Perez, Sperling, MN Worker: Trump’s Mismanagement of Coronavirus Continues to ‘Wreak Havoc’ on the Economy

Today, DNC Chair Tom Perez; Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council; and Michael Browne, a worker in Minnesota who was laid off due to the pandemic, discussed the July jobs report, Trump’s mismanagement of COVID-19, and the sharpest economic decline since the Great Depression.

DNC Chair Tom Perez:

“Donald Trump’s mismanagement of this crisis continues to wreak havoc on our economy and devastate millions of families. We all want to see Americans get back to work as soon as possible and in great numbers. Yet the pace of job growth slowed considerably in July. 4.8 million in June, to 1.8 million jobs in July… For an unprecedented 20th consecutive week, more than a million Americans have filed first-time claims for unemployment. During the depths of the Great Recession … we never had one week, let alone 20 weeks of one million first-time claims for unemployment during the depths of the Great Recession. This is a catastrophic problem.”

“What is so frustrating about this is that it didn’t have to be this bad… And the problem that we have here, and the reason we still have double digit unemployment and catastrophic job loss, is this president simply doesn’t have a plan. And we will not solve this economic problem until the president solves the pandemic problem. But he has simply thrown up his hand, and given up.”

Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council:

“So many other major countries who have gone through this have been able to do it without coming near the extraordinary unemployment numbers we have. Most recently, South Korea is at 4.3 percent unemployment. The last from Japan, 2.9 percent. The last from Germany, 6.2 percent. Latest from Australia, 7.4 percent. The point is that countries where their leadership took on the coronavirus with a serious public health response have taken some hits, but not nearly the level, the depth and level, that we have in the United States. The singular reason why we are talking every month about double-digit unemployment … the reason we are talking about still being 13 million jobs below where we started, has been the failure and almost unique incompetence of leadership of President Trump in dealing with this crisis.”

Michael Browne, a worker in Minnesota who was laid off due to the pandemic:

“I have a three-year-old and my wife is pregnant with twins, so not only at the time we lost our job we also lost our health care. … Since then we’ve kind of been draining our personal savings and our retirement. There’s been massive anxiety planning for a twin birth, amid the pandemic.”

“The biggest tragedy to me is that we all saw this coming, and it all could have been prevented. Today we’re left with a shortage of masks, hand sanitizer, PPE, and it takes a week to get an unreliable test result back. And I’m just left scratching my head saying, ‘Is this what America being great really looks like?’ This failed economic response has cost us, the American people, $2 trillion we’ve spent in just four months. And I have to ask, what do we have to show for it? But we have one preventable American death every 80 seconds. And that’s absolutely unacceptable to me. I thought we elected a businessman or that’s the line being given, and given the last four months, what CEO wouldn’t be fired given these circumstances? It’s just clear that Trump has a complete and total lack of empathy for what people are going through. And that’s all summed up by his reaction to being presented with basic facts around the tragedy: ‘It is what it is.’”