President Donald Trump claimed he “
came up” with the phrase “prime the pump” during an interview with The Economist published on Thursday.
During an interview with the publication, Trump said he was fine with his tax plan increasing the deficit in the short-term in order to stimulate growth, saying the boost was “priming the pump.”
“It is OK, because [the deficit] won’t increase it for long,” Trump said. “You may have two years where you’ll … you understand the expression ‘prime the pump’?”
Trump then went on to tell the Economist interviewer that he “came up” with the phrase.
“Have you heard that expression used before?” Trump asked the Economist. “Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.”
“Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in before you can get something out,” Trump continued.
Trump, however, was not the first to use the phrase.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary pointed out on Twitter that the phrase has existed since the 1800s and has been used by the government for 84 years.
“‘Pump priming’ has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933,” the dictionary’s Twitter account said.
Analysts have questioned whether the Trump tax plan would cause the type of growth increase that Trump has suggested — whether it would, in fact, prime the pump.
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