Friday, March 10, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He admitted he'd been lying about supposedly "phony" Obama jobs numbers during the campaign.

Trump has been enthusiastically taking credit for February's fairly typical post-recovery job statistics, but had repeatedly accused President Obama of having somehow manipulated labor statistics during the campaign. At one point, he claimed that the "real" unemployment rate under Obama was 42%, about ten times higher than the actual number. 

Asked what the "real" unemployment rate was at the start of Trump's presidency, press secretary Sean Spicer had pointedly refused to answer. Today, however, Spicer told the press that Trump "had said to quote him very clearly: 'They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.'” Very uncharacteristically, Spicer laughed as he answered the question--and got laughter in return from the White House press corps, who presumably took it as a joke at Trump's expense. If that was how it was intended, it was less well received outside the room.

The monthly jobs report is produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is using the same methodology for Trump as for Obama.

How is this a bad thing?

  • Jobs are much, much too important a subject to Americans for a president to joke about.
  • It's very bad if a president can only believe what he thinks helps him politically.