Fox host tears into Mnuchin for “dumbass” tone for calling unemployment “not relevant”

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Part of the reason the Trump administration has so thoroughly botched the federal government’s coronavirus pandemic response is that the president is far more concerned with political optics and reelection than he is with actually saving the lives of the citizens he swore an oath to defend.

From the beginning of the outbreak, President Trump sought to downplay the risks because he didn’t want to spook the markets since the strength of the economy was quite literally the only thing he could conceivably run his platform on due to his complete lack of meaningful accomplishments. His selfishness directly resulted in unnecessary infections and deaths as the virus spread unchecked.

Now that unemployment is spiking, this White House—which has long touted high employment as one of the primary metrics supposedly demonstrating Trump’s success as president—is trying to dismiss these numbers as unimportant. Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared on CNBC and said that unemployment stats are “not relevant” in the short term because of the virus.

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The secretary’s sentiment flies directly in the face of the Republican Party’s new macabre talking point that we might have to reopen businesses prematurely even if it causes more people to die because the economy must be saved. Either decreasing unemployment is worth letting people die for or it’s “not relevant.” Both cannot be true.

Mnuchin’s comments were so ridiculous that they actually managed to get Fox News to momentarily abandon its pro-Trump propaganda messaging to level criticism at him. Fox host Neil Cavuto hit him in no uncertain terms.

“…but for the Treasury Secretary in an interview on CNBC to say earlier that ‘to be honest with you I just think that these numbers right now are not relevant whether they’re bigger or smaller in the short term.’ Well, Mr. Secretary, they are relevant to those people!” said Cavuto. “Those are 3-and-a-quarter-million Americans who don’t have jobs anymore.

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“Now, you might look at them as an aberration or whatever,” he went on. “But they matter to those people because you know what? They don’t have jobs!”

Charlie Gasparino, the Fox Business correspondent listening to Cavuto’s tirade agreed with his sentiments.

“I don’t want to belabor the point but tone is everything. And I think that that’s a very dismissive, condescending, just a dumb ass tone,” said Cavuto.

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Watch the clip below.

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Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.

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