Trump Calls Friday a 'Great Day' For George Floyd and Equality After Unemployment Dips
The president hailed an unexpected dip in unemployment as a ‘great day in terms of equality’ and promised a swift recovery as long as he stays in office.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, June 5, 2020, in Washington. White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, left, and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, top right listen.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP touted successes that have occurred during his administration and warned of economic gains eroding if he loses in November at a hastily organized event Friday on the heels of an economic report that showed an unexpected dip in unemployment last month.
In largely unscripted remarks from the Rose Garden that lasted roughly 40 minutes, Trump veered between the economic report, his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the widespread protests happening across the country.
"This shows that what we've been doing is right," Trump said of the jobs figures, promising a "rocket ship" economic rebound as long as he remained in office.
"I'm telling you next year, unless something happens or the wrong people get in here, this will turn around," he said.
He was responding to news from the Labor Department earlier in the day that U.S. employers added 2.5 million jobs in May and the unemployment rate declined to 13.3%. The report was far rosier than expected by analysts, who widely predicted that the unemployment rate would hit 20% and the nation would shed millions more positions.
The figures come after all 50 states moved to ease coronavirus restrictions and reopen nonessential businesses shuttered by stay-at-home orders. Roughly half of the jobs gained last month came from bar and restaurant payrolls.
Trump, who billed the event as a news conference but took no questions from reporters, also defended his handling of the coronavirus, reiterating his decision to bar travel from China and urging jurisdictions with remaining restrictions in place to lift them.
But the economic numbers capped a week most notable for days of protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis. And Trump's appearance from a White House surrounded by a widening perimeter of fences fortifying the compound against the expectation of more mass demonstrations served as a reminder of those events.
He said a strong economy was his plan to address race relations in the U.S. and pointed to the unemployment report as a "great day in terms of equality."
The report, however, showed large gaps in joblessness among whites and minorities. While the rate for whites dipped last month to 12.4%, the unemployment rate among black workers increased 0.1%, to 16.8%. And 17.6% of Hispanics are unemployed, according to the report.
Trump also addressed the ongoing protests and called Friday a "great day" for Floyd. Floyd died after a police officer, who has now been charged in his death, kneeled on his neck for nine minutes.
"Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country. There's a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody. There's a great day for everybody," Trump said.