White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain apparently does think inflation is a matter of grave national concern — when a Republican is president.
Klain — who was blasted this week for endorsing a tweet that dismissed rising prices and supply chain disruption as “high class problems” — once ripped the Trump administration over inflation.
In March 2018, Klain responded to a tweet from then-Vice President Mike Pence announcing a Michigan speech promoting the Trump White House’s 2017 tax cuts, writing: “Will he hold up a Campbell Soup can and argue that price increases for basic food items don’t really hurt the middle class? Because I think that is the Trump admin economic message of the day.”
Back then, the annual inflation rate was 2.4 percent. On Wednesday, the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index jumped 5.4 percent in September, matching the biggest 12-month rises since the beginning of the Great Recession in August 2008.
Klain — an honors graduate of both Georgetown University and Harvard Law School who holds assets worth at least $4.4 million — caught heat after he approvingly quote-tweeted a post Wednesday from Harvard economist Jason Furman.
“Most of the economic problems we’re facing (inflation, supply chains, etc.) are high class problems. We wouldn’t have had them if the unemployment rate was still 10 percent. We would instead have had a much worse problem,” Furman wrote.
Critics slammed Klain for appearing to agree with Furman’s message and accused him of downplaying economic issues impacting Americans.
The discrepancy in Klain’s messaging was noted on Twitter by user Josh Jordan, who goes by the handle “@NumbersMuncher.”
“Well this is awkward,” Jordan wrote.
The criticism over Klain’s apparent endorsement of Furman’s message forced White House press secretary Jen Psaki into cleanup duty at Thursday’s daily briefing.
“What the point is here is that we are at this point because we’ve made progress in the economy,” she said. “And what would be worse, in our view, is if the unemployment rate was at 10 percent, people were out of work, hundreds of thousands of people were still dying of COVID and people were able to lose their homes. So, that’s the full context.”
Psaki added that policing Klain’s seemingly constant Twitter habit was “not a top priority, I would tell you, at this point in time.”
Klain’s social media use has gotten the Biden administration in trouble before, as when he appeared to admit last month that President Biden’s labor-related vaccine mandate was the “ultimate work-around” to a federal vaccine requirement.
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