Trump's campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley claimed on Wednesday that Americans were better off than they were three years ago. The Fox & Friends co-host interviewing him disputed that claim.
Gidley said in the interview that Trump plans to use an outdoor campaign rally in New Hampshire on Saturday to boast about his accomplishments.
"It answers the age-old question: Are you better off now than you were before?" he said to Fox News. "And the answer, undoubtedly, is yes."
Host Brian Kilmeade questioned this assertion, noting, "With the pandemic, now you know that the growth is not there. You know the unemployment is still 11 percent. So you can't really say 'you're better off than you were three years ago,' because — at the very least — the pandemic. So you can't really say that, right?"
"No, absolutely. Of course you can say that!" Gidley answered.
Gidley, Trump's longtime deputy White House press secretary before he was named campaign press secretary last month, then changed the subject, saying the coronavirus pandemic "hit all of us, not just in this country, but across the world."
He repeated a false claim that Joe Biden had called Trump's January partial China travel ban "racist" and "xenophobic." That frequent Trump campaign attack has been debunked by independent fact-checkers and even by Donald Trump himself.
Next, Gidley repeated another false Trump claim: that his handling of the coronavirus crisis has "saved almost two million lives in this country."
Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, the lead author on a widely reported virus modeling study that suggested the United States could see up to 2.2 million deaths if it didn't implement safety measures, debunked that argument, telling HuffPost, "The final death toll from this pandemic will depend as much on what policymakers in different U.S. states do in the next few months as what they did since March."
Finally, Gidley bragged of record-setting job growth in May and June, ignoring the fact that this was mostly driven by a fraction of the 20 million-plus people who lost their jobs in April returning to work as the economy partially reopened.
"This president built this economy once. He will rebuild it again," Gidley concluded. He promised that, under Trump, the country would get back to "being how great he made it the first time."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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