President Obama held his first prime-time press briefing — designed to build support for the economic stimulus package that was his top priority upon taking office — on Feb. 9, 2009. Later that same night, real estate mogul Donald Trump took to the airwaves to sing the plan's — and the president's — praises.
"I thought he did a terrific job," Trump told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren. "This is a strong guy knows what he wants, and this is what we need."
"First of all, I thought he did a great job tonight," said Trump. "I thought he was strong and smart, and it looks like we have somebody that knows what he is doing finally in office, and he did inherit a tremendous problem. He really stepped into a mess, Greta."
Van Susteren then asked Trump if a simple payroll tax holiday might be a better way to stimulate the flagging economy. Trump, however, held firm in his support for Obama's plan, which he praised for the wide breadth of approaches it took to combatting the crisis.
"Well, I think taxes are very good. I think it goes quickly. It is easily done, and etc., etc.," Trump told Van Susteren, "but building infrastructure, building great projects, putting people to work in that sense is also very good, so I think you have a combination of both plus he is doing a rebate system and I think that is good also."
Van Susteren tried again, questioning whether Trump thought that "the breakdown between spending projects and taxes" in the president's plan was the right one. And again, Trump offered praise for Obama's proposal.
"Well, I have analyzed the bill as closely as it can be analyzed in this quick a period of time, but he's really got a combination of both," Trump replied. "He is doing the taxes, he is doing rebates, and he is also doing lots of public works."
Trump went on to qualify his enthusiasm slightly, noting that a "couple of things slip in there which are bad."
In the end, however, he returned to his strong support for the president and his plan.
"It is a bad sound bite," said Trump, "but I thought he did a terrific job. This is a strong guy knows what he wants, and this is what we need."
Ilan Ben-Meir is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ilan Ben-Meir at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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