Georgia senator: Vote GOP because economy used to be good before it tanked

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David Perdue is falsely claiming Trump's economy was the best in history before COVID. But Trump is still in charge of the economy right now.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) urged voters to back him in Tuesday's election because the economy was the greatest ever — before COVID-19. But even before the pandemic, it was not that great.

"Before #COVID19, we created the greatest economic turnaround in U.S. history," Perdue tweeted on Monday. He then listed claims that it had brought "7.5 million new jobs," "Highest middle-class income," "Lowest African American, Asian, Hispanic unemployment," and "6.6 million lifted out of poverty."

Perdue's claim conveniently ignores the massive recession that began in February and has cost millions of Americans their jobs. As of September, the unemployment rate was 7.9% — well higher than when Donald Trump took office in January 2017. In Georgia, the September unemployment rate was 6.4%.

But even omitting Trump's recession, Perdue is wrong about the economic numbers being any kind of Trump turnaround.

A long period of economic expansion and job growth began in the Obama years, before Perdue was even elected to the Senate in November 2014. Over the final three years of Barack Obama's administration, America saw growth of more than 8 million jobs.

Growth continued for the first three years of the Trump administration, but at a slower pace. No year of Trump's administration saw job numbers as good as any of the last three Obama years and Trump saw only about 6.2 million new jobs, pre-coronavirus.

This year, all of that job growth and more has been wiped out. Even with some of the jobs coming back as the economy slowly reopens, Trump had presided over a net 3.9 million jobs decline over his entire presidency — the worst of any president since recordkeeping began under Harry Truman.

Perdue, like Trump, downplayed the crisis and defended the botched response.

In May, Perdue falsely claimed on a call with local businesses that the coronavirus was no deadlier than the flu.

"As the number of active cases decline, let's all recognize that this COVID-19 crisis is nowhere near what was being forecast back in March," he argued. "So we're about 80,000 deaths in the United States, and we don't want to lose anybody. But we've had ordinary flu seasons with more deaths than we're seeing now in this one. So we're now trying to get a balance between the human cost of the disease and human costs of having an economy like our shutdown."

Last month, Perdue claimed in a debate that he "absolutely" believes Trump did everything in his power to protect Georgians from the pandemic. He dismissed criticisms of his own comments as "idle chatter" from a "Monday morning quarterback."

Perdue is facing a tough fight for a second term against Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff. Election forecasters have labeled the race a "toss up" and most recent polls have shown the race to be very close.

After a video of Ossoff's attack on his record went viral last week, Perdue dropped out of their final scheduled debate, opting instead to go to a Trump campaign rally.

If no candidate receives an outright majority in Tuesday's election, the top two finishers will face off in a January runoff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.