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Trump Expected To Deliver Economic Message


Thanks, Donald. That's something that President-elect Donald Trump wrote about himself in a tweet late last night. Trump was pointing out that the consumer confidence index was at its highest level since 2003. He has been taking a lot of credit lately for an increasingly healthy economy, and today Trump spoke to reporters at his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., and took credit for thousands of new jobs being created by private companies.


DONALD TRUMP: So we just had some very good news. Because of what's happening and the spirit and the hope, I was just called by the head people at Sprint, and they're going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States. They're taking them from other countries. They're bringing them back to the United States.

SIEGEL: NPR's Scott Detrow has been following the transition, and he's here with more. Trump is saying these jobs are being created because businesses are feeling good about his election. What are the details here?

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Well, the details here are sparse at the moment, but Sprint put out a statement saying that these 5,000 jobs are coming from overseas. But it's important to point out that Sprint is just beginning discussions about where exactly these jobs will go. This is not a done deal as of yet. But the company's CEO putting - put out a statement saying, we're excited to work with President-elect Trump and his administration to do our part to drive economic growth and create jobs.

Another 3,000 jobs are coming from the company OneWorld, which announced more than a week ago that it would be manufacturing satellites in Florida. The thing that ties these two together is SoftBank. It's a Japanese firm, and the head of that firm, Masayoshi Son, is someone who met with Trump in early December at Trump Tower to promise to bring 50,000 jobs to the U.S.

So the theme here is that Donald Trump is acting like a mayor or a governor often does, connecting himself to one company or another, making deals for jobs. That's not something we've seen a president do.

SIEGEL: Did reporters hear anything else from the president-elect?

DETROW: Yeah, Trump took a couple quick questions. This was not a press conference, which he has not done for months. But Trump did say he had a conversation with President Obama, that it was a nice conversation today.

That's notable because this morning, Trump tweeted - and I need to get the inflection right here - quote, "doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O. statements and roadblocks, thought it was going to be a smooth transition - not" - bringing back that '90s insults.

SIEGEL: (Laughter) Could be a presidential first - doing that. On the economy, Trump has been taking a lot of credit for lots of good news in recent weeks. What's his argument?

DETROW: Well, he's saying the economy is already responding to his presidency, and it's viewing it as good news. Trump pointed to the Consumer Confidence Index, which is at its highest levels in more than a decade. He's pointing to the stock market and the fact that it's surged over the last month even though it did drop about a hundred points today.

You may remember on election night, as a Trump win because clearer and clearer, the stock market futures really tanked, but by the end of the week, stocks were up. And over the last month, they've been setting records day after day. And the Dow Jones has been approaching 20,000.

SIEGEL: Well, does Trump have a point? Can he connect that good economic news to his victory and the - his impending presidency?

DETROW: Well, it's true that these recent figures are really good, but these are long-term trends. This has been the case for months, and that's something that the Obama administration has been touting as well. They're very eager to make a contrast between the strong economic numbers of this transition and the really dire economic numbers from 2008 when Obama was preparing to take office in the middle of a terrible recession.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Scott Detrow covering the Trump transition. Thanks, Scott.

DETROW: Thank you, Robert. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.
Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.