Donald Trump has said he will continue with his trade war with China even if it means the United States falling into recession.
The president stressed that he thought the US was “very far” from a recession but acknowledged that his administration was looking at a payroll tax cut to boost the economy, something that had previously been denied. And he said he was pressing on with his trade policies "whether it's good or bad for" the prospects of a recession.
Speaking at the White House after a meeting with the Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, Mr Trump urged the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, saying: “If the Fed would do its job we would have a tremendous spirit of growth .. you would see a burst of growth like you’ve never seen before.”
Fears of a possible economic downturn have been stoked by concerns over the president’s tariffs war with China, and by an inverted yield curve, an indicator that has preceded the last seven recessions.
However, the president insists that low unemployment and continued growth show that the economy is in good shape, and said that he was “not looking to do anything at this moment” on payroll tax.
Mr Trump also said he thought Russia should be readmitted to the G7. Russia was expelled from the then-G8 in 2014 after invading and annexing Crimea from Ukraine. In a typical swipe at his predecessor, Mr Trump made up his own reason for Russia’s expulsion, saying that Barack Obama had pushed for it because Vladimir Putin had “outsmarted” him.
The president - who has consistently spoken in glowing terms of Mr Putin, including taking his side over US intelligence agencies - has previously called for Russia’s readmission to meetings of the world’s richest nations.
He once again accused Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib - whom Israel barred from a planned visit at his request - of being antisemitic, and questioned why so many American Jews vote Democrat.
He said that “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty”, although he did not explain to what or whom they would be showing disloyalty. The Jewish Virtual Library, a project run by the lobby group AICE, says that 71% of Jewish voters backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, with 24% choosing Trump.