White House offers reassurances amid recession fears as 2020 candidates sound alarm

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' MORE’s economic and trade advisers sought to quell fears of a looming recession Sunday morning after a week of turmoil in the markets that has historically served a predecessor to economic downturns.

"I don't see a recession at all," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted on "Fox News Sunday," telling guest anchor Dana Parino, “The Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding, we’re going to stay with that.”


Last week, short-term U.S. Treasury bond yields fell below yields for longer term bonds, a development known as yield-curve inversion that has historically predicted recessions. Wednesday also saw the U.S. stock market suffer its worst losses of the year, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 800 points. Taken together, the economic signs have investors jittery.

Kudlow was similarly dismissive of the notion of a coming recession in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” which led host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddBiden on quarantine timelines: 'Worst thing you can do is raise expectations and then watch them get dashed' White House coronavirus coordinator: All governors and mayors need to 'prepare like New York is preparing now' Michigan governor says states bidding against each other for medical supplies is 'creating a lot more problems for us all' MORE to note that he struck a similar note before the Great Recession in 2007, writing at that time, “There’s no recession coming. ... The pessimistas were wrong.”

“I plead guilty to that,” Kudlow told Todd.

Chief White House trade adviser Peter Navarro echoed the optimism, saying on ABC’s “This Week,” “Before I came to the White House, I spent the better part of 20 years forecasting business cycle and stock market trends, and what I can tell you with certainty is that we're going to have a strong economy through 2020 and beyond.”

Navarro made a similar claim Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” telling host Margaret Brennan, “What I’m seeing when I look at all the macro tea leaves is a very strong Trump economy.”

Democratic presidential candidates, meanwhile, sounded the alarm on the economy Sunday morning, pointing to the effects it has had on Americans' lives. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that a recession is “probably” forthcoming.

However, Buttigieg said, the bigger issue was that even in a period of economic expansion, “most Americans can’t get ahead ... and the president has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t care.”

“We've got an economy not working for most Americans," he added.

Buttigieg’s fellow presidential contender Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandLawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Progressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MORE (D-N.Y.) also refuted the rosy outlook Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” following Navarro’s segment.

“I don't think [Navarro’s] worldview is reflected in the everyday, kitchen-table issues that families are facing," Gillibrand said, telling the program that in a meeting with out-of-work Ohio voters, she learned “they're worried about their jobs, they're worried about access to health care ... they’re worried about providing for their kids."

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) opined that a recession was on the horizon, saying Trump was “driving the global economy and our economy into a recession” on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

"This current trade war with China the president has entered our country into is not working, it's hammering the hell out of farmers across the country who do not want bail outs or payouts, [they] just want profits off what they're growing,” he added.

White House officials offered reassurances on the ongoing trade war specifically as well, with Navarro reiterating earlier claims that tariffs on Chinese goods would have no effect on American consumers. Kudlow, too, said the White House “want[s] to minimize any impact of tariffs on the American consumer,” adding “so far it’s been virtually zero.”