Even then, Trump's defenders can't help but overinflate his economic record.
The Republican National Committee tweeted this claim Sunday night:
To be clear: “unprecedented” means it has never happened before. This tweet strongly suggests that "1 million new jobs in six months” never happened before Trump took office. And that suggestion would be wrong — very wrong.
In fact, President Barack Obama actually saw slightly more jobs created in his final six months — 1.08 million — than Trump has in his first six — 1.07 million. And Obama also saw more jobs created than Trump:
- In the first six months of 2016 (1.08 million)
- In the last six months of 2015 (1.34 million)
- In the first six months of 2015 (1.37 million)
- In the last six months of 2014 (1.5 million)
- In the first six months of 2014 (1.5 million)
- In the last six months of 2013 (1.09 million)
Indeed, no matter how you slice it and what months you choose, there isn't even one six-month period after mid-2013 during which Obama didn't see at least 1 million jobs created. One million jobs in six months is not unprecedented -- it has become the norm since the recovery from the Great Recession really kicked in.
Which got me thinking: Maybe the RNC tweet meant the first six months of a presidency? Even then, though, Bill Clinton saw more jobs created -- 1.25 million — in his first six months in 1993. None other than Jimmy Carter saw twice as many created as Trump — 2.14 million — in 1977. And if you adjusted for today's population size, George H.W. Bush (about 900,000 jobs created in 1989) would also beat Trump's vaunted 1 million standard.
So three of Trump's six immediate predecessors had at least his jobs numbers in their first six months (again, population-adjusted in one of those cases). Two others — Obama and George W. Bush — began their presidencies in recessions.
I have reached out to the RNC to see what is so unprecedented about Trump's jobs numbers and will update if they respond.
Shortly before this post went up, the RNC announced that pro-Trump former CNN pundit Kayleigh McEnany, who starred this weekend in a Trump TV video making similarly strained claims about Trump's economic record, will take over as its national spokeswoman. Apparently, we can expect more where this came from.