Did Trump’s Job Report Tweet Violate Federal Protocol?

There’s good news, on the economic front — sort of. The May jobs report was a roaring success, with the unemployment rate now†at†one of its lowest points in roughly 50 years.

The number was so impressive that it even managed to overshadow the far more disappointing fact that wages†remain†mostly stagnant, without†increasing at nearly the rate that they should in a job market where openings are frequent and qualified employees are scarce.

But then the president†went on to†ruin†even the good news.

Monthly jobs numbers are a staple in the economic development of the U.S. The release of each month’s†statistics†helps bolster the strength of the dollar, makes states examine what sort of job placement and employment assistance they will offer,†enables the Federal Reserve to evaluate interest rates for banks and, of course,†serves as†a key indicator of economic stability in the U.S.

It’s also a major factor in the stock market. Industries that are gaining employees tend to see the value of the stocks increase for their businesses. Weak employment gains or losses could lead to sell-offs.

Because of these impacts, it has traditionally been standard protocol for the White House to avoid making any statement about the jobs report until after the numbers have been released publicly — despite being briefed on the pending report the night before.

President Trump broke that tradition, however, by tweeting out a small spoiler just before the official public release.

The†New York Times†reports:

Mr. Trump, who was briefed on the numbers Thursday evening, appeared to foreshadow the strength of the latest report on Friday morning on Twitter. “Looking forward to seeing the unemployment numbers at 8:30 this morning,” Mr. Trump posted at 7:21 a.m. Social media users saw the message as evidence that Mr. Trump had seen the numbers, and that they were good. Sure enough, the report showed that the economy added 223,000 jobs in May, above forecastersí expectations. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.8 percent ó the lowest level in 18 years.

So what’s the big deal about a vague tweet an hour before the official numbers release? Well, for one thing, it may have violated a 1985 Reagan administration directive that was meant to keep these figures mum†and prevent anyone from†receiving†an†unfair advantage.

According to†USA Today,†the directive said:

All employees of the Executive Branch who receive prerelease distribution of information and data estimates … are responsible for assuring that there is no release†prior to the official release time.

Except for members of the staff of the agency issuing the principal economic indicator who have been designated by the agency head to provide technical explanations of the data, employees of the Executive Branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time.

And the fear of potential trading based on the president’s early tweets — a clear advantage to his own followers — isn’t unrealistic.

The LA Times†reports that there was a jump in yields on 10-year Treasury bonds that occurred after the tweet, but before the actual numbers were public. That signifies that some investors may have seen the tweet as a sign of a†positive report on the way. But the†administration†has defended President Trump,†insisting that†most of the industry assumed there was a good report coming even before the president hinted it was the case –and that he didn’t give away any†specific information.

But the real issue isn’t how President Trump directly influenced the market. It’s the question of whether or not he can be trusted with confidential information in general.

He’s a man who loves to feel important, and in politics knowledge is leverage. If†President Trump†can’t even resist teasing job numbers to his millions of Twitter followers one hour before the report hits the media, who else did he share that information with in the 12 hours since he heard the news? What other confidential data†has he whispered to his non-administration colleagues, or his old business associates — or even his dues-paying friends at Mar-a-Lago?

President Trump’s tweet about the jobs report is just a microcosm of†a bigger problem: a president who simply lacks the impulse control to follow protocol and the self-awareness to understand why he needs to follow rules. And as he continues to grow in power and remove those who question him, that problem†will only worsen.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via wikimedia commons

45 comments

Brian F
Brian F13 days ago

David F This crook Trump gave us a horrible tax plan that only benefits the wealthy, and adds 1.5 trillion to the debt. In addition Trump wants to keep us addicted to using dirty fossil fuels. Trump is a serial liar, and an absolute disgrace to the country.

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David F
David F14 days ago

The socialist liberals are having conniption fits that this president is making America great again with every measure there is.
Even full employment where there are more job openings than there are workers looking for jobs, Trump haters like Robin try to find something negative against Trump to maintain any credibility they have left with their liberal victims. Keep up the amazing work President Trump

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Brian F
Brian F15 days ago

Mike K Jill Stein is shut out of the debates by our corrupt debate commission that only allows both corrupt corporate owned parties to participate. Bernie Sanders told the Democrats to end their corruption, and support progressive policies like Medicare for all, marijuana legalization, free colleges, and a $15.00 an hour minimum wage. Clearly the Democrats will never end their corruption, support progressive policies like Medicare for all, or allow Bernie Sanders to lead the party. So the only choice is a third party and Jill Stein. Instead of vote shaming people, and bullying them to vote for the corrupt Democrats, support Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, who are honest, and are not part of both corrupt parties, that have destroyed this country, and have sold out to Wall Street, corporations, and our military industrial complex.

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Mike K
Mike Kelly15 days ago

Brianbot F: "Bernie Sanders sold out by supporting Hillary ......... allow Bernie Sanders to lead the party".

Putin's second choice for U.S. presidential candidate, Jill Stein, shows up only once every four years. She collects all her campaign donations from people who need to split the Democratic vote, siphons off as many Democratic votes as she can, and slips back into the shade for another four years.

Hey, Brianbot, will Jill Stein be going on another dinner date with Vladimir Putin in 2020, like she did when the happy couple were planning what they'd do before the 2016 election? Here's the link to the photo of the dinner date:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/guess-who-came-dinner-flynn-putin-n742696

Jeez, Brianbot, your Russian handlers really need to come up with some new material. You guys don't even make sense.

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pam w
pam w15 days ago

He's an arrogant, self-aggrandizing wannabe-TYRANT! Suspect everything he says and does. Don't ever believe him...even if he swears he's LYING...don't believe him.

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R15 days ago

Thanks for posting your opinions...
BTW, using the most ridiculous photos you can find is just childish and only influences certain mentalities.

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Winn A
Winnie A15 days ago

tRUMP is a cancer on America.

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Winn A
Winnie A15 days ago

:-(

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Brian F
Brian F15 days ago

Mike K Bernie Sanders sold out by supporting Hillary. Bernie Sanders also told the Democrats to end their corruption, and support progressive policies that we desperately need to in this country like Medicare for all. Hillary spit in his face, and picked Tim Kaine who supports natural gas fracking, as a running mate. The Democrats are not going to do as Bernie Sanders says, and end their corruption, and allow Bernie Sanders to lead the party. The Democrats will cheat Bernie Sanders again out of his primary, so Jill Stein is our only choice.

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Mike K
Mike Kelly15 days ago

Noted Russian trollbot, Brian F, tell us that he's a Bernie Sanders supporter and that we should vote for Jill Stein, the candidate who dines with Russia's Vladimir Putin and notorious traitor, Michael Flynn.

Do tell, Comrade Brian, when did Bernie urge us to vote for Jill Stein? It certainly wasn't in 2016. When Bernie dropped out of the race, Jill Stein stayed in. If your line of BS is true, why didn't Bernie tell us all to vote for her.

Comrade Brian knows full well that Bernie urged us all to vote for Hillary Clinton in the interest of unity to defeat Putin's first choice, Donald J. "Spanky" Trump.

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