Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lied about his approval rating with African-Americans.

This morning, Trump claimed in a tweet that his approval rating with black Americans had doubled. In fact, it has dropped from 15% last January to 6% now in the benchmark Gallup tracking poll. No poll shows anything like an increase.

Trump frequently makes obviously false and disprovable claims, and it's no mystery why he chose to make this one today: he was still fighting off fallout from his racist remarks last week when news broke this morning that he'd also spoken dismissively of the Congressional Black Caucus at the same meeting. (Trump may not know exactly what the Congressional Black Caucus is: at a press conference last year he told reporter April Ryan, who is black, to set up a meeting with them, apparently on the assumption that she worked for them.)

More interesting is the false theory behind Trump's false claim--that the "increase" in support came from a falling unemployment rate for African-Americans under Trump. It's true that that normally volatile rate has decreased since Trump took office. What Trump is omitting--and may simply not know--is the context. As with most economic indicators, the trajectory is unchanged from the Obama administration's recovery after the 2007-2008 recession.

So what?

  • It's wrong to take credit for things you didn't do.