Trump said the stock market would’ve ‘crashed’ if he wasn’t elected in 2016 — but one chart shows why that’s a wild claim

  • President Trump on Tuesday delivered a rambling White House speech that saw him weigh in on stock-market performance.
  • He said the market would’ve “crashed” if he wasn’t elected in 2016, and credited his administration’s policies for encouraging its continued expansion.
  • Here is one chart that shows why its a wild claim.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump took a victory lap at a rambling White House speech after his Senate acquittal on Thursday. He veered from one subject to another in an event that resembled a campaign rally, boasting of his resilience in the face of Democratic-led “witch hunts” and later complimented the physique of a Republican lawmaker.

But Trump also decided to weigh in on stock market performance, one of his favorite scorecards to show the administration’s economic policies are accelerating growth.

“If we didn’t win, the stock market would have crashed, and the market was going up a lot before the election because it was looking like we had a good chance to win, and it went up tremendously from the time we won the election to when we took office … it was all to our credit,” he said.

But that claim is highly misleading. The stock market recovered after the Great Recession under President Obama and has undergone sustained growth in the decade since, as shown in the chart below.

S&P 500 Obama Trump election chart

Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

The S&P 500, an accepted gauge of market expansion, has climbed 46.3% since Trump took office in 2017 – by comparison, it returned 65.4% in the same stretch of time during Obama’s first term. However, larger gains under Obama was partly because it was rebounding from the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

What Trump said flies in the face of what market analysts projected during the 2016 election. To varying degrees, they warned of a market crash if he were victorious.

Citigroup sent a note to clients at the time that a Trump victory would cause stocks to drop up to 5%, warning of trade wars that could roil fragile global economic growth.

One Massachussetts Institute of Technology economist even warned of a crash that would “plunge the world into a recession.”

But investors soon made a bet that Trump’s promises of tax cuts and less regulation would further boost the economy, and stocks continued their steady march upward. Those returns were also helped over time by the continuation of historically easy monetary policy.

Some of Trump’s policies, though, have occasionally sent stocks tumbling temporarily – like the administration’s trade war with China and the ensuing volley of threats between the world’s two largest economic powers.

Ultimately, studies have found that stock market gains disproportionately benefit the wealthy, as they are far more likely to own shares compared to lower-income Americans.