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Donald Trump Insists He Coined The Phrase 'Prime The Pump,' Even Though It’s Been Proven He Didn't

He interrupted his own interview to let journalists know he invented an idiom that dates back to 1840

Donald Trump Insists He Coined The Phrase 'Prime The Pump,' Even Though It’s Been Proven He Didn't

It would seem, in the face of great turmoil amid his administration, Donald Trump is looking for a win wherever he can find one. And the most recent one is a little … bizarre.

Speaking to The Economist in a piece released last week, President Trump brought a discussion of economics and fiscal policy to a grinding halt to let the interviewers know that he coined the phrase “prime the pump,” but not before he explained the phrase to the journalists—who assured him that they were previously aware of the phrase and its meaning.


For the sake of context, here’s a transcript released by The Economist that the publication claims is “lightly edited.”

But beyond that it’s ok if the tax plan increases the deficit?
It is ok, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll … you understand the expression ‘prime the pump’?

Yes.
We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.
We’re the highest taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?
Yeah, have you heard it?

Yes.
Have you heard that expression used before? 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.

It’s …
Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in before you can get something out.

It’s evident from the curt responses by the interviewer that he or she isn’t in the least interested in pulling at this thread, but Trump, characteristically, decides to halt the more pertinent discussion to discuss something great he’s done.

It’s unclear why Donald Trump wasn’t taken aback that a group of journalist were already familiar with a colloquialism he claimed to have invented just days prior, but maybe he just assumes his witty idiom went viral.

Online skeptics (and dictionaries and many other reference books) show the phrase dating back to 1840; mentions of “prime the pump” used in the context of government spending date as far back as 1933.

Well, someone’s not being honest here. We just need to find out who ...

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