Jandra Sutton
January 28, 2018 1:01 pm
Pool / Michael Kovac / Stringer / Getty Images

Donald Trump is no stranger to Twitter feuds, but you might want to sit down for this one. His latest dust-up is with rapper Jay-Z, who sat down with Van Jones on CNN for a wide-ranging interview on Saturday, January 27th. And after Jay-Z blasted Trump for his overall lack of respect for African countries, the president responded by taking credit on Twitter for the decline in black unemployment rate by year.

“Everyone feels anger, but after the anger it’s really hurtful because he’s looking down on a whole population of people and he’s so misinformed because these places have beautiful people,” Jay-Z said on The Van Jones Show as he discussed his thoughts on politics, racism, and Trump’s controversial “shithole countries” remarks.

The rapper and mogul also pointed out that the discussion around racism lacks meaningful change, and superficial solutions fail to address the real problems. He even addressed Trump’s bragging that black unemployment was at an all-time low.

“It’s not about money at the end of the day. Money doesn’t equate to happiness. It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point,” Jay-Z said. “You treat people like human beings. That’s the main point. It goes back to the whole thing — ‘Treat me really bad and pay me well.’ It’s not going to lead to happiness, it’s going to lead to, again, the same thing. Everyone’s going to be sick.”

Trump took issue with the comments, unsurprisingly, and tweeted about Jay-Z early Sunday morning:

However, Trump’s comments point out a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed. While the black unemployment rate by year is at an all-time low, the racial unemployment divide is still rampant.

Even more important? That gap doesn’t appear to be narrowing, and it hasn’t changed significantly in over 25 years.

“When I saw [the unemployment rate] come down below 7, I partially exhaled,” Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, told CNN Money. “But the fact is that while we’re glad people are working, their paychecks don’t buy what their paychecks used to buy. And that’s got to be a part of any conversation.”

Translation? While unemployment is on the decline, the overall cost of living isn’t — and minimum wage hasn’t changed to reflect that.

Trump’s claim is also troubling because he’s attempting to take responsibility for something his policies didn’t impact, according to Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Bernstein said the black unemployment rate by year has been falling consistently since before Trump took office.

“Trump has had nothing to do with the decline in African-American jobless rates, or any other group’s rates,” Bernstein told Vox. “He’s completely riding a trend he inherited.”

This doesn’t come at a surprise, since Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to manipulate the media. And we can’t help but wonder if this is a just another example of the falsehoods Trump has made since taking office.

Regardless, we can only hope the decline in unemployment continues — and the disparity in racial unemployment disappears entirely.

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