Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden slammed President Trump for celebrating June jobs report, downplaying the positive news as “no victory to be celebrated” when the coronavirus pandemic is “getting worse, not better.”
In brief online remarks Thursday afternoon, Biden acknowledged the better-than-expected June employment numbers as “positive news,” but tried to deflate the news by criticizing the president for failing to mention the “one number” of new coronavirus cases.
“Today’s report is positive news, and I’m thankful for it,” Biden said during a virtual prepared remark from his basement makeshift studio. “But as happy as I was for millions of workers returning to their jobs — there is one number I was stunned that the president didn’t mention even once at his press conference. That number was 50,000. Yesterday, the number of new COVID-19 cases in America topped 50,000 in a single day. We’ve never hit that number before in the course of this virus.”
Thursday’s jobs report showed the economy added 4.8 million jobs in June. It follows May’s shocking labor market rebound that added 2.5 million jobs, bring the total to 7.5 million jobs restored in the last two months alone. The unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent in June after peaking at 14.7 percent in April and falling to 13.3 percent in May.
Despite the robust economic recovery, the United States recorded a surge of 50,000 new cases in a single day, a record high on Wednesday. This has forced 45 states to pause, reverse, or delaying reopening plans to combat the spread, a move that could push unemployment numbers to spike up.
Biden focused his remarks on lambasting Trump for his “badly bungled” leadership in response to the coronavirus and the current economic crisis.
“Until this president faces what’s going on in our country, our economy is going to remain at risk. But make no mistake: we are still in a deep, deep jobs hole because Donald Trump has so badly bungled the response to the coronavirus, and now has basically given up responding at all,” Biden said. “There’s no victory to be celebrated when we’re still down nearly 15 million jobs and the pandemic is getting worse, not better.”
The former Vice President asserted that if Trump had “done his job” in quickly combating the virus “millions more Americans would still have their job” that should have never “been lost in the first place.”
“Millions of Americans who are still out of work, wondering when or if their job will come back, and worried about how to pay the bills in the meantime,” Biden said. “Trump wants to declare this health crisis over and unemployment solved. Now, unfortunately, he’s dead wrong on both fronts.”
“That’s a direct consequence of Donald Trump’s bungled leadership and total mismanagement of this crisis from the start,” he continued. “His failure to take quick action made this pandemic more costly for the American people in every way — in lives lost, in economic impact, in the emotional toll of living with so much doubt and uncertainty.”
Biden noted that the Labor Department’s report only covers the job gains through June 12th and since then “cases spiking, some businesses have to close down again, some states reimposing restrictions.” He emphasized that only a third of jobs that have returned were “temporary furlough” and those “were the easiest” to get back.
“Quit hoping for the best Mr. President,” Biden concluded. “Quit claiming victory with almost 15 million Americans still out of work because of the crisis. Quit ignoring the reality of this pandemic and horrifying loss of American life. Act. Lead. Or get out of the way so others can.”