Friday, June 5, 2020

Trump Brags That Lower Unemployment Numbers Help Black Americans — But Unemployment Just Went Up For Them

Trump assuming that George Floyd is "looking down" on him, and thinking he's done good for race relations, is beyond the pale of distaste. Even for Trump's standards.

President Donald Trump received an enormous amount of criticism today, and for good reason: he tried to suppose what George Floyd was thinking in regard to what his administration's response to his own death might be.

"Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying there’s a great thing happening for our country. It’s a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody," Trump said at the White House on Friday.

A lot of news organizations messed up on this quote, saying that Trump was talking about the economy when citing his belief on what Floyd might be thinking. But trying to say that Floyd, who died early last week after having a knee compressed on his neck by Minneapolis police officers for more than 8 minutes, would be impressed by Trump's actions so far is, in itself, completely tone-deaf and insensitive.

Trump has done nothing to advance the cause of Black Lives in the past two weeks. He's offered no legislation to address racial disparities in policing, for instance, and no realistic goal for how to fix the crisis that has existed for years, decades, and even centuries.

The president tried to say he was working to improve Black Lives — however, his solution to doing so misses what this moment is all about.

Trump's main plan, according to his own words, is to improve the economic station of Black Americans. How that affects racial discrimination in policing (or in other facets of society) is hard to tell, as the president wouldn't elaborate on THAT point.

"Our country is so strong. And that’s what my plan is," Trump said of his plan to improve things in America for minorities. "We’re going to have the strongest economy in the world. We almost are there now."

He also cited the latest jobs report as evidence that his plan was working, calling it "the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African-American community, or the Asian-American, or the Hispanic-American community for women, for everything."

If we're being completely honest, yes, improving the economic situation for Black Americans is part of the equation to making sure Black lives are better. But it appears to be the only thing Trump is willing to do — in spite of clear disparities that exist which are not economic, and continued evidence of discrimination that occurs in American workplaces and beyond.

Additionally, Trump flubbed up in his comments on Friday for another reason: citing the improved jobs numbers, he failed to take into account that numbers for Black Americans actually worsened. In April, 16.7 percent of Black workers were unemployed; in May, it was 16.8 percent who were without work and still looking.

When confronted by journalist Yamiche Alcindor about the difference in outcomes between white Americans and Black Americans on the jobs front, from April to May, Trump had a short and bitter answer:

"You are something," he said to her.


Featured image credit: The White House/Wikimedia

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