Trump touts 'historic' June jobs report: 'Our economy is roaring back'

The unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent in June

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President Trump, during a pre-holiday press briefing at the White House, touted the June jobs report that indicated the economy is beginning to rebound from the depths of its crash during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our economy is roaring back," Trump declared Thursday, saying the response to the coronavirus pandemic, coordinated with governors, is "working out very well."

He added: "These are historic numbers."

"The United States economy added almost 5 million jobs in the month of June, shattering all expectations," Trump said. "The stock market is doing extremely well ... this is the largest monthly jobs gain in the history of our country."


Trump also took a swipe at presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, without naming him, warning that any effort to raise taxes would reverse economic gains.

"These are numbers that are not numbers other presidents would have," Trump said. "The only thing that can kill it is a bad president or a president that wants to raise taxes. You want to raise taxes, this whole thing, your 401Ks will drop down to nothing, and your stock market will drop down to nothing."

Trump did not take questions. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also spoke to the press, saying it is fortunate the country never reached 30 million people unemployed, which was projected by some.

Thursday's report showed the economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, reducing the unemployment rate to 11.1 percent. Economists expected the rate would be 12.3 percent with an increase of just 3 million jobs.

President Donald Trump speaks during a news briefing at the White House, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during a news briefing at the White House, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


The jobs numbers serve as a bit of positive news for the president, who is embroiled in several controversies at once. They range from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic to his support of keeping the names of Confederate generals on military bases.

The president is also under fire from members of both parties in Congress after reports that he knew of about intelligence of Russia paying bounties to Afghan militants to kill American soldiers. Trump and the White House have denied that he was ever briefed on that issue.

Trump on Thursday also blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic.

"They could have stopped it," he said. "They know it and I know it."

Trump added that the increases in cases -- "hotspots" -- in some cities, would be "temporary." Trump claimed that without the measures taken by governors and his administration, "millions" of lives would have been lost to the virus.

"State officials will decide" on reopening their economies, Trump said, but the federal government might step in if it sees something "egregious."


He also said that his administration was working with Congress on a "phase four" coronavirus relief bill, which he alluded might include payroll tax cuts.

The comments came as the Biden campaign was opening up a new avenue of attack on Trump over the European Union's decision to prevent Americans from traveling to the continent over coronavirus concerns.

"Because Trump can’t do the most basic parts of his job, the United States is now viewed as posing a global health risk," Biden told the Washington Post. "Today, America is first in infections, first in deaths, and the EU has decided to bar Americans from traveling there as Europe reopens."

The unemployment rate, which is still astronomically high at 11.1 percent, is significantly lower than what some economists were predicting it could be just months ago -- some projections said it could approach 20 percent due to persistent state shutdowns.

Those shutdowns, with Trump's backing, have been partially lifted in many cases. But as coronavirus cases surge to some of the highest daily numbers yet, some states are re-imposing the shutdowns, which could put the economy in jeopardy going forward.

The nation has now recovered roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic recession. The re-closings are keeping layoffs elevated, however.

But some on the left are warning that the economy is not yet fixed.

"The real economic story: reopening brought a substantial bounce in jobs, but also a surge in Covid-19 cases, which already appears to have stalled recovery. This is probably about as good as it gets. And we still have double-digit unemployment," New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said Thursday.

He added: "By the time reality sets in in the form of health care crisis and sagging economic numbers, it will be too late to avoid both a huge death toll and a long period of stagnation or worse. If Trump loses — likely but not certain — Biden will face one hell of a mess."


Trump's son, Eric Trump, hailed the jobs numbers Thursday.

"JUNE JOB NUMBERS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS BY 1.6 MILLION JOBS!!! 4.8 MILLION vs. 3.2 MILLION EXPECTED Unemployment rate falls to 11.1% (from 13.3%)", he tweeted.

"A lot of people would have wilted," President Trump said at the closing of his remarks. "We didn't wilt, and our country didn't wilt."

Fox Business' Megan Henney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.