"Victory lap." That's the term used by the AP and CNN to describe President Trump's reaction to Friday's surprisingly strong jobs report. "This shows that what we've been doing is right," Trump said in the Rose Garden, referring to the White House push to reopen the nation amid the pandemic. He spoke after the unemployment rate shrank from 14.7% to 13.3% in May, despite fears it might actually rise to 20%. Trump used his press conference to criticize governors who aren't reopening their states as aggressively as he'd like: "I don't know why they continue to lock down." Related coverage, including controversy from Nobel winner Paul Krugman:
- On race: Asked about the George Floyd unrest and whether the White House has a plan to address systemic racism, Trump pointed to the jobs report. "It's the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community, for the Asian American, for the Hispanic American community, for women, for everything," Trump said, per the Washington Post. "Because our country is so strong. And that's what my plan is. We're going to have the strongest economy in the world."
- On Floyd: Trump also mentioned Floyd directly, notes CBS News. “Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender, or creed," he said. "They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it." (See the video.) He then appeared to go off his scripted remarks: "We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country. This is a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality." (As quoted at ABC News.) Much of the reaction seems to think Trump meant Floyd should be happy with the jobs numbers, but the Post notes it wasn't immediately clear what the president meant.
- Backtracking: Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman of the New York Times generated controversy by speculating the jobs numbers might be fishy. "This being the Trump era, you can't completely discount the possibility that they've gotten to the (Bureau of Labor Statistics)," he wrote. Krugman later wrote that he had received much "outraged pushback" over the suggestion and apologized, adding that he thinks the numbers from the "highly professional" BLS are indeed legit.
- Tempering the news: The Wall Street Journal notes that 21 million remain unemployed and a jobless rate of 13% is still "exceptionally high." Its quote from an economist at the website Indeed: "The bounceback started earlier than most expected, but don't get too excited about this one month of data," says Nick Bunker. "It's not clear how enduring this will be."
- The politics: The state of the economy might be key to Trump's political fortunes in November, and Politico notes that the president made a point Friday to warn that a Joe Biden victory would wipe out gains. Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Schumer said an unemployment rate of 13% is nothing to celebrate and warned that things will get worse again unless Congress approves another stimulus package.
- Thanking himself: Trump issued a flurry of tweets immediately after the numbers came out, which is technically a violation of federal rules, notes the Hill. Federal workers are supposed to wait an hour after the jobs report comes out before commenting on it. Sample tweet: "Really Big Jobs Report. Great going President Trump (kidding but true)!" the president wrote.
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