Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused U.S. President Donald Trump of failing to feel the economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, after data on Friday showed job growth slowing and a widening racial gap in unemployment rates.
The former vice president, pushing a campaign message that he is more in touch with working Americans than his rival in the Nov. 3 election, said the economic crisis has exacerbated divisions between the rich and the poor.
“The painful truth is, we just have a president who just doesn’t see it, he doesn’t feel it, he doesn’t understand, he just doesn’t care. He thinks if the stock market is up, then everything’s fine,” Biden said during a speech in his home base of Wilmington, Delaware.
As both campaigns kick into high gear for perhaps one of the most consequential presidential races in recent U.S. history, the Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls increased by 1.37 million jobs last month, fewer than in July.
Trump and his fellow Republicans highlighted the fall in the unemployment rate in August to 8.4% as a sign that the economy is improving after the shock from coronavirus lockdowns that have devastated small businesses from restaurants to gyms and hair salons.
Yet the president still looks set to head into the election with the economy crippled and serious questions hanging over his handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 186,000 people in the United States.
Biden, who held a seven-percentage-point lead over Trump nationally in the Reuters/Ipsos poll this week, called on the president to bring congressional leaders together to restart stalled negotiations for another coronavirus economic relief package.
“Bottom line: Mr. President, do your job. Get off your golf course and out of your sand bunker. Call your leaders together and sit in the Oval Office. Make a deal,” the Democrat said.
Another controversy around Trump broke on Thursday when the Atlantic magazine reported that the president had called fallen U.S. military personnel buried in Europe “losers” and declined to visit an American cemetery during a 2018 trip to France because he thought it unimportant. Trump vehemently denied the report.
Biden said that, if true, the comments were “a disgrace.”