Trump attacks the Biden economy in Racine, but data shows major recovery - TAI News
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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump enters at a campaign event Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Racine, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Former President Donald Trump held a rally in Racine, Wisconsin, on June 18 and criticized President Joe Biden for his stewardship of the American economy.

“I will also take immediate action to save our economy, our economy is doing terribly. Inflation has killed our economy, it’s a nation buster,” Trump said, adding, “Joe Biden inherited the fastest and strongest economic recovery in history. I gave him the greatest recovery in history, it’s called bounce back, we were all set. We were set.” (31:51) (33:08)

Trump’s characterization of the state of the economy during his time in office and under Biden is at odds with economic data for both the nation at large and Racine.

In April 2020, when Trump was in office, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate reached 14.8%, the highest it had been since at least 1948. In Racine, the situation was worse, with unemployment hitting 15% that month.

Trump was widely criticized for his response to the pandemic, which he first dismissed as a short-term occurrence in February 2020: “You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.” As the country and the world dealt with the virus, Trump repeatedly said it would go away — even as he himself was infected.

Trump also came under fire for failing to provide states and municipalities with equipment and resources to manage the fallout of the virus, and the areas affected faced economic hardship as businesses and other institutions had to close their doors or severely restrict the availability of their services.

There was some improvement when Biden took office in January 2021, but the national unemployment level was at 6.4% and Racine’s was at 5.2%. In March 2021, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a stimulus program for municipalities meant to spur economic recovery from the pandemic. The legislation only received support from Democrats in Congress and was unanimously opposed by the five Republican members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.

According to data released by the White House, the Rescue Plan sent pandemic relief funds to 1,918 towns, cities and counties in Wisconsin. The legislation funded education and child care in the state as well as tax credits, health insurance cost savings, rental relief and student loan relief. The plan also cut high-speed internet costs for individuals and businesses in the state.

The most recent unemployment data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded the national unemployment rate in May at 4% and the rate in Racine at 3.5% as of April.

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