Ron Fournier’s dig meant for Trump over Michigan’s high unemployment hits Gov Whitmer right between the eyes


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Former Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier appears to have blown an attempt to portray Michigan’s current high unemployment rate as President Donald Trump’s fault, and instead took out his state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, instead.

In reference to Trump’s scheduled visit to a Ford Motor Company’s Rawsonville manufacturing plant in Ypsilanti on Thursday, Fournier — who is now president of a Detroit-based public relations firm — fired off a tweet suggesting that the president is responsible for Michigan joblessness.

“Last time  @realDonaldTrump was in Michigan, the Obama recovery was holding. Unemployment was around 3% Now it’s at 22%,” he wrote.

It wasn’t long before more than a few people began pointing out to Fournier that Whitmer’s executive order shuttering businesses and quarantining her residents is much more directly responsible for the economic and employment downturn in Michigan.


In February, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment had fallen to 3.5 percent nationally and non-farm payrolls outpaced estimates for the month, rising by 273,000 after economists had predicted job growth of 175,000.

CNBC reported

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 273,000 new jobs during the month, while the unemployment rate was 3.5%, matching its lowest level in more than 50 years. An alternative measure of joblessness that counts those not looking for work and holding part-time jobs for economic reasons edged higher to 7%.

The January and February gains tied for best month since May 2018. 

In addition, the network reported that job growth figures from the previous two months had also been revised upward by tens of thousands. So clearly, the country was essentially fully employed.

As for Fournier’s “Obama recovery,” assertion, while the U.S. economy was indeed growing when the former president left office, it really took off after President Trump was inaugurated and began implementing his economic policies.

Throughout his presidency, Obama only averaged 1.6 percent growth in Gross Domestic Product, putting him behind all post-war presidents. Economic growth under Trump has been better; in 2019, the rate was 2.3 percent.

As for Michigan itself, Whitmer’s policies are directly responsible for her state’s plummeting employment figures, not President Trump. The president issued shutdown guidelines early in the pandemic but left the actual decisions to governors — which is classic federalism.

Not all states decided to shut down their economies, by the way, but some of those that remained open took some flak for the decision, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

In a mid-April interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Noem pushed back on calls to close her lightly-infected state, saying her first objective was to protect her residents’ liberties.


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Jon Dougherty


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