Did Donald Trump invent the phrase “priming the pump?” Not so much.
In an interview with The Economist published on Thursday, President Trump claims credit for coining the phrase.
“Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it,” Trump, who has worked in business all his life, asked the interviewer. “I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.”
The phrase “priming the pump” has been around for more than 84 years, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which took to Twitter to explain where the phrase originated and when following release of the interview.
'Pump priming' has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933. https://t.co/VfkGwwzZRC
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 11, 2017
Trump suggested in his interview that he needed to invigorate the economy by making drastic tax cuts, which would undoubtedly result in huge deficits for the federal government. When asked if that would be OK, Trump responded that “it’s called priming the pump. You know, if you don’t do that, you’re never going to bring your taxes down,” echoing a claim by many trickle-down economists that has been proven untrue on countless occasions.
Yet during his campaign, Trump promised to eliminate the deficit in eight years. It’s unclear whether he’s still adhering to that promise, as Trump has broken a plethora of them since becoming president.
In any event, the phrase “priming the pump,” which Trump claimed he invented just days ago, has been around much longer, and is older even than Trump himself, who is 70.