On Friday, former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany went on Fox News to tell the world that Donald Trump is supposedly “doing just fine” without social media. The truth is that the world is doing just fine without Trump’s steady stream of insults and premature policy utterances that relentlessly polluted our discourse and threatened America’s democracy until Twitter and others finally yanked the plug.
When Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, no one expected him to continue the hateful, narcissistic rhetoric of the former guy. But the dramatic extent to which the Biden administration has pulled government in the opposite direction is extraordinary. No administration can be perfect, but the Biden administration is displaying a tone and message discipline that is as uncanny as it is desperately needed.
On March 10, 2017, when the news broke that the first full monthly employment report under Trump slightly exceeded expectations, the man-child made no secret of his jubilation. Despite years of tweeting that the numbers are “totally phony,” a “complete fraud,” and the “biggest joke there is in this country,” Trump embraced the numbers this time around, taking full credit for the economy he inherited from the Obama administration, which included the longest-ever jobs growth streak that began in October 2010.
In an attempt to explain the sudden about-face in Trump’s attitude toward the employment numbers, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer only spotlighted Trump’s hypocrisy further, saying “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.’” Former Budget Director Mick Mulvaney then embarrassed himself by going on CNN’s State of the Union and accusing the Obama administration of “manipulating the numbers” for years.
The first full monthly employment report under the Biden administration was just released Friday, and it shows new jobs gaining at nearly twice the amount that experts predicted. Media outlets led with positive headlines such as “U.S. Job Growth Surges Past Estimates; Unemployment Dips to 6.2%” (Bloomberg) and “Stocks rally as the U.S. jobs report shows a pickup in hiring” (New York Times).
Although the economy is far from recovered from the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s failed presidency, Biden could have at least paused to take some credit for the fact his first full monthly employment report was so surprisingly positive. Instead, the Biden administration wisely opted to avoid doing anything that might resemble a George W. Bush “Mission Accomplished” moment.
Shortly after the report’s release, Chief of Staff Ron Klain revealed the administration’s official response by tweeting a sobering warning: “If you think today’s jobs report is “good enough,” then know that at this pace (+379,000 jobs/month), it would take until April 2023 to get back to where we were in February 2020.” Thoughtful, measured, and competent leadership has made its triumphant return to the White House.