The president feels that if Biden were in the Oval now, Democrats would be building statues for his handling of the economy.
In the past month, during which two U.S. jobs reports have shown signs of an economic rebound from the depths of coronavirus-related ruin, President Donald Trump has focused largely on what often matters most to him: not getting public credit.
Trumps gone so far as to suggest that Democrats would want to build statues honoring Biden, one of the sources said. Elsewhere, hes griped about how the phony polls conducted by independent organizations arent reflecting more voter enthusiasm about economic rejuvenation, another source recounted.
If our numbers are accurate, its hard to see how Trump can get re-elected with millions and millions of people unemployed, Moore said.
Reached for comment on this story, Trump campaign spokeswoman Samantha Zager said, In his second term President Trump will continue to deliver on those Promises Made, Promises Kept America First principles and that Joe Biden would be a disaster for our economy and would put Americas interests second.
But the unease among various Trump lieutenants seemed to be reflected in the reactions of Republicans to Thursdays job numbers. Several GOP senators found the report encouraging, but were reluctant to declare victory with the pomp the White House had used. To the extent they thought Trump deserved credit for any improvement, it was for his handling of the economy before the coronavirus hit which they argued put it on a stronger footing to withstand the downturn.
It's always very hard to take something as complex as growth in jobs and decide what percentage of that can be attributed to the President, said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who has been a vocal advocate of reopening measures. I think the fact that we had an extremely strong economy going into this crisis has been enormously helpful, he added.
Asked about the degree of credit Trump should take, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told ishonest it's a collaborative effort between the federal government and the states.
And Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who called the numbers excellent, also suggested the economic threat was far from over. The coronavirus is an outlier, said Braun, but we obviously need to live with it, do the things that are important, because its going to be a while until we get it in the rearview mirror.
Democrats, for their part, sounded dour notes amid the green shoots of optimism that the jobs numbers provided. Privately, lawmakers have conceded that they will have to make some concessions off of their own ambitious Phase 4 proposal, the Heroes Act, including a reduction in the size of the added unemployment benefits and more targeted tax credits for hard-hit industries or those with the potential to ramp up hiring.
But Democratic aides also said that they have felt more emboldened in their negotiating position over the last several weeks as the spread of the coronavirus has worsened and states have been forced to pause re-openings or even draw them back. And there were certain linesfinancial aid to states and help to frontline workers, chief among themthat they viewed as non negotiable. And others, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnells (R-KY) insistence that any new law include shield businesses from COVID-related liability, that they viewed as clear poison pills
The bigger question was just when will negotiations actually start, and between whom? Leadership aides said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has not yet had conversations with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchinher traditional negotiating partnerabout a Phase 4 bill (Mnuchin said on Thursday that he was having conversations with certain members of both parties.)
There is zero expectation that the president himself will get involved in the talks. The number two Senate Republican, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said that he believed Mnuchin and Kudlow would be the White Houses point men, as they have been in the past. Asked what his sense was of the presidents general priorities on the package, Thune replied, Youve heard him talk, I think, about direct payments thats something he's talked about and some of our members are interested in as well. There are some of our members who arent interested in that, so well see where that goes.
For Democrats, meanwhile, having Trump at the table is seen as counter productive.
Talking to him is not productive, said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI). He will say anything he wants to say and it doesnt translate into an agreement. Talking to Mnuchin, at least in that sense you have a person who has a rational mind.
But as Democrats keep the president at arms length, theyre also grappling with the likelihood that any forthcoming deal they make will tangibly benefit him politically (even if Trump doesnt believe hes reaping his fair share of credit). In interviews this week, lawmakers said they felt dynamic, and recognized the perverse incentives it created. But it was, ultimately, a secondary consideration.
Maybe he gets some benefit out of this if we improve the economy, but our main focus has to be on helping people who are hurting, said Rep. John Yarmouth (D- KY), chair of the House budget committee. If there are collateral benefits to him, we will deal with that.