President Donald Trump and a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence dismissed reports of unemployment in the United States possibly climbing as high as 20 percent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both men were responding to anonymously-sourced reports that claimed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told senators in a briefing on Tuesday that if a relief package wasnt passed, unemployment in the country could soar to 20 percent.
“I dont agree with that. Thats an absolutely total, worst case scenario,” Trump told reporters at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. “Were nowhere near it.”
Marc Short, chief of staff for Pence, also said Mnuchin was discussing a wide range of possibilities.
“Nobody is right now that I know forecasting a 20 percent unemployment from the coronavirus,” he said during an appearance on Fox Business earlier in the day. “The foundation of our economy remains incredibly strong. This is a short-term, we believe, challenge.”
“Were trying to make sure that the people who are impacted in the short term get the resources they need in a quick fashion and thats what Secretary Mnuchin and this president are looking to do,” Short added.
“We believe the economy will bounce back in a hurry once we get over the hump of this virus.”