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Raising The Alarm: Ex-Econ Officials Say Trump Jobs Tweet Needs Investigation

04 June, 2018, 00:24 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Trump flouts federal rule with tweet touting job numbers

There's a reason presidents and policy makers carefully avoid saying a single word about important economic numbers before they're officially released.

"It's market moving and it creates instability and uncertainty in markets", Furman said.

Roughly an hour before the employment data was released, President Donald Trump appeared to hint on Twitter that a strong jobs report was coming.

"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", the president tweeted at 7:21 a.m.in Washington.

Traders picked up what Trump was laying down.

Unemployment rate dropped down to 3.8 percent.

"I don't think he gave anything away", Larry Kudlow, director of Trump's National Economic Council, said in an interview with CNBC.

Government economists assemble the job report with great care and secrecy because policymakers and analysts depend on the data to make decisions that affect financial markets and countless lives.

But the same rule also says they employees shouldn't comment publicly on the data until at least an hour after release - a regulation Trump has routinely flouted on social media.

In March of a year ago, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer ran afoul of the directive when he took to Twitter 22 minutes after the Bureau of Labor Statistics had released the jobs report for the previous month to tout that the 235,000 net jobs gain and the slight decline in the unemployment rate were "great news for American workers".

President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to bring real life back to the American economy, and if May's jobs report is any indication of his work almost 18 months into office, Trump has certainly succeeded. "He likes to tweet", Kudlow told Fox Business. The Trump administration has violated that several times, including a post in March 2017 by then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer. And Lawrence Summers, who served as treasury secretary for President Bill Clinton, tweeted if during the Clinton or Obama administrations information had been similarly conveyed "it would have been a major scandal - with all sorts of investigations following on".

Some Republicans also spoke out. He told ABC News that the Obama administration "absolutely interpreted [the Labor Department rule] as applying" to the president himself. "The advance info is sacrosanct - not to be shared", he wrote.

"He simply ignored the wall", New York University presidential historian Timothy Naftali said of Trump's post Friday.

"We literally put reporters in lockdown, made them unplug from internet and took their phones before the jobs numbers were given out", Mr. Roy said on Twitter. While "markets are always trying to get an edge", investors who responded to every one of the president's tweets "probably would have lost money", he added. They're required to wait at least an hour, a rule Trump has broken already. Last year, in a White House meeting with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador, he revealed highly classified information about a top-secret Israeli military operation (he was in the process of bragging to the Russian officials about the quality of his intelligence reports). Globally, the USA government is considered a gold standard in terms of the quality and reliability of the information it releases - not a reputation worth trashing for a tweet.


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