President Donald Trump on Sunday touted the record stock market, strong economy and robust labor situation while attacking a "fake book" an explosive behind-the-scenes account that questions his fitness for office.
The White House has been pushing back hard against the unflattering portrayal of the president in "Fire and Fury," a supposed tell-all book by Michael Wolff that extensively quotes former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
Bannon, facing intense fire from the White House, issued a statement Sunday expressing "unwavering" support for the president, AFP reported.
He said his reported criticism of a meeting between son Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer as "treasonous" was aimed mainly at another campaign aide who should have known the Russians "are not our friends."
But Bannon's statement to the Axios news website did not specifically deny any of his reported comments, nor did it contain a forthright apology for his part in touching off the buzzsaw of criticism spawned by the book.
Trump tweeted Sunday: 'The Stock Market has been creating tremendous benefits for our country in the form of not only Record Setting Stock Prices, but present and future Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Seven TRILLION dollars of value created since our big election win!"
He also vowed to continue fighting for his "Make America Great Again" agenda despite and criticism by the mainstream media.
To be sure, for all of 2017, the economy created 2.1 million jobs, below the 2.2 million added in 2016, the Labor Department said on Friday.
Economists expect job growth to slow this year as the labor market hits full employment, which will likely boost wage growth as employers compete for workers.
Trump also tweeted that the instant bestseller -- which paints him as disengaged, ill-informed and unstable, with signs of serious memory loss -- was a "fake book, written by a totally discredited author."
Monday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Dow struggled to edge higher on Monday, stalling the strong rally that marked the start of 2018, pressured by losses in healthcare and bank stocks, Reuters reported.
The S&P and the Nasdaq last week recorded its strongest first four trading days in a year since 2006, and the Dow industrials posted its best since 2003.
“The market was probably a little bit overbought, it was a big week for stocks in terms of strength and breadth, it’s more of a pause,” said John Brady, senior vice president at futures brokerage R.J. O‘Brien & Associates in Chicago.
Investors waited for the fourth-quarter earnings reports to gauge the impact of recent tax cuts. The earnings season kicks off later this week, starting with big banks.
Trump's Sunday tweet came just a few days after he lashed out at the "fake news media" for ignoring and downplaying his economic accomplishments in the wake of the revelation that the economy created 2.1 million jobs in his first year in office.
Trump vowed during his 2016 campaign for president that he would be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
Employment data released Friday show that the economy added 2.06 million jobs during his first full year in office.
Trump also late Friday praised the strength of the U.S. economy ahead of meetings at Camp David with congressional Republicans, the Associated Press reported.
Trump told reporters on the South Lawn that the "tax cuts are really kicking in" after Congress passed a package of tax cuts at the end of 2017. He notes that many companies have provided their employees with end-of-year bonuses.
And the president is praising the December jobs report, which found U.S. employers added 148,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since 2000.
The president is meeting with Republican congressional leaders and members of his Cabinet on Friday and Saturday to discuss the 2018 agenda.
Trump says, "We have a lot of things to work on, a lot of things to accomplish."
Meanwhile, stocks on Friday continued to march even deeper into record territory.
Wall Street’s main indexes extended their new year rally on Friday after weak December U.S. jobs data raised expectations that the Federal Reserve would stick to its policy of gradual interest rate hikes in 2018.
U.S. stocks kicked off 2018 on a strong note, carrying momentum from last year driven by a series of strong economic reports from across the globe.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were on track for their biggest percentage gains in more than a year on Friday, and the Dow in about a month, Reuters explained.
To be sure, countless other respected economic gurus are predicting that the economy will only continue to flourish under Trump.
Larry Kudlow, the Reagan administration economist who also advised the Trump campaign, said an investment boom is coming to the U.S. as tax reform provides more incentives for companies to spend more on factories and equipment.
“The tax cost of capital is coming way down,” he said on business news channel CNBC. “A lot of these calculations and break-even’s and so forth look a lot better now if you’re talking about a 21 percent corporate tax rate and the 100 percent expensing. We’re on the front end of an investment boom.”
The tax plan approved last month by Trump cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, and allows businesses to deduct the cost of any assets they acquire right away.
As for personal income taxes, the IRS is currently revising its tax withholding tables and plans to release them by the end of this month. By February, many workers should start seeing more take-home pay.
“As those tax cut eggs fertilize, you’ll see more in February when withholding rates come down,” Kudlow said.
Meanwhile, investment guru Steve Forbes recently predicted to Newsmax TV that the GOP tax-reform legislation will spark investment that ultimately lead to “a higher standard of living” for all Americans.
“We've had, as you know, subpar investment for a decade,” the chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media told the “The Income Generation Show.”
“And so, in order to get a higher standard of living, we need more investment. And that leads to enabling people to keep more of what they earn via higher earnings, higher salaries, higher pay in the future and you have to have investment,” said Forbes, author of "Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming The Fed will Restore Hope and Prosperity."
“So they are laying the foundation for good, long-term growth in the business side,” Forbes told Newsmax TV.
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).
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