Trump mocks Buttigieg as 'whoever the hell that is' at economic summit touting job numbers

President attacks Democrats in rambling address supporting prisoner re-entry policies

Alex Woodward
New York
Friday 07 February 2020 16:02 GMT
Donald Trump addresses the crowd during the Opportunity Now summit in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Donald Trump addresses the crowd during the Opportunity Now summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Getty Images)

Donald Trump used his remarks during a White House event aimed at formerly incarcerated people to slam Democrats' plans for health care, saying the party failed to tabulate the results of the Iowa caucus and declared Pete Buttigieg — "whoever the hell that is" — as the winner.

The president repeated many of his false and inflated claims he made at his State of the Union address on Tuesday during an Opportunity Now economic summit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mr Buttigieg has emerged from the delayed caucus results with a razor-thin victory capturing only .1 per cent more state delegate equivalents than Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who claimed more than 2,500 more voters in the final round of votes in the primary contest.

The president's "official" taxpayer-funded events, like his White House address following his senate acquittal in his impeachment trial, have more closely resembled his unhinged campaign rallies.

He opened Friday's summit, which focuses on job opportunities in low-income areas and efforts to integrate formerly incarcerated people back into society, declaring that "we believe in no American left behind, that's what it's all about" and that his administration is building "the most inclusive economy and the most inclusive society to ever exist".

Mr Trump called his impeachment a "failed hoax" and boasted about his acquittal and State of the Union TV ratings.

He also repeated several false statements, including his claim that Hillary Clinton said a trade deal with South Korea would produce 250,000 American jobs and that his administration repealed the Johnson Amendment, which prevents non-profits including religious organisations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

The president claimed that the US is in the middle of a "blue collar boom" that's "fuelling the stock market", which he has often used as a metric for his administration's success, though roughly half of Americans own stock, and mostly through retirement accounts.

Despite an increase in overall wealth among American households, the poorest half of the US has only 1.6 per cent of that "net worth", which includes things like property, stocks and other assets (and subtracts debts). Predictably, more than 80 per cent of those "wealth" gains are among white people, according to federal surveys.

Mr Trump also touted his administration's "school choice" voucher proposal, offering $5 billion in annual federal tax credits for donations to groups offering scholarships to private schools and other education programmes, The policy proposal has been roundly criticised by public school advocates as an effort to privatise education at the exclusion of millions of students.

In one bizarre moment, the president said that "powerful" political heavies and business leaders often cry when they enter the Oval Office.

"They haven't cried since they were a baby, and some of them never cried at all", he said.

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