President Donald Trump said Friday he’s not to blame after the Labor Department reported that more than 20 million jobs had been slashed last month, when the U.S. economy buckled under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s fully expected, there’s no surprise,” Trump said in a Fox News interview, which took place as the devastating jobs report came out.
“Even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that,” Trump said. “But what I can do is I’ll bring it back.”
The president’s comments on the economy followed lengthy remarks celebrating the Justice Department’s move a day earlier to drop its case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security advisor.
Trump decried the “deep state” and attacked the government officials who pursued the “hoax” investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election.
“These are dirty politicians and dirty cops and horrible people. And hopefully they’re going to pay a big price someday in the not-too-distant future,” Trump said.
Trump was not asked about, and did not mention, the coronavirus pandemic until more than 15 minutes into the interview.The virus has killed more than 75,000 Americans.
The coronavirus-induced economic freeze has taken a historic toll, the new Labor Department figures show: 20.5 million workers were slashed from nonfarm payrolls in April, and the unemployment rate shot up to 14.7%.
The Great Recession peak was 10% in October 2009.
Trump lamented on Fox that he was forced to virtually “close the country,” but added that “if I didn’t, we would have lost 2 million, 2½ million [people], maybe more than that.”
“And we’ll be at 100,000, 110 [thousand deaths] — the lower level of what was projected if we did the shutdown,” the president said.
“Still, you’re talking about two Yankee Stadiums of people. It’s unacceptable.”