Trump leaves ‘press conference’ without taking questions
Trump has just concluded his nearly hour-long “press conference” at the White House without taking any questions from the reporters there.
This is the second consecutive time that the president has called a “press conference” only to make a statement, which reporters argued defied the definition of a press conference.
Instead, the president spent the hour making celebratory and seemingly unscripted remarks about the jobs report and the George Floyd protests that have continued across the country.
As the president left the event, reporters shouted questions about Trump’s comment that this was a “great day” for Floyd, who died in police custody last week, but he ignored them.
Trump’s comment about Floyd sparks outrage
Trump’s comment moments ago about this being a “great day” for George Floyd is already sparking outrage among the president’s critics.
“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing happening for our country,’” Trump said of Floyd, who died in police custody last week. “A great day for him, a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody.”
The liberal organization CAP Action said the president’s comment was “despicable”:
Trump wrapped up his prepared remarks (which seemed largely improvised) and signed legislation related to the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.
Reporters shouted questions at him as he signed the bill, but the president only responded by continuing to brag about this morning’s jobs report.
One reporter asked how the economic growth could have helped George Floyd, after the president said this was a “great day” for Floyd, who died in police custody last week.
Another reporter, Yamiche Alcindor of PBS NewsHour, asked Trump to comment on how unemployment actually rose among African Americans and Asian Americans. Trump responded by dismissively waving his hand and telling Alcindor, “You are something.”
Trump just said hospitality and leisure gained 1.2m jobs last month – that’s true. Those jobs accounted for most of this months surprise gains,
But hospitality and leisure lost 8.4m jobs in the previous two months. While it’s true the reopening has brought people back to work, the unemployment rate at 13.3% is still at heights unseen since the worst days of the 1980s.
As Trump celebrates the country’s job gains and downplays the ongiong George Floyd protests, the street near the White House has been painted with the words “Black Lives Matter.”
DC mayor Muriel Bowser said she had signed off on painting the message near the White House to emphasize the street belonged to the city after Trump sent thousands of additional law enforcement officials to the nation’s capital in response to the protests.
Trump: ‘Hopefully George is looking down right now’
Trump is apparently using his press conference to declare both the coronavirus crisis and the George Floyd protests to be over.
“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing happening for our country,” Trump said of Floyd, who died in police custody last week. “A great day for him, a great day for everybody. This is great day for everybody.”
However, protests against police brutality are continuing across the country, and Democrats have called for a number of policy changes, including a national ban on chokeholds, that have not been enacted.
In terms of the coronavirus crisis, this morning’s jobs report showed unemployment had dropped to 13.3%, so the US economy still needs to recover much more before reaching pre-pandemic levels.
Trump appears to have abandoned his prepared remarks, assuming he had any to begin with. The president has celebrated the jobs report, while mocking his critics.
Trump described those who have criticized his response to the coronavirus pandemic as his “enemies,” and he characterized the policy goals of the Green New Deal as “baby talk.”
The president also enocuraged governors to allow him to send National Guard troops amid the George Floyd protests, saying he would send troops “so fast it’ll make their heads spin.”
Trump predicted this morning’s jobs report would be a sign of sustained economic growth, insisting unemployment would continue to fall.
“This is better than a V,” Trump said of the shape of the country’s recovery curve. “This is a rocket ship.”
The president also describe the drop in unemployment as “a tremendous tribute to equality,” even though black unemployment actually rose slightly last month while white unemployment fell.
Trump claimed the country was “largely through” the coronavirus pandemic as states start the process of reopening their economies.
However, public health experts have warned that the country could see a second wave of infections later this year, which could require another round of social distancing.
The president has consistently downplayed the possibility of a second wave.
Trump veers between coronavirus and protests
Trump has started his White House press conference, and the president opened the event by quickly veering from the jobs numbers to the George Floyd protests then back to the jobs numbers.
The president called this morning’s jobs report, which showed unemployment had dropped last month but remained high at 13.3%, an “affirmation of all the work we’ve been doing.
Trump then said that, before the coronavirus pandemic, the US had the “greatest economy in the history of the world,” although that oft-repeated claim is not accurate.
The president called on states that have been more slowly reopening to ramp up that process, saying the states that reopened quickly have been “doing tremendous business.”
However, the president unexpectedly shifted from the jobs numbers to the protests, bragging about the progress seen in Minneapolis this week after demonstrations last week turned violent.
Bowser requests additional law enforcement be removed from DC
Trump’s press conference is running behind schedule, but the president may be asked about the DC mayor’s request this morning to remove all additional federal law enforcement officers from the city.
In a letter to the president, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was ending the city’s state of emergency in connection to the George Floyd protests, noting the demonstrations have been peaceful in recent days and no arrests were made yesterday.
Bowser insisted the city is “well equipped to handle large demonstrations,” and she said having additional federal law enforcement officers in Washington (some of whom have not worn identifying insignia in the past few days) would only intensify tensions.
Despite the mayor’s request, Trump may not easily agree to the removal of the forces from DC, considering governors across the country have not agreed with his suggestion to send active-duty troops to states that have seen George Floyd protests.
This is Joan Greve, taking over for Joanna Walters.
Trump is expected to hold a press conference at any moment, where he will likely tout the unexpected drop in the unemployment rate that was announced this morning.
However, many reporters’ questions will almost certainly focus on the George Floyd protests that have played out across the country in recent days and the president’s less-than-flattering words about the demonstrators.
Stocks surging as Trump prepares to brief press
Markets are taking off after the latest US jobs figures were upbeat, the opposite of what was expected from the figures for the last month.
Donald Trump will take to a podium at the White House in a few minutes after rejoicing via Twitter. His briefing is due at 10am ET. He’s been running incredibly late for briefings recently, so stay tuned.
It’s a piece of good news for the president, who has been battered in the polls of late over his response to the major crises rocking the country.
Nationwide protests continue, demanding and end to systemic racism in society, but specifically in policing, after the death of George Floyd.
The latest debate on reforms needed is only just getting started.
And the coronavirus pandemic, which cratered the economy, is far from under control. Experts worry that protesters, who are often not social distancing or wearing masks properly, are at fresh risk of catching Covid, which has already disproportionately battered communities of color across the US.
Ailing congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis has spoken out all week, however, to say he is optimistic that this really could be a turning point towards greater fairness in US policing.
Black Lives Matter painted on DC street
“Black Lives Matter” is currently being painted in huge lettering on one of the roads very near the White House.
Apparently with the nod from the Washington authorities.
Worldwide actions in solidarity with US protests over George Floyd
Police in Paris have banned an anti-racism demonstration in front of the US Embassy in the French capital tomorrow, citing the risk of social disorder and health dangers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But protests in solidarity with the strong wave of action across the US amid anger and grief at the killing of yet another black man by police are scheduled to take place this weekend in Britain, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, Brazil, South Korea, Australia and more.
Demonstrations have taken place this past week in those countries and Mexico, Liberia, Canada, Italy, Norway, Greece and many other places.
The protests in US cities large and small, coast to coast and north to south, have been massive and mostly peaceful, despite bouts of violent unrest and some aggressive policing tactics – and would have been, or would be, much, much larger if people were not still bound by caution over catching Covid-19.
Trump to hold press conference after jobs numbers better than expected
The dire numbers expected in the latest jobs report this morning did not happen – at all.
Covid-19’s devastating assault on the US economy waned in May as the unemployment rate dipped to 13.3% and the US added another 2.5m jobs.
The latest tally follows the loss of 20m jobs in April when unemployment hit 14.7%. In February the unemployment rate was just 3.5%. A decade’s worth of gains made in the labor market since the last recession have been erased in just three months.
All 50 states have now begun easing quarantine restrictions and the pace of this unprecedented hollowing has now slowed as some have returned to work but uncertainties remain, my business colleague Dominic Rushe reports.
The president has taken to Twitter and in about an hour will take to a podium at the White House.