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by Sharon Rondeau

Screenshot: WGN News

(Jun. 5, 2020) — On the news of lower unemployment and an increase of 2.5 million working Americans, President Trump held an hour-long press conference late Friday morning touching on a wide range of issues and ideas.

The reversal in rising unemployment marked a change in the economic downturn resulting from the shuttering of most economic sectors in an attempt to contain the coronavirus, first identified in Washington State in late January and quickly affecting all 50 states and U.S. territories.

“Our body was so powerful that we could actually close our country, save millions of lives, stop people very early on from China from coming in, because we stopped early…we did a lot of things…this is outstanding what happened today,” Trump said of the progression from the identification of the disease to his making the decision to halt flights from China to the process of reopening the country for business, capped by today’s employment report.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its report for the month of May conveying that “Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2.5 million in May, and the unemployment rate declined to 13.3 percent.”

Trump characterized the number of jobs gained as “almost 3 million.”  Predictions were, and Trump noted, that the U.S. would lose another 9 million jobs in May and reach an unemployment rate “near 20%.”  Instead it went from 14.7% to 13.3%, Yahoo! News reported.

“We had the greatest economy in the world.  We went in for an operation; we closed our country down…” Trump recalled of the early days of the pandemic and his decision to declare a national emergency.  He said had he not taken action, more than 2 million Americans would likely have died.

The U.S. death toll attributed to the coronavirus, or COVID-19, stands at approximately 105,000, Trump acknowledged.

As he spoke, the stock market rose to over 27,000, gaining back most of its significant losses since late February.

Trump recounted that according to Chinese authorities, the coronavirus did not spread beyond Wuhan Province within China, where it began, yet it spread to Europe and a total of 186 countries to date.  “Somebody has to ask these questions,” Trump said.  Ruminating over the evolving U.S.-China relationship, Trump said “the ink wasn’t dry” on the trade agreement he negotiated with China when the virus arrived in the U.S. due to China’s failure to notify world health authorities and contain the disease.

“I will say they are buying a lot from us, and in that way I respect, and getting along with China would be a good thing; I’ll let you know…,” he said of the relationship going forward.  In the recent past, Trump made it clear that his view of the communist country is different than before “the plague” arrived in the United States.

He emphasized that because of the strong pre-pandemic economy, “we were able to cut it off, stop it, just like this” (motioning with his hand)…”and we saved millions of lives, and now we’re opening, and we’re opening with a bang…”

He said he doesn’t “like the ‘D’ word,” referring to an economic depression.  He noted “tremendous progress” since the U.S. pandemic began and that Americans returning to work “has been a beautiful thing to see.”

Trump added, however, that the U.S. “has never lost 105,000 people.  The whole world is suffering greatly; 186 countries at this moment…but we’re a positive force, the key to the world, in a sense…What happened should have never happened.”

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