President Trump declared victory Friday over improving unemployment numbers and the civil unrest that has swept the nation over the death of George Floyd, even as unemployment ticked up slightly for minority groups and legislative or policy changes have yet to be made in Washington to address police brutality or racial inequality.
Unemployment declined slightly in May, falling from 14.7% to 13.3% as the economy showed some signs of recovering from the nationwide coronavirus shutdowns. Employers added 2.5 million jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday, after April marked the biggest hit to the labor market since records started to be kept in 1948.
But black unemployment rose slightly from 16.7% in April to 16.8% in May, in a month the president declared a "tribute to equality" as the nation protests racial discrimination and police brutality. Mr. Trump also seemed to declare success after a week of protests that swept the nation.
"Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender or creed, they have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement," the president said. "They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen. Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country. This is a great day for him, it's a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality."
When at the end of the president's remarks, a reporter asked how it's a victory when unemployment numbers increased for black and Asian-Americans, the president dismissed the question with a wave of his hand and suggested a strong economy will help address racial inequality.
"You are something," the president shot back at the reporter.
With unemployment still at historic highs, the president declared what's happening now the "greatest comeback in American history."
"Today is probably, if you think of it, the greatest comeback in American history," he said. "But it's not going to stop here. It's going to keep going."
First published on June 5, 2020 / 9:37 AM
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