US President Donald Trump arrives at a "Make America Great Again" rally at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, North Carolina, on July 17, 2019

  • US President Donald Trump baselessly accused journalists of trying to hurt the American economy Thursday.
  • The attack appeared to be his latest effort to shift blame for recession concerns away from his escalating trade disputes.
  • Visit Business Insider for more stories.

President Donald Trump groundlessly accused journalists of trying to hurt the American economy Thursday in what appeared to be his latest effort to shift blame for recession concerns away from his escalating trade disputes.

"The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election," the president wrote on Twitter, without offering any details on the claim. "The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!"

With investors unnerved by slower growth and ongoing trade wars, Trump has moved swiftly to defend the more than $350 billion worth of tariffs that have been levied between the US and China. Beijing vowed to retaliate against planned escalations Thursday with unspecified but "necessary" countermeasures.

His attacks on the media came just one day after a key recession warning flashed for the first time since 2007, sending financial markets to their worst close of the year. Stocks were slightly higher Thursday after government data showed consumer spending was robust in July.

Trump has repeatedly portrayed stock-market performance as an unofficial scorecard of his presidency. He placed blame for trouble in the bond market Wednesday on the Federal Reserve, which has been a nearly constant target of his ire.

"China is not our problem … Our problem is with the Fed. Raised too much & too fast. Now too slow to cut...." the president wrote on Twitter. "..Spread is way too much as other countries say THANK YOU to clueless Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve," Trump wrote.

The Trump administration has issued an unprecedented degree of pressure on the independent central bank, directing it to lower interest rates and attempting to place political allies on its policymaking board. On Wednesday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said once again that policymakers should hold an "emergency" meeting and cut interest rates by a half percentage point.

Since the start of the Trump reelection campaign this year, the White House has increasingly sought to juice growth and shield itself from blame for strains on the economy. While Trump and his advisers said protectionism would win fairer trade policies, hundreds of businesses have warned the cost of protectionism falls on Americans.

Trump appeared acknowledge evidence that trade wars raise costs Tuesday as he delayed a portion of scheduled tariffs on Chinese products. He said he did not want to risk affecting the holiday shopping season, an apparent departure from his claim that only foreign exporters pay US duties. But he backtracked that statement seconds later, falsely asserting that tariffs had so far had "virtually" no effect on consumers.

The White House did not respond to an email requesting comment.

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