The August jobs report was released last week, and according to the White House, it shows that the unemployment rate for African Americans has hit another record low. What’s more, the gap between white and black unemployment is the smallest ever recorded.
With this in mind, it stands to reason that some black voters may see voting for President Donald Trump as a way to defend their interests. But according to CNN’s Don Lemon, African Americans shouldn’t prioritize the economy over Trump’s allegedly “racist behavior.”
Playing the race card
According to the Daily Wire, Lemon addressed the jobs report on CNN on Friday. But while Lemon admitted that the low unemployment rate among African Americans is “good news,” he suggested that former President Barack Obama deserves more credit than Trump for the record low.
“It is a good trend. But it didn’t start under this president and the numbers actually declined much stronger under the former president,” Lemon said.
He went on to ask his guests how black voters should “weigh these low employment numbers against the president’s racist behavior” — including, Lemon said, Trump’s response to a violent rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017. (This, despite the fact that at a press conference following the event, the president explicitly denounced neo-Nazis and white nationalists, saying: “They should be condemned totally.”)
Lemon also condemned Trump’s characterization of Baltimore as “rodent-infested.” Of course, pest control company Orkin has ranked Baltimore as having one of the nation’s worst rat problems, according to The National Interest — but Lemon didn’t mention that.
“I think we have the numbers and then we have the message,” political strategist Joseph Pinion, who appeared on Lemon’s show, opined. “The numbers, to your point, are encouraging…we need more of that, but I think the message is something that does not resonate with black communities and brown communities, simply because of the rhetoric that has come out of the White House.”
A booming economy
Lemon’s other guest, Keith Boykin, also attributed the jobs situation to “policies started long ago in the Obama administration,” claiming that “no one who talks about this in the Republican Party can cite a single policy contributed by Donald Trump that is responsible for the drop in black unemployment.”
But if that’s the case, then they must not have spoken to America’s first black billionaire. BET co-founder Robert Johnson told CNBC in July that he gives Trump “a lot of credit” for the booming economy.
“I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans,” Johnson said. “I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think businesspeople have more confidence in the way the economy is going.”
Looking forward, the billionaire said Democrats need to step it up if they want to win over black voters in 2020.
“At the end of the day, the American people are looking for someone who can deliver economically and deliver on opportunities,” he said. And President Trump certainly fits that bill.