A handout photo made available by the Saudi Press Agency shows US President Donald J. Trump (R) and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump (L) arriving at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 20 May 2017.
SAUDI PRESS AGENCY HANDOUT

Trump’s latest jobs boast falls apart almost immediately

Updated
Just this morning, Donald Trump turned to Twitter to announce he’d arrived in Italy for a G-7 meeting, which led him to reflect on the “very successful” foreign trip he believes he’s having. “We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs,” the president said.

Just as a general rule, when Trump makes claims about jobs he’s created and/or saved, it’s best to be skeptical. His track record in recent months has been breathtaking in its mendacity, so it’s not as if the president has built up a reservoir of credibility.

But let’s try to have an open mind. The Republican president has been abroad for about six days, and in that time, he believes he’s managed to create and/or save “millions of jobs.” If that were in any way true, it’d be a remarkable feat: in a good year, the United States will create between 2 million and 3 million new jobs over the course of 12 months.

If Trump’s managed to match that in less than a week, he’d finally have something to brag about. Fortunately, the Washington Post took a closer look:
As for the number of jobs [connected to an arms deal with Saudi Arabia], thousands appears to have morphed into millions. But an analysis published by The Washington Post reported that the companies involved would not confirm any specific number of jobs saved or supported, suggesting that Trump’s original estimate of “thousands” was more guesswork than reality.

A White House official said Trump was not talking just about the Saudi deals but “benefits to trade from the entire trip from Saudi Arabia to the G7.” He noted that “any improvement on trade would save many jobs. Stopping even one bad trade deal can save millions. Changing the infrastructure of global trade to tilt it back toward the U.S. would save and create millions.”
Well, maybe. We can certainly have a conversation about the effects trade deals can have on domestic employment, but at the risk of sounding picky, Trump hasn’t signed, stopped, or changed any U.S. trade deals with anyone – neither this week nor at any point in his brief term thus far.

What Trump World is saying, in effect, is that Trump may someday change the direction of international trade – itself a dubious claim – which in turn may someday improve job creation in the United States.

Or put another way, pressed for some kind of explanation in defense of the president’s ridiculous claim, the White House came up with very little.

The fact that Trump says untrue things isn’t exactly new, but this morning offered a timely reminder that the president isn’t even trying to sound credible anymore. In order for a lie to be accepted, it has to be vaguely credible. It bothers me that Trump lies about job creation, but it bothers me more that Trump’s lies are outrageously silly.

Is it too much to ask that the president put a little more thought into his dishonesty and not be so lazy about it?

Donald Trump

Trump's latest jobs boast falls apart almost immediately

Updated