'It didn't have to be this way': DNC chairman says economic dip is Trump's fault

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Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez blamed President Trump for the current economic dip despite a better-than-expected jobs report and a stock market surge.

Perez condemned Trump’s economic leadership following the announcement on Friday morning that the unemployment rate had fallen to 13.3% after many economists expected the rate to soar above 20%. He said the slight decline was not worth celebrating.

“We’ve seen 19.6 million jobs lost over the last three months. To give you perspective, Andrea, in the worst three months of the Obama administration, the worst three-month period, we had 3.2 million jobs lost. Every president since FDR has seen net job growth in their presidency until now with Donald Trump,” Perez said.

MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell cut Perez off to add context to his remarks by highlighting that the country was just beginning to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

“But let me just say in fairness, there was a pandemic, which caused a complete shutdown of the economy. It’s not the greatest jobs ever, but the fact is it’s coming back from a flatline,” Mitchell said.

Perez dismissed Mitchell’s point and argued that the job losses from the pandemic were made worse by Trump.

“But the reality, Andrea, is it didn’t have to be this way. What we know is that last December, last January, last February, this president was asleep at the switch. When he should have been acting, when he should have been listening to his experts, he instead was negotiating a trade deal with China. He wanted to get that trade deal, and it was a crappy trade deal he got,” Perez said.

“So, here we are now. It has exacerbated the extent of the job loss,” he added.

The unemployment rate jumped from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April. Trump’s economists, including Kevin Hassett and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, expected the unemployment rate to be above 20% in the month of May. Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for the MUFG Union Bank, called the quick turnaround the “shortest recession in history.”

The stock market also reflected the economic turnaround with near-record highs recorded for the Nasdaq composite.

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