Vice President Mike Pence has ignited a social media firestorm after making a patently false claim about job growth that had media figures and social media users alike using words like "bonkers" and "gaslighting."
During an appearance on FoxNews, Pence claimed that the US added more jobs in three months than Barack Obama did in eight years.
We’ve created more jobs in the last 3 months than Joe Biden and Barack Obama created in their 8 years in office. https://t.co/kwk5YhL3TJ— Mike Pence (@Mike Pence)1597284791.0
Pence's claim stands in contrast to the fact that the US economy has shrunk 32.9% since the pandemic began, the largest shrinkage in American history.
But aside from that, Pence's claim is patently false whether taken in the context of the pandemic, or just taken on its face.
As CNN fact checker Daniel Dale, who called Pence's claim "bonkers," explained, the US added 11 million jobs during Obama's presidency. The US added 9 million in the past three months.
This claim is bonkers. 1) He's starting after a loss of 22M jobs, counting only the 9M added back 2) *Even if you… https://t.co/ONcTjxvyQl— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1597322344.0
But that aside, the jobs Mike Pence is counting as having been "created" are jobs that were originally lost due to the federal government's calamitous response to the pandemic, which forced massive closures of many workplaces and layoffs of many employees as the economy cratered. Many workers also quit their jobs due to safety concerns about the pandemic.
Some of those lost jobs were then added back when local economies decided to reopen again, as former Obama and Clinton White House staffer Ronald Klain explained.
You destroyed 40 million jobs, and got about half back. That is a lot of jobs you "created" in the past three mo… https://t.co/4ta4iqkE25— Ronald Klain (@Ronald Klain)1597287530.0
In short, "created" is a frankly farcical term to use for these jobs.
And on Twitter, people were astonished at the Vice President's audacious bragging--and provided a thorough fact-check.
This is like bragging about all the freeway construction in the Bay Area after the '89 quake. https://t.co/iszxGTBikE— Gary Legum (@Gary Legum)1597288247.0
This is a lie If you can't figure that out, then you need intervention. Trump inherited economy w 5% jobless. Now… https://t.co/4qvXLVSWu4— Pat Bagley (@Pat Bagley)1597288848.0
@Mike_Pence ARE YOU SERIOUS WITH THIS??? In the three months prior to that YOU LOST MORE JOBS THAN IN THE PREVIOUS… https://t.co/WHrWG6joKN— 🇺🇸 John *1/6 Commission NOW!* Wright (@🇺🇸 John *1/6 Commission NOW!* Wright)1597289961.0
In the same way, Germany and Japan built a lot of new housing after their cites were flattened in World War II https://t.co/POyXTx3CFd— David Frum (@David Frum)1597287613.0
@Mike_Pence Lawyers defending members of the administration don’t count.— Devin Nunes’ cow 🐮 (@Devin Nunes’ cow 🐮)1597296823.0
@Mike_Pence If you don’t understand what’s decieptful about this tweet, you deserve every last thing these people have done to you.— Jesse McLaren (@Jesse McLaren)1597291101.0
@Mike_Pence Grave diggers are temporary jobs. Unless, of course, your plan is to keep killing people with your Tr… https://t.co/iUcRYxb0ZK— Cheri Jacobus (@Cheri Jacobus)1597293599.0
@RonaldKlain I bet all those people without a job and being evicted and going hungry are believing Pence's BS.— Ginny Rusch-Mills (@Ginny Rusch-Mills)1597289563.0
@Mike_Pence What about this... https://t.co/ru8SJBXUis— Jason Provencher (@Jason Provencher)1597284999.0
@Mike_Pence Such gaslighting nonsense. https://t.co/lOEyd41c8A— AZDem (@AZDem)1597286142.0
@Mike_Pence People going back to work is not job creation— Baligubadle (@Baligubadle)1597287043.0
Claims about job growth were not the only nonsensical thing Pence said during his appearance. He also lauded President Trump for having "seen us through the worst pandemic in 100 years."
The United States is currently the worst-hit country on Earth by the pandemic.