President Donald Trump said a government report Friday showing massive U.S. job losses from the coronavirus outbreak isn’t a surprise and that he shouldn’t be blamed for it.
“It’s fully expected. There’s no surprise,” he said on “Fox & Friends,” where he was being interviewed as the report was released. “Somebody said, ‘Oh, look at this.’ Well, even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that, but what I can do is I’ll bring it back.”
The Labor Department announced Friday that the U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April, as the nation enacted social-distancing practices that collapsed the economy.
The unemployment rate tripled to 14.7 per cent. Trump expressed confidence that employment numbers could snap back quickly, given the nature of the shutdown.
“We artificially closed it. Those jobs will all be back, and they’ll be back very soon and next year we’re going to have a phenomenal year. People are ready to go. We’ve got to get it open, safely. People are ready to go,” he said.
Trump has been criticized for responding slowly to the virus. Federal mitigation measures only ramped up in mid-March in the U.S., which now has the world’s highest confirmed case total and death toll.
Without mitigation measures that impacted the economy, such as closing businesses and schools and ordering people to stay at home, two million people or more would have died from the virus spread, Trump said.
“We were blowing away everybody. We were the envy of the world and then they came in and they explained it and they said, ‘Sir, you have to turn it off,’” Trump said Friday. “Nobody ever heard of a thing like this, but they were right.”