About a month ago, on the heels of the mass shooting in Orlando, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) raised a few eyebrows by arguing that the murders weren’t related to the LGBT community. “It was a young person’s nightclub, I’m told,” the congressman said – overlooking the fact that Pulse described itself as “the hottest gay bar in Orlando.”
Nearly five weeks later, Sessions told MSNBC, in the wake of the murder of five police officers in Dallas, that he was concerned that officers “let their guard down.”
Perhaps realizing that the comment didn’t make any sense, his office clarified soon after that the Texas Republican “did not have all of the facts of the case” when he made the comment.
When MSNBC asked about how a Trump administration might handle these kinds of situations, Sessions initially talked about singling out the most effective police departments as a model for others to follow, before taking his answer in a stranger direction.
“This is done not through America having a terrible unemployment problem. It’s done through having a vibrant, strong nation where people help each other. And I think Donald Trump will bring 10 million new jobs to America. And we desperately need GDP growth and jobs.”
I watched the clip a few times, trying to make heads or tails of this, but I’m still not sure what Sessions is trying to say. Putting aside the fact that Trump lacks a credible economic plan – one recent independent estimate found that Trump’s economic vision would likely create heavy job losses – the truth is, the job market has already improved dramatically under President Obama. Since the end of the recession, the U.S. economy has created 14 million jobs, but that hasn’t stopped mass shootings.
Addressing societal challenges like these is incredibly difficult, but to assume that Trump has a solution, and that Trump can lower unemployment beyond Obama’s successes, is a mistake.
Postscript: Following up on our recent coverage, for those unfamiliar with Sessions’ background, in 2014, Sessions became strikingly confused about what a “witch hunt’ is. The year before, Sessions said he believes it’s “immoral” to extend jobless aid to “long-term unemployments [sic].” Around the same time, the congressman said the House should stop worrying about governing and focus exclusively on “messaging.”