huge!— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) October 7, 2019
THE FACTS: This comparison is misleading.
McDaniel's statement relies on an op-ed by conservative commentator Stephen Moore that obscures the track records of both presidents and the economic conditions that their administrations inherited.
For the first two full years of Trump's presidency, the Census Bureau shows that median household income has been growing by a monthly average of $58, to $63,179 in 2018. That's almost one-third of what was claimed in McDaniel's tweet.
Under Obama, incomes rose at a monthly average of only $31. But that average includes Obama's first term, when the economy was dealing with the ravages from the Great Recession that began before he became president. Trump took office at a moment when the economy was relatively healthy.
Obama's track record improved sharply after 2012, as the recovery took hold. Median incomes during that period rose at a monthly average of $122. That is more than double the income growth during Trump's first two years.
TRUMP: "As you know, in addition to what we're talking about today, they're building — Japan — many car plants in the United States, which they weren't doing for a long time. And they're building in Michigan, Ohio, lots of different states. And we just appreciate it very much. Been a tremendous investment." — remarks Oct. 7 on trade.
THE FACTS: Not true. Japanese automakers are not building "many" car plants in the U.S. No Japanese automakers are building assembly plants in Michigan, and Honda is making only a small investment at an existing facility in Anna, Ohio, near Dayton. Honda has announced it will build a hybrid SUV at a factory in Greensburg, Indiana, but that investment is $4.2 million and will add 34 new jobs.
The only major assembly plant being built now by Japanese automakers in the U.S. is the Toyota-Mazda factory in Alabama, which is expected to employ 4,000 people and will start producing vehicles in 2021.
Normally, parts-making companies set up operations in or near the main assembly plant, and that's happening in Huntsville. Six companies are investing about $491 million in the area, creating an expected 1,765 jobs, according to Toyota.
Earlier this year, Japanese truck maker Hino opened a new assembly plant in Mineral Wells, West Virginia, investing $100 million and creating 250 jobs. It replaced an older facility that also was in West Virginia.
Trump is also wrong to suggest recent construction from Japanese car companies in the U.S. is somehow new. Japanese automakers have been building in the U.S. since the 1970s and have expanded manufacturing over the years. The companies have announced millions in investments to retool existing plants to make new models.
Associated Press writers Paul Wiseman, Josh Boak, Robert Burns, Christopher Rugaber and Stephen Braun in Washington, Tom Krisher in Detroit and Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.