White House says Louisiana doing great under Democratic governor, despite Trump claims


Economic conditions in the state have improved under Gov. John Bel Edwards, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Donald Trump joined Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone on Wednesday night for a rally in Monroe, Louisiana, criticizing the state's economy under Rispone's "radical, liberal Democrat" opponent, incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Rispone and Edwards will face each other in next Saturday's gubernatorial run-off election.

"John Bel Edwards has not done a good job. You’re going to have great new Republican, a tremendously successful man, Eddie Rispone," Trump told the crowd.

He continued, "Louisiana is 50th out of 50 in economic growth... This is Louisiana, right? How did you get this guy?"

Just hours earlier, the Trump administration itself had contradicted that claim and the main GOP argument for electing Rispone, that Edwards had failed the state economically.

As The Independent noted on Thursday, a May report from Trump's own Bureau of Economic Analysis actually ranked the state 39th in real GDP growth in the last quarter of 2018, not 50th. Another survey in July ranked the state second in the South for per capita economic development.

Those improving economic conditions were highlighted by the White House only hours before the Louisiana rally.

"The Pelican State is booming, boasting its lowest unemployment rate since 2008, bringing back 5,000+ manufacturing jobs, and becoming one of our Nation’s leading states in natural gas exports," it declared in a tweet.

The White House also noted that since January 2017, the state had added over 21,000 jobs, with an "unemployment rate down from 6 to 4.35," "wages up for blue collar workers," and a "booming" energy sector.

Trump's White House press secretary also praised Louisiana's economy for its lowest-in-a-decade unemployment rate and its rising hourly earnings for "blue collar" workers, though she credited Trump for the gains.

Edwards' campaign quickly seized on the White House's praise. "In the words of President Trump's Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, Louisiana is 'winning' under Gov. Edwards," the campaign wrote in a blog post. "That’s why he’ll be re-elected on November 16th."

Recent polling shows the race is close, with Edwards leading narrowly. After Republican losses on Tuesday in Virginia and Kentucky, Trump reportedly plans to make another visit and to record get-out-the-vote messages for Rispone in hopes of avoiding another defeat.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.