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Jay-Z, Trump spar over black unemployment rate

Honoree Jay-Z speaks onstage at the 2018 Pre-Grammy

Honoree Jay-Z speaks onstage at the 2018 Pre-Grammy Gala And Salute To Industry Icons at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. Credit: AP / Invision / Michael Zorn

President Donald Trump took aim at rapper Jay-Z on Sunday morning on Twitter, defending his economic policies and low black unemployment rates after the music mogul likened the president to a “superbug” in a Saturday night CNN appearance.

Jay-Z, speaking on the debut episode of the Van Jones Show, was asked whether record-low black employment rates were evidence of Trump’s good leadership. “No,” Jay-Z said. “It’s not about money at the end of the day. Money is not — doesn’t equate to, like, happiness. It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point. You treat people like human beings, and then that’s the main point . . . you’re going to treat me really bad, and pay me well, it’s not going to lead to happiness.”

Trump tweeted after 8 a.m.: “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!”

In a subsequent tweet, Trump wrote: “Our economy is better than it has been in many decades. Businesses are coming back to America like never before. Chrysler, as an example, is leaving Mexico and coming back to the USA. Unemployment is nearing record lows. We are on the right track!”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of black unemployment in December 2017 was 6.8 percent — the lowest figure ever recorded since the agency began tracking the data in 1972.

Jones had asked Jay-Z about comments Trump reportedly made earlier this month in a meeting about immigration in which he referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole” nations. Trump has since denied making those remarks.

The rapper cited the controversy in 2014 over then-LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose racist comments were leaked and created a national outcry that led to his disbarment from the NBA and eventual sale of the team to new owners. Jay-Z said that a better way to have handled the situation would have involved a public conversation to include Sterling that allowed him to continue on with penalties.

“Once you do that, all of the other closet racists just run back in the hole. You haven’t fixed anything. What you’ve done was spray perfume on a trash can. And what you do when you do that . . . then you create a superbug, because you don’t take care of the problem. You don’t take the trash out. You just keep spraying whatever over it to make it acceptable, and then as those things grow, you create a superbug and then now we have Donald Trump, the superbug.”

“Donald Trump is a human being too,” he said, as Jones noted the remark had the potential to go “viral.”

Jay-Z replied: “I’m being funny . . . but somewhere along his lineage, something happened to him, and he’s in pain and he’s, like, expressing it in this sort of way.”

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