President Biden criticized news coverage of the U.S. economy as he faces growing backlash from voters over his handling of inflation.
In brief remarks Saturday before boarding the presidential helicopter, Biden expressed confidence in the economy and ripped the reporters for the way it has been portrayed.
“All good. Take a look. Start reporting it the right way,” Biden said when asked about his economic outlook for 2024,” according to a transcript released Sunday by the White House.
Biden’s criticism is the lastest flash of frustration from the president over how Americans view the U.S. economy.
The economy has roared back from the COVID-19 recession under Biden, who enacted trillions of dollars of economic relief and investments shortly after taking office in 2021.
The U.S. unemployment rate was just 3.7 percent in November — barely above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent, which was a five-decade low. Annual inflation has also fallen sharply from a peak of 9.1 percent in June 2022 to 3.1 percent in November, and the economy has defied widespread predictions of a recession.
Even so, Biden’s standing with voters has fallen throughout the year as they become increasingly frustrated with the economy under his leadership.
Biden’s approval rating fell to a record low of 34 percent in a Monmouth University poll released last week, with nearly 70 percent of respondents disappoving of his handling of inflation.
More than half of respondents also disapproved of Biden’s record on jobs, even as he presides over a historically strong labor market.
Biden and his Democratic allies have largely blamed the media and Republican critics for skewing the public’s views on the economy by exaggerating recession fears and waiving off record-setting job growth.
After the monthly jobs report for September far exceeded economists’ expectations, Biden ripped reporters — ”not the happiest people in the world,” he said — for hyperfixating on inflation and recession speculation.
The Biden administration and campaign have sought to highlight the resilience of the economy and gain an edge on the issue over former President Trump, who presided over three years of low unemployment and low inflation before the COVID-19 pandemic claimed 21 million jobs.
But economic experts have warned that Biden and his team must also be sensitive to the myriad ways Americans are still suffering from the economic scars of the pandemic.
Inflation, while much slower now, is continuing to boost the costs of goods and services that already skyrocketed in price over the three years. Pandemic stimulus and restrictions also fueled a surge in home prices and rents, deepening an affordable housing crisis that began long before COVID-19.
Many voters are also struggling with the long-term changes to their jobs and industries caused by COVID-19, along with the lapse of economic relief programs that temporarily lifted millions of Americans out of poverty.
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