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White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was blasted Thursday for his description of the state of the country President Biden inherited when he took office.
In an interview at The Atlantic Festival, Klain said people were going hungry, unemployment was high, and businesses and schools were shutting down.
“It’s easy to forget that when Joe Biden came to office, we’d turn on the TV at night, people were in line in football stadiums, looking for a box of food. The unemployment rate was nearly 10 percent,” he said, although the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in January 2021. “We had 20 million people out of work and businesses closed and schools closed.”
A clip of the interview was heavily criticized on Twitter, with many pointing out that it was policies in Democrat-run states that kept lockdowns in place into 2021 and dragged down the economy.
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“Who, uh, closed those things Ron,” asked Claude Thompson, social media editor for National Review.
Matt Whitlock, a Republican communications operative, tweeted, “He’s describing blue states that had unnecessarily long, damaging lockdown policies and rebounded much more slowly. Joe Biden responded with unnecessary spending that led to the worst inflation in 40 years.”
Mark Davis, a radio talk show host, tweeted, “Ron, please. Those hellish conditions were because of #COVID panic, a mental disconnect perpetuated by your party.”
Nan Hayworth MD, who served on the Trump 2020 advisory board, tweeted, “Gas, meet light. The stadiums were mostly closed and unemployment was artificially elevated in BLUE States due to DEMOCRAT mandates. Ever heard of Florida, Mr. Klain? They opened up and their Governor, by the name of DeSantis, is eating YOUR friggin’ lunch. Rightly.”
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Karol Markowicz, a Fox News and New York Post columnist, also highlighted the differences between the way Democrat and Republican led states responded to the pandemic.
“Ron DeSantis exists to remind everyone that all of this was going on because of Democrats. When he moved to open businesses and schools, it was Joe Biden and his party who tried to stop him. We know what kind of lie Klain is pushing because there is a @GovRonDeSantis,” she tweeted.
The Wall Street Journal published a report in July detailing how states like Florida and Texas are outperforming others like New York and Texas in the aftermath of the pandemic. “By many measures, red states—those that lean Republican—have recovered faster economically than Democratic-leaning blue ones, with workers and employers moving from the coasts to the middle of the country and Florida,” the Journal reported.
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The report cited a study from Brookings, a left-leaning think tank, which found that Republican states have gained 341,000 jobs since their pre-pandemic levels while Democrat led states “were still short 1.3 million jobs as of May.”