Biden challenges Trump’s sunny picture of the U.S. economy

WASHINGTON — In a sign that the 2020 presidential campaign is finally getting underway in earnest, former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on camera Thursday morning to offer an alternative picture of what President Donald Trump had, just hours before, called a “spectacular” and “record-setting” jobs report

“Make no mistake, we’re still in a deep, deep job hole because Donald Trump has so badly bungled the response to coronavirus,” said Biden in prepared remarks that were carried live across cable news channels.

“For everyone whose job hasn’t come back, for everyone who doesn’t own stock, who can’t get a sweetheart loan through connections, does this feel like a victory?” said the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“For parents who are worried that kids can’t go back to school in the fall, do you feel like this is mission accomplished? For the people in states where Covid-19 is spiking, and we’re seeing record high numbers of infections, do you feel like this crisis is under control? Of course not. People are scared. They’re worried about their families and about their future.”

“Just like last month, President Trump has spiked the ball and made this about him,” said Biden, referring to a traditional touchdown celebration. “He doesn’t seem to realize he’s not even on the 50-yard line.” 

Thursday’s June jobs report was unquestionably good news for the president, showing that 4.8 million jobs were added to the economy last month, a significant increase over analyst expectations.

Trump took that topline figure and ran with it, hastily arranging an appearance in the White House briefing room to tout what he called his administration’s achievement in both managing the coronavirus pandemic and “rescuing” the U.S. economy.  

“So these are numbers that are not numbers that other presidents would have. They won’t have it,” Trump said after reading several of the statistics from Thursday’s report, and sprinkling them with other economic and market statistics from both before and after the start of the pandemic.

“The only thing that can kill it is a bad president or a president that wants to raise taxes. You want to raise taxes, this whole thing, your 401(k)s will drop down to nothing and your stock market will drop down to nothing,” Trump said. “This is not just luck, what’s happening. This is a lot of talent. All of this incredible news is the result of historic actions my administration has taken working with our partners in Congress to rescue the U.S. economy from a horrible event.” 

But analysts were quick to point out that the figures reported today were two weeks old. Since mid-June, coronavirus infection rates have skyrocketed in states that started reopening. This week, governors in several of the nation’s most populous states announced plans to roll back previous reopenings.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered businesses with indoor operations to close effective immediately in 19 counties. The order applies to…

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