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Trump takes no questions after touting jobs numbers

02 Jul 2020 TheHill

President Trump touted the new June jobs numbers at a hastily-scheduled press briefing Thursday where he left before taking any questions.

“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back, it’s coming back extremely strong,” Trump said, about an hour after the federal jobs report was released showing that the U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs during the month of June.

Thursday’s jobs report showed unemployment dropped to 11.1 percent, a significant figure but down markedly from nearly 15 percent in April. Millions of Americans still remain out of work amid the pandemic.

It's also unclear how robust the economic recovery will be as the number of coronavirus cases rise across the country. 

The United States reported 50,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the first time the daily figure has reached that high. 

Outbreaks in California, Florida, Arizona, Texas and other states have alarmed public health officials and led governors in some of those states put back into place restrictions on bars and restaurants,. 

New York City, which has seen progress in the fight, said it would not move forward with allowing inside dining in restaurants given the rise in the number of cases across the country. 

There are also concerns that outbreaks grow if people gather for Independence Day celebrations after the country saw a rise in cases after the Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

Trump mentioned none of these warning signs while speaking to reports, and instead focused on positively spinning his administration's handling of the crisis in the face of polls showing a majority of Americans disapprove of his performance on the coronavirus. 

“We have some areas where we are putting out the flames,” Trump said, a day after an interview where he again expressed hope the virus would "disappear."

“I think it’s working out very well, I think you’ll see that shortly,” he said Thursday.  

Trump cited specific statistics from the jobs report, cheering the increase in sectors like manufacturing as well as the jobs gains for African American workers. He also repeatedly touted the stock market gains.  

The survey period for the jobs report was June 12, preceding the significant surges in coronavirus cases in states in the southern and western parts of the country that have already slowed the economic recovery.

“The crisis is being handled,” Trump told reporters, at one point suggesting the United States was doing better in handling the virus than China and Europe. “We are getting it under control.” 

The press briefing marked the second consecutive month that Trump gathered the press to seize on better than expected jobs numbers during the pandemic. In both cases, he left without taking questions.

The decision to not take questions was particularly notable given another controversy the administration is dealing with this week: the report that Trump was briefed on intelligence that Russia paid bounties to militants in Afghanistan to attack and kill U.S. troops.


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