The Chatterbox-in-Chief Blows Yet Another Secret

Who is this man talking to?Pete Marovich/CNP via ZUMA

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Once a month the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases new job numbers. The report is always released at 8:30 am, just like many other BLS releases, and before then it’s treated as extremely confidential, just like every other BLS release. How confidential? There are people who have built multi-million-dollar communications networks to get BLS numbers from DC to Chicago a few microseconds before anyone else. That’s how confidential.

A day ahead of time the numbers are shared with the Council of Economic Advisers, who often show them to a few members of the White House staff—including the president, of course. This is done so that the administration can be prepared to talk about them intelligently after they’re made public. Before then, everyone is very tight-lipped about things.

Until now. An hour before the May report was released, President Trump posted a tweet:

As Jason Furman notes, Trump wasn’t “looking forward” to seeing the employment numbers. He’d already seen them. He just wanted to telegraph that they were pretty good:

In a mere three hours this has already been discussed to death, and I don’t have any unique insights to add. It’s pretty obvious why this is bad. It’s bad to telegraph a confidential report ahead of time. It’s bad to make people wonder if the lack of a tweet in the future means the numbers are bad. And it’s obvious to wonder if maybe Trump chatted with a few of his favorite friends about this during his copious executive time last night.

It’s equally obvious, I suppose, that Republicans will all rally around and insist that this is no big deal. And why not? They’ve already made it clear that as long as Trump gives them lots of conservative judges to confirm, they’ll defend anything he does. So this will disappear down the he-said-she-said rathole and a month from now we’ll all be glued to our Twitter feeds around 4:30 am to see if the president is going to give us a hint about the June employment numbers.

In the meantime, this has put Trump front and center, and that’s all that really matters to him. What a feckless cretin.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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