Biden urges allies to pounce on Trump’s ‘bungled’ economy

Jennifer Epstein

Joe Biden’s campaign says President Donald Trump’s effort to campaign on an improving economy is a “desperate scheme” that ignores how his handling of the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the economic downturn, according to a memo sent Friday to surrogates.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s team argues that Trump “bungled” the crisis and that there are “two major flaws” in his efforts to spin current economic conditions: Trump’s “failed leadership” and his lack of a plan beyond urging businesses to reopen.

All this amounts to “significant headwinds” for Trump heading into November’s election, deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield and senior adviser Anita Dunn write in the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable on economic reopening with community members, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Philadelphia.

Democrats, including Biden, argue that while the unemployment rate fell from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May, the economy is in a recession exacerbated by what they see as Trump’s slow and insufficient response to the coronavirus. The jobless rate is still higher than it’s been at any time since the Great Depression and the unemployment rates for blacks and Latinos is higher than for that of whites.

In the coming days, Biden is preparing to “release a bold plan to create millions of jobs, ensure jobs pay a good wage and benefits, and address historic inequities,” according to the memo, while “Trump has no plan to create new jobs or good-paying jobs, other than to propose more corporate tax cuts.”

The memo also says that Trump lacks a plan to reopen the economy “other than to hang an open’ sign and hope for the best” while Biden on Thursday unveiled a plan to do so while keeping workers safe and restoring consumer confidence.

The Biden campaign says history is not on Trump’s side, since no party has held the White House since World War II while the unemployment rate was more than 8%. Even when the economy had been improving after a downturn, the modern presidents who saw job losses on their watch – Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992 – have lost their bids for a second term, the memo notes.

The Trump campaign rejected the Biden team’s characterization.

“It’s comical that Vice President Biden thinks his far-left agenda will help the economy especially given that he and President Obama oversaw the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression,” Trump campaign spokesman Ken Farnaso said in a statement. “President Trump has ushered in an economic renaissance that has seen manufacturing return to the United States, has promoted policies like Opportunity Zones that have lifted millions of people out of poverty, and saw the lowest rate of unemployment for nearly every group of Americans.”