Did Donald Trump Say the Economy’s Crashing Would Cause People to Riot for ‘When We Were Great’?

The president-elect made comments about the economy's crashing in 2014, in a passing remark while calling in to a Fox News program about his disagreements with the Affordable Care Act.

  • Published 6 January 2017
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Donald Trump said that America's economy crashing would lead to riots demanding we make the country great again.


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After Donald Trump claimed victory in the 8 November 2016 U.S. presidential election, some critics who were unhappy with that outcome began circulating a quote attributed to Trump that, taken out of context, seemed rather apocalyptic:

“You know what solves it?” Trump said of America’s alleged troubles during a 2014 interview. “When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have a [chuckles], you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.”

Donald Trump did make this comment, but he said it in February 2014, well before he announced that he be would running for president in the 2016 election. He made the statement in passing while he was a phone-in guest on a Fox News Channel talk show, as can be heard around at the two-minute mark in the following video:

Some web sites have characterized Trump’s words to mean that he believed riots and economic chaos could solve the country’s woes:

In February 2014, Donald Trump joined Fox News to rail against the Obama Administration, including the Affordable Care Act and its economic approach. There was little of substance to support his sweeping remarks. However, given that a President Trump will be taking office in January, his suggested remedy (at the 2:02 mark) stands out.

Instead, it seems Trump was referencing the idea that the Affordable Care Act and other social programs allowed people to “live very nicely” without working, and his apparent belief that such a circumstance was highly deleterious to the economy. In any case, it was a hypothetical statement, not a suggestion that enacting a policy of deliberately crashing the U.S. economy would bring about a positive outcome.