President Trump stirred up controversy Sunday when he turned to Twitter to take responsibility for lowering the unemployment rate among black Americans, in response to rapper and mogul Jay-Z's comments on CNN's "The Van Jones Show."
During an interview on the show, host Van Jones asked Jay-Z about Trump claiming credit for creating the lowest black unemployment rate in decades.
“He is somebody who is now saying 'I’m dropping black unemployment. Black people are doing well under my administration,'" Jones said. "Does he have a point that maybe the Democrats have been giving us good lip service, but no jobs? Maybe he is going to say terrible things, but put money in our pockets. Does that make him a good leader?”
“No, because it's not about money at the end of the day," Jay-Z responded. "Money doesn’t equate to happiness. It doesn’t. That's missing the whole point."
Trump responded with a tweet stating that his policies have resulted in the lowest black unemployment rate ever recorded.
Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2018
It is true that the unemployment rate for black Americans is currently 6.8 percent — the lowest since it began being recorded in the 1970s. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those numbers result from the work of the Obama administration.
"Trump should get a pat on the back because he didn't screw it up," said Rev. Emmett G. Price III Monday during another edition of "All Revved Up" on Boston Public Radio. He and Rev. Irene Monroe both agreed with Jay-Z that the president isn't looking at the systemic issues behind those numbers.
“I think what he thinks is that because of this downward trend, and he can boast about it on some level, is that he is not a racist,” said Monroe.
"Blacks are still unemployed twice as much as whites,” Price said. “Here is a black billionaire, in essence, clapping back to a white billionaire, to Trump. He is saying that money does not equate to access and opportunity, which certainly doesn’t equate to liberty and justice for all."
Price applauded Jay-Z’s statement, calling it heartfelt and passionate. He also pointed out that Jay-Z is not the first celebrity, nor the first rapper, to speak out against the President — but for some reason, Trump was compelled to respond.
“Eminem has said some really disparaging things against President Trump, and he doesn't tweet back against that,” said Price.