Democrat President Joe Biden appeared to give conflicting messages on Monday in remarks that he made about last week’s disastrous jobs report numbers, saying that there was no real evidence that people were not returning to work as a result of receiving generous government benefits while repeatedly stating that people needed to return to work if they were offered a job.
Biden began the press conference by making misleading claims about the growth of the economy under his administration. Biden’s remarks came after April’s jobs report showed that the economy missed expectations by more than 700,000 jobs, and the job numbers from March were significantly revised down.
“As we learned Friday, the economy created 266,000 jobs in April,” Biden said. “In fact, altogether, since the time we took office, we’ve created more than 1.5 million jobs in the country. It’s the most jobs created in the first 100 days of any president on record, more than three times the solid job creation President Carter saw in his first 100 days and more than six times what President Reagan saw. And the three months before I got here, our country was creating roughly 60,000 jobs a month.”
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler slammed Biden on Friday for similarly misleading claims when Biden tweeted out a graphic comparing the job growth during his first three months in office compared to the job growth during former President Donald Trump’s first three months in office.
“It’s totally ridiculous to pretend that jobs growth in the early months of a presidency has much to do with administration policies,” Kessler responded.
It's totally ridiculous to pretend that jobs growth in the early months of a presidency has much to do with administration policies.
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) May 7, 2021
During his remarks on Monday, Biden appeared to give conflicting remarks about what was really going on. He suggested that the receiving of generous government benefits was not the reason that people were refusing to return to work; he also repeatedly stated that people who are on government benefits must return to work if they are offered a job.
“We’re going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment, who is offered a suitable job, must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits,” Biden said. “There are a few COVID-19 related exceptions, so that people aren’t forced to choose between their basic safety and a paycheck, but otherwise, that’s the law. I know there’s been a lot of discussions since Friday’s report that people are being paid to stay home rather than go to work. Well, we don’t see much evidence of that.”
“We don’t see that [stammers] … look, it’s easy to say, the line has been, because of the generous unemployment benefits, that it’s a major factor in labor shortages. Americans want to work,” Biden claimed. “I think the people who claim Americans won’t work, even if they find a good and fair opportunity, underestimate the American people. So we’ll insist that the law is followed with respect to benefits. But we’re not going to turn our backs on our fellow Americans.”
Biden blamed the Trump administration for the 22 million people who lost their jobs during the pandemic, saying that the Trump administration “bungled its response to the crisis and failed to protect them.”
“Families, families who are just trying to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head, they aren’t the problem. We need to stay focused on the real problems in front of us, beating this pandemic and creating jobs,” Biden continued. “Again, the law is clear. If you’re receiving unemployment benefits and you’re offered a suitable job, you can’t refuse that job and just keep getting unemployment benefits.”
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