The White House spent the entire month of January bragging about delivering jobs for black Americans. But that whole storyline just blew up.
Donald Trump and his White House team can stop bragging about how they’ve showered black Americans with record economic prosperity.
The claim was never really true to begin with. But now, based on the latest numbers from the Department of Labor, the feel-good claim has imploded.
The black unemployment rate in America jumped to 7.7 percent for the month of January, it was announced on Friday. After a year’s worth of steady decline, the recent spike has erased all of those gains, and the black unemployment rate now stands almost exactly where it was when Trump was inaugurated one year ago, when it was 7.8 percent.
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 2, 2018
The sudden surge represents a deep embarrassment for the White House, which spent the last month endlessly boasting about how the low the black unemployment rate was, when it fell to 6.8 percent in December. Indeed, that rate represented the lowest record black unemployment figure since the Department of Labor began tabulating the data back in 1972.
Trump even took to Twitter to taunt rap icon and businessman Jay-Z about how healthy black employment was. “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!” Trump wrote.
Trump bragged about the numbers again during his State of the Union address Tuesday, and his team has been attacking the Congressional Black Caucus ever since for not standing and applauding at the mention of it.
The boasting was misplaced, however, since the black unemployment rate, while low, was still nearly double that of white Americans, which does not represent cause for celebration. Additionally, the rate for black Americans had been steadily falling for years, dating back to 2010.
Nonetheless, the White House has not only bragged about the data, but has essentially used it as a shield to defend itself from charges of chronic racism, i.e., How can we be racists when so many black people have jobs?
That’s how Trump and his handlers try to explain way his racist attacks on black athletes and his references to African nations as “shithole” countries. They argue that Trump has delivered jobs, so that’s all that really matters.
Now the new labor data shows Trump has not delivered jobs for black workers and their rate of unemployment is the same as it was under Trump’s predecessor.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump’s only outreach to black voters was to ask, “What do you have to lose?” After 12 months in office, the answer is: a lot.