Donald Trump oversaw the worst economic quarter in recorded U.S. history, with the economy shrinking by 33 percent from April through June.
This marks the second quarter in a row Trump has presided over a steep quarterly drop in the nation's gross domestic product, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, following a five percent drop from January through March.
Since the federal government began recording quarterly GDP in 1947, the previous worst quarter was a ten percent contraction in 1958.
In 2016, Trump campaigned on growing the economy by up to six percent per year, but has repeatedly failed to fulfill that promise. The most the economy has grown was 3.2 percent in 2018 and GDP growth fell below 2.5 percent in both 2017 and 2019.
The shrinking GDP coincides with a massive increase in unemployment throughout the nation. As of late July, 30 million Americans — or roughly 1 in 5 American workers — were collecting unemployment insurance, according to the New York Times.
The economic downturn began as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses across the country to shut their doors starting in mid-March. Trump's handling of the crisis has been widely criticized because he frequently lies, spreads misinformation about potential cures, and regularly undermines his own administration's health experts.
Republican delays of another coronavirus relief package could be making the economic situation worse.
"A couple of weeks ago there was a lot more optimism that we would see a strong V-shaped recovery," Edward Moya, an analyst at OANDA, a currency trading firm, told Politico. However, "every day we don't have a new stimulus agreement in place is hurting the economy."
The House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill in mid-May, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring it up for a vote, claiming there was no "urgency" to act.
Months later, McConnell introduced a Republican relief bill that was immediately criticized by his fellow Republicans. A $600 boost to unemployment expires at the end of July, but McConnell stated that the Senate will not pass any legislation until mid-August.
"Hopefully in the next two to three weeks we'll be able to come together and pass something that we can send over to the House and down to the President for signature," McConnell said on Friday.
Trump ignored the bad economic news on Thursday and instead tweeted lies about voting by mail and suggested delaying the November election.
"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history," Trump tweeted. "It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
As the economy worsens, Americans have soured on Trump's ability to handle it.
A Gallup poll released in June showed just 47 percent of Americans approved of how Trump handles the economy, down from 63 percent in January.
"With the U.S. economy formally slipping into a recession in February, Trump's reelection now appears in jeopardy," Gallup reported on June 29.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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