Sean Spicer tries to laugh off Trump's previous dismissal of job reports accuracy

President Trump's press secretary deflected a question about Trump's double-standard with humor

Published March 10, 2017 9:15PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to make light of President Donald Trump's flip-flopping on the accuracy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' job reports during a press conference on Thursday.

"I talked to the president prior to this and he said to quote him very clearly, 'They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now,'" Spicer said to the press corps, laughing.

While the assembled reporters seemed to share Spicer's sense of humor, the giggles glided over an important detail. When a favorable jobs report came out last year and political observers expected then-President Barack Obama to take credit for it, Trump famously tried to undermine the credibility of the findings.

"The number is probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent," Trump told a campaign rally after his victory in the New Hampshire primary.


Frances Donald, a senior economist at Manulife Asset Management, told Politico that "one of the most important elements of analyzing labor market reports is that they’re lagging indicators so they tend to be a reflection of what has been happening in the economy in the prior six months to a year. The jobs numbers that we’ll see six months from now will probably be a better reflection of the new administration."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics press office employment announced on Friday that job growth had increased by 235,000 in February. As a result, unemployment dropped from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent during that same period.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Jobs Report Sean Spicer