When the Black unemployment rate fell to a record low in August, “CNN Tonight” host Don Lemon asked just how much Black voters value that improvement.
Is it enough to overlook President Donald Trump‘s racist rhetoric?
It seemed Lemon was leaning more toward hopefully not when he posed the question before Republican strategist Joseph Pinion and Democratic analyst Keith Boykin on Friday, Sept. 6.
“Does that mean that the only part of your brain or the only part of our being that matters is money rather than how someone treats you and what someone says about you,” Lemon asked rhetorically.
He made the point just after he cited a graphic showing improvement in unemployment rates starting under former President Barack Obama and continuing during Trump’s presidency.
During Obama’s presidency the Black unemployment rate dropped 8.9 points from 16.8 percent in March 2010 to 7.9 percent at the end of his presidency, Lemon said of U.S. Department of Labor statistics.
Trump’s highest drop was 2.5 points from 8 percent in February 2017 to the record low of 5.5 percent in August.
“As you said, it is good news,” Lemon said. “It is a good trend, but it didn’t start under this president and the numbers actually declined much stronger under the former president.
“How do black voters in 2020 weigh these low employment numbers against the president’s racist behavior?”
Pinion made a distinction between the numbers and Trump’s message.
“The numbers, to your point are encouraging,” Pinion said. “So we need more of that, but I think the message is something that does not resonate with Black communities and Brown communities simply because of the rhetoric that has come out of the White House.”
Pinion then repeated words he said on Lemon’s show two years ago:
“If someone spits in your face then hands you a napkin, you don’t get to say thank you.”