In a rare sentient moment, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders apologized Tuesday for vastly overstating (lying) about job growth numbers for blacks under the Trump administration versus the Obama administration.
On Monday, Sanders claimed Trump had created three times more jobs for black people than President Obama did in eight years. To no one’s surprise, that figure is false. It’s just another in a string of disturbing lies and misstatements that defy government statistics and hand credit to Trump for a wave of economic progress that actually began under President Barack Obama.
Rather than accept at face value the inflated black employment stats reported by the White House, journalists were quick to do the research on the press secretary’s numbers. According to U.S. Department of Labor, the economy added 2.95 million jobs for blacks during the Obama administration, more than four times the 708,000 jobs added under Trump.
Moreover, in January of 2017, the same month Trump was sworn in as president, the U.S. had experienced 76 consecutive months of job growth and was experiencing the longest consistent job growth streak ever reported. That’s a remarkable feat, considering that when Obama took office in 2008, the economy was shedding jobs at a rate of more than 700,000 a month.
When you view the economic progress during the 96 months under the Obama Administration, it becomes clearer that the economy inherited by Donald Trump was healthy and the progress made since Trump took office has been fostered by the healthy economy that he received.
So while Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the administration’s spokesperson, might like to credit Trump’s efforts for the past 19 months for low black unemployment, it was President Obama who should received the most credit for the mechanisms providing for sustained economic growth and job creation.
Once A Doubter, Now a Believer
Candidate Donald Trump was a staunch critic of monthly Labor Department job numbers. He often called them wrong, contending that they didn’t accurately reflect true unemployment, which he estimated to be much higher.
But now as president, Trump sings a different tune. Now, not only does Trump believe the government’s jobs number, he’s also quick to take credit for any positive gains in this area and in the economy overall.
He has frequently touted the fact that black unemployment is at its lowest rate in history under his presidency, while omitting the fact that the Obama Administration achieved the longest consistent job growth streak ever reported.
Trump’s swift pivot from government statistics denier to believer is not just disingenuous, but also insulting. It comes across as a desperate attempt to re-make his image as a champion of black people rather than a racist.
Trump’s Race Problem
Trump has long had an image problem with black Americans. This is due in no small part to his history of racist statements and actions, including being sued by the federal government for refusing to rent to black people, disparaging black athletes as “sons of bitches” for protesting racial injustice and calling black lawmakers like Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson “dumb.”
Just this week, he referred to former White House Director of Communications for Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault-Newman -- who he originally hired -- as a dog.
t’s no wonder that he’s labeled as a racist and it’s entirely understood why he would want to claim credit for any positive advancement for blacks in America. But history suggests that he’ll have a tough go at it.
Just 8 percent of blacks backed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Black Americans know Trump’s racist history and they took that into consideration when casting their vote.
It’s understandable why Trump would attempt to gain favor with blacks and other minorities. But, his racist rhetoric is hardly consistent with being a champion of blacks. Moreover, having his spokesperson make demonstrably false statements claiming credit for job creation that actually was dwarfed by Obama’s, only adds to the growing list of falsehoods peddled by the administration.
It’s ironic that the president who so often lambasts “fake news” has a spokesperson who blatantly peddles lies to the American people daily, particularly when many of her statements aren’t just little white lies, but gigantic whoppers that can be easily disproven.
It’s also incredibly insulting that the administration seems to believe that blacks “owe” Trump gratitude for low black unemployment and should, therefore, support his presidency -- even as he regularly engages in disparaging, racist attacks against them.
You don’t get to demand black loyalty while openly stoking hate.
Stacy Fitzgerald is a Washington, DC area Gen Xer whose obsessions include politics, traveling and food and wine ventures.Stacy Fitzgerald is a Washington, DC area Gen Xer whose obsessions include politics, traveling and food and wine ventures.Stacy Fitzgerald is a Washington, DC area Gen Xer whose obsessions include politics, traveling and food and wine ventures.