President Donald Trump tweeted pointed barbs at former former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on Sunday. In the case of the latter, Trump proclaimed “Happy Anniversary!” and added of a video clip of her now infamous 2016 campaign speech in which she characterized his followers as “racists” and a “basket of deplorables.”
As for Obama, President Trump quoted former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of California, who said of the two: “‘Barack Obama talked a lot about hope, but Donald Trump delivered the American Dream. Barack Obama talked a lot about hope, but Donald Trump delivered the American Dream. All the economic indicators, what’s happening overseas, Donald Trump has proven to be far more successful than Barack Obama. President Trump is delivering the American Dream.’”
The tweets came just Trump told a campaign rally in Montana that the current midterm election is about "safety and jobs," while saying that the nation’s economy is "booming like never before." And on Friday, the federal government reported that the unemployment rate for African Americans at 6.3 percent is the second lowest on record (it was 5.9 percent in May). Meanwhile, job-growth remains strong. Among Latinos, unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a point from the record low of 4.5 percent in July.
Overall, the unemployment rate remained at a low 3.9 percent. Also, 201,000 new jobs were added, thus exceeding expectations. After revisions, job growth averaged 185,000 for each of the last three months. After three straight record months, the number of working Americans dropped by 423,000 in August, to 155,542,000 from last month's all-time high of 155,965,000. This number has set 11 records since Donald Trump took office.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also noted that the percentage of Americans not participating in the labor force (neither having a job or looking for one) increased to a record 96,290,000 in August. The 161,776,000 persons in the labor force was 62.7 percent of the 258,066,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population, slightly below last month's 62.9 percent participation rate. The institutionalized population includes student and members of the military. The nation’s participation rate remains low because a growing number of people (baby boomers) leave the labor force.
Showing little or no change in August were unemployment rates were for the following groups: adult men (3.5 percent); adult women (3.6 percent); teenagers (12.8 percent); Whites (3.4 percent); and Asians (3.0 percent): showed little or no change in August. In August, average hourly earnings for all persons employee on nonfarm private payrolls rose by 10 cents to $27.16. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 77 cents, or 2.9 percent.
Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday accused Obama of breaking with presidential tradition in critizing Trump.
On Friday, Obama spoke at the University of Illinois in what is believed to be a first public rebuke of President Trump. Obama alluded to the anonymous op-ed that appeared in The New York Times last week that suggested that there is a cadre of senior officials in the federal government who are bent on resisting Trump’s policies:
“Even if you don't agree with me or Democrats on policy … I'm here to tell you that you should still be concerned with our current course and should still want to see a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness in our government.”
Highlighting what he believes are Trump’s threats to order, Obama said:
“It should not be Democratic or Republican—it should not be a partisan issue—to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the criminal-justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents, or to explicitly call on the attorney general to protect members of our own party from prosecution because an election happens to be coming up. I'm not making that up; that's not hypothetical. It shouldn't be Democratic or Republican to say that we don't threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don't like. I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people. It shouldn't be Democratic or Republican to say we don't target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray. We are Americans. We are supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them. We are supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we sure as heck [are] supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”
In response, Vice President Mike Pence said on “Fox News Sunday:”
“It was very disappointing to see President Obama break with the tradition of former presidents and become so political and roll out the same tired arguments that he and liberals have made over the last eight years.”
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.