Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel faced significant criticism on social media after she posted misleading unemployment statistics as part of a "10-year challenge" disparaging Barack Obama while praising President Donald Trump.
Under Trump, "our economy is finally working for ALL Americans," McDaniel wrote.
Under @realDonaldTrump, our economy is finally working for ALL Americans. Here's a 10-year challenge you haven't… https://t.co/wwuBKsgCus— Ronna McDaniel (@Ronna McDaniel)1548507781.0
The unemployment rate of 9.9 percent that McDaniel cites is misleading because that number reflects the unemployment rate at the start of Obama's term, during which he inherited a recession that began under former President George W. Bush.
McDaniel was almost immediately criticized.
@GOPChairwoman @realDonaldTrump So you are comparing someone who turned around our economy in 2009 to someone who i… https://t.co/Gy9xnu7nLa— Rage Donkey™️ (@Rage Donkey™️)1548545765.0
@GOPChairwoman @realDonaldTrump We haven’t seen this before because no one else was willing to make such a stupid argument.— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse)1548524036.0
@KevinMKruse @GOPChairwoman @realDonaldTrump Interesting the GOP chairwoman picked unemployment levels George W han… https://t.co/VN0QDinhMh— Joe Shands (@Joe Shands)1548524267.0
@GOPChairwoman @realDonaldTrump Does this idiotic person realize that as at January 26 2009, @BarackObama was in of… https://t.co/TyVtNqNOph— Andre Bernard (@Andre Bernard)1548523551.0
@GOPChairwoman @realDonaldTrump Hey @GOPChairwoman you do realize that Pres Obama inherited a recession from Bush?… https://t.co/sThtCRZe87— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@(((DeanObeidallah))))1548526850.0
McDaniel made headlines over the weekend after she came to the defense of the Trump administration at the same time as airline traffic threatened to grind to a halt as a result of a 35-day government shutdown and as the president's former associate Roger Stone was arrested in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference.
“This president and his administration continue to do incredible things for our country,” McDaniel said at the RNC's winter meeting. Although she did not acknowledge Stone by name, she did find time to refer to what she called “manufactured scandals and baseless allegations” against the president.
McDaniel also offered her audience a rather optimistic spin on the Republican Party's midterm election losses. Although the party lost 40 seats and control of the House of Representatives in November, she assured her listeners that the midterms were nonetheless a resounding success.
We minimized our losses in the House, in the face of a record 43 retirements,” she said, not mentioning that many of those same Republicans who retired did so because they feared they would not win elections in their districts due to Trump's unpopularity.
McDaniel's efforts to obfuscate the Obama administration's economic successes follows a long trail forged by the president himself.
Last year, for example, the president quoted Fox News contributor Peter Ferrara, who, in an appearance on “Fox and Friends”––the president’s show of choice––claimed that the nation’s economic recovery “got started on Election Day 2016.” Ferrara, an attorney and policy analyst, credited Trump’s “tax cuts and regulation cuts” for the healthy economy.
“The recovery got started on Election Day 2016. It took Trump’s Tax Cuts and Regulation Cuts to get the economy boo… https://t.co/xvIv1MDY0w— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1537356869.0
....it was impossible - and then already it’s over 4%, and I expect it’s going to grow faster and faster. We’re jus… https://t.co/NudY9GFy8e— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1537357237.0
This claim was quickly shown to be incorrect. Digital strategist John Aravosis pointed out that the economy actually grew faster under Trump’s predecessor.
In fact, economists agree Obama essentially handed Trump a thriving economy, a fact many won’t let Trump––who has often taken credit for Obama’s successess––forget.
Similarly, in August 2018, in a tweet touting U.S. job growth under Trump, the White House accidentally put the strength of the economy into its proper context by amplifying a graph showing 94 months of consecutive job growth, going back to 2011.
When Obama was president.
Since President @realDonaldTrump was elected, there's been outstanding job growth in construction, manufacturing, m… https://t.co/G4BM1eZUFB— The White House (@The White House)1533665342.0
Given what we know about when Obama was president and when Trump entered office, it stands to reason that the current rate of U.S. job growth does not indicate, as the White House suggests, “that the American labor market is thriving under the Trump Administration’s pro-growth policies.”
Although Trump has often claimed that the economy has “never been better,” economists have warned that U.S. job growth is largely the result of government borrowing, and there will be more borrowing as the federal deficit rises because of the president’s tax cuts. This progress, unfortunately, is unlikely to be sustainable after a few quarters. And although the United States is on track to add 2.6 million jobs this year, an Associated Press investigation found that the boom favors Democratic strongholds, not areas which Trump won in 2016.