"Real Time" host Bill Maher was placed in a strange position on Friday night's show. The liberal comedian found himself acknowledging President Trump's positive effect on the U.S. economy during a heated conversation with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a 2020 presidential candidate.
Ryan began by dismissing what he described as recent "happy talk" about the stock market and low unemployment.
"Most people are still struggling to make ends meet," the congressman said, adding that he was trying to figure how to get the economy "working for working-class people."
Maher challenged Ryan, accusing the congressman of speaking in predictable terms for a candidate hoping to oust an incumbent.
But Ryan stood his ground. "I know where the economy is going," he told Maher.
"Where?" the host asked.
"Right now, nowhere," Ryan answered.
The liberal comedian then, intentionally or not, went to bat for Trump.
"C'mon, the economy's not horrible," Maher told Ryan. "Four-point-four percent is the unemployment rate in Ohio. It's kinda hard to run against the economy in Ohio, isn't it?"
"C'mon, the economy's not horrible. Four-point-four percent is the unemployment rate in Ohio. It's kinda hard to run against the economy in Ohio, isn't it?"
"No," Ryan responded, "because the average wage has only gone up 20 bucks a week."
"Originally, it went up big," Maher said. "Wages did finally rise. We have to ... "
"After how many years? After how many decades?" Ryan interrupted.
"All right, but Trump has been president for two years. We can't ignore that fact," Maher shot back. "Finally, wages went up. He's the guy in the Oval Office. He's gonna run on that."
"Finally, wages went up. He's the guy in the Oval Office. He's gonna run on that."
Nevertheless, Ryan doubled down, listing various layoffs that have taken place in his state.
"This is the underlying issue in this country," he said.