More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past six weeks, as the economy craters during the coronavirus pandemic. But based on their campaign websites, Donald Trump and a number of his Republican allies are still running for election on pre-COVID-19 job numbers and Trump's 2017 tax cuts bill.
As of April 14, the website of Trump's 2020 reelection campaign contained a section bragging about the "lowest" unemployment in years and said Trump had "jump-started America's economy into record growth" and millions of new jobs. At that point, about 17 million Americans had filed new unemployment insurance claims, wiping out the 6.1 million new jobs Trump claimed to have created.
The Trump campaign had not updated its "Promises Kept" microsite to reflect the current situation as of Thursday morning despite multiple inquiries about the figures. Indeed, the most recent news update in the section was posted in late January, five days after Trump's claim that he was not concerned about the coronavirus because "we have it totally under control."
A review of other Republican campaign websites revealed similar outdated information about employment numbers. These are some of the House and Senate candidates still running on Trump's vanished job growth and on tax cuts for the wealthy.
As majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has moved every piece of Trump's economic legislation through the Senate. This includes the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which saved corporations and very wealthy Americans billions and raised taxes for over 10 million families.
As he runs for a seventh term in the Senate, McConnell has tied himself to Trump and that bill.
"McConnell steered a tax package which helped create an estimated 1.5 million new jobs across the country, along with higher wages, bigger bonuses, and 'the hottest job market in half a century,'" his campaign site claims. "McConnell's work on the successful Republican push to rewrite the tax code for the first time in more than 30 years continues to yield tremendous benefits for Kentucky families."
Since March 16, Kentucky has processed more than 550,000 unemployment claims.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is seeking a second term in November. She voted for the tax bill, calling it a "monumental moment for our country" that would mean "job creators of all sizes will be more competitive and can reinvest in their most important resource – their employees."
Her campaign site currently states, "By ensuring markets remain open to exports for Iowa goods and promoting innovation that makes Iowa more competitive in today's global marketplace, Iowa will continue its current upward economic and job growth trajectory."
Last week, 28,827 Iowa workers filed new unemployment claims, and 170,990 more claimed continuing unemployment benefits.
Appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat in January, Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) is running in November's election to hold on to the job. She has made her strong support of Trump a key argument for her candidacy, even though he reportedly did not want her appointed.
"Thanks to bold conservative leadership on the state and federal level, our unemployment rate in Georgia — and throughout the country — is at historic lows. Our economy is growing and American families are finally seeing growth in their 401ks," her website claims. "As a businesswoman and political outsider, Kelly is working in Washington to advance pro-growth policies that keep our state and country moving in the right direction. She is proud to champion President Trump's economic agenda to Keep America Great!"
About a million Georgia residents have filed for jobless benefits during the pandemic.
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) is seeking his party's nomination for an open Senate seat this year. He voted for Trump's tax bill, calling it a "historic solution that will provide relief for hard-working Kansans, families, and businesses."
"Our job as leaders is to make the complicated simple, not complicate the simple. The less control the federal government has, the better off we will be," he says on his campaign site. "By getting Washington out of the way, lowering taxes, and decreasing regulation we are seeing the new age of American greatness again."
More than 160,000 Kansans have filed for unemployment in recent weeks.
Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in the November election. He is running as "100% committed to supporting Donald Trump" and with Trump's endorsement.
"After eight long years of a declining economy, we are now seeing record job growth across the board and the lowest unemployment rates for Veterans and African-Americans in history," his campaign site notes.
"President Trump's tax cuts and economic policies have driven this success — and I will join in the fight and support our President as we continue to grow our economy," it says.
More than 400,000 unemployment claims have been filed in Alabama during the pandemic.
Rep. John Carter (R-TX) is running for reelection this November. He voted for Trump's tax bill, saying it brought "fiscally conservative Texas values to Washington, D.C.!"
"I am proud to have supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In just six months since it's passage, over 1 million jobs have been created, unemployment is at the lowest rate since 1969 and 90% of Americans are seeing more money in their pockets," his campaign site claims.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.5 million Texans have filed for unemployment benefits.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) is also running for reelection this November. He voted for Trump's tax bill, calling it "real reform that simplifies the tax code, reduces taxes for the vast majority of Americans, boosts the economy and could create as many as a million new jobs."
"After years of stagnant economic growth, Congress and the Trump Administration have pursued a pro-growth economic agenda – cutting regulations, reducing taxes, and letting American families keep more of their hard-earned money. As a result, our economy has come roaring back," his campaign site says.
It boasts, "Unemployment is the lowest it's been in nearly 20 years, and the GDP grew an impressive 4.1 percent during the second quarter of 2018."
More than 1 million Ohioans have filed unemployment claims in the past six weeks.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) is another Republican running for reelection this November. He backed Trump's tax law, saying that "it modernizes the business-side of the tax code to create more jobs, increase paychecks, and spur investment in the U.S."
"Fred championed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act that reformed our broken and outdated tax code," his campaign page notes. "The positive effects are being felt already, with more jobs, higher paychecks, and a stronger economy."
Michigan has seen more than 1.2 million new unemployment insurance filings in the past six weeks.
None of the campaigns listed responded to multiple inquiries about whether their positions have changed in light of the recent economic collapse.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.