Trump Makes Odd Claim About 'Priming the Pump'
He claims to have invented the long-used economic term
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2017 11:17 AM CDT
President Trump says he might release his tax returns when he's no longer president.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – President Trump is making headlines because of an interview with the Economist, though probably not the ones he expected. One theme is on an odd claim he made about inventing the long-used phrase "priming the pump," and another on the possibility of his releasing his tax returns—when he's out of the White House. The details:

  • At one point, Trump asks the interviewer if he's ever heard of the phrase "priming the pump," which has been widely used in economic circles for at least the better part of a century. "Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do."

  • As the Hill reports, Merriam-Webster quickly pounced. "'Pump priming' has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933," it tweeted. Another said: "The phrase 'priming the pump' dates to the early 19th century."
  • At the Washington Post, Philip Bump is baffled. He cites multiple examples of Trump himself using the phrase previously and thus floats the possibility that Trump was joking. Or maybe he just "slipped into his long-standing pattern of taking credit where it wasn’t due."
  • On the tax returns, Trump was asked if he'd be willing to release them in order to get Democratic support for his tax plan, notes CNBC. "That's a very interesting question," he said. "I doubt it." He added that "at some point I'll release them" because "I'm very proud of them actually. I did a good job." And later: "I might release them after I'm out of office."
Click for the full transcript, which includes the president's thoughts on "Trumponomics" as referring to "self-respect as a nation" and "trade deals that have to be fair, and somewhat reciprocal, if not fully reciprocal."

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