Faced with the impossible task of defending President Donald Trump from the latest firestorm over his racist comments, Sarah Sanders decided to argue instead that people were missing the big picture. According to her, Trump’s policies have been better for African-Americans than they were under the first African-American president.
“This president since he took office, in the year and a half that he’s been here has created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans. That’s 700,000 African-Americans that are working now that weren’t working when this president took place,” she said to reporters. “When President Obama left, after eight years in office, he had only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans.”
Only one problem: this is a lie.
According to Bloomberg’s analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “While the U.S. economy has added about 700,000 jobs held by black workers since Trump took office, it added about 3 million while Obama was in office.”
Indeed, this claim was so false that Sanders was forced to issue a correction:
Correction from today’s briefing: Jobs numbers for Pres Trump and Pres Obama were correct, but the time frame for Pres Obama wasn’t. I’m sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump https://t.co/EXGvbliwlS
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) August 15, 2018
Job growth for everyone, including African-Americans, has been somewhat faster in the first two years of Trump’s presidency than the first two years of Obama’s, but that is because Obama spent his early presidency digging the U.S. economy out of a severe recession. The economy he presided over is the same one that has allowed Trump to enjoy steady job growth.
Not only has Trump done little to effect positive job growth for African-American workers personally, but many of his policies are hurting the economy as a whole, from job-killing tariffs to a tax scam for billionaires that is causing stock buybacks to explode while wages stagnate. In many cases, his policies actively stand to threaten black workers’ long-term access to high-wage jobs, including harsh actions against labor unions and attempts to deregulate race in college admissions.