Trump Lashes Out, Biden Blasts ‘Reckless’ Attacks

Trump Lashes Out, Biden Blasts ‘Reckless’ Attacks

Trump at his news conference
Reuters
By Yuval Rosenberg and Michael Rainey
Friday, May 31, 2024

Happy Friday! Here’s what you need to know as we head into the weekend.

Trump Lashes Out, Vows to Appeal Guilty Verdict

Donald Trump today vowed to appeal his conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made to silence an adult film star’s story about a sexual encounter that could have damaged his 2016 presidential campaign.

In a rambling statement from Trump Tower, the former president and presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee again lashed out at the judge and prosecutors. He claimed without evidence that the trial was rigged and falsely alleged that the case against him was the political handiwork of President Joe Biden or his staff. “We’re living in a fascist state,” the former president said.

Biden, in prepared remarks from the White House, defended the legitimacy of the legal process in the Trump case and said the verdict confirmed the core American principle that no one is above the law. “It's reckless, it's dangerous, it's irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don't like the verdict,” Biden said. “The justice system should be respected, and we should never allow anyone to tear it down.”

Both candidates’ campaigns sought to drum up support — and cash — after the verdict. Republican officials expressed support for Trump and anger at the jury’s decision, which many suggested would galvanize GOP supporters. Trump’s team announced it had raised $34.8 million from small-dollar donors in the hours after the 34 guilty verdicts were handed down, or more than his political operation received in January and February combined.

The Biden camp sent out its own fundraising message Thursday telling supporters: “Despite a jury finding Donald Trump guilty today, there is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box.”

Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

Key Inflation Measure Watched by Fed Cools Slightly

A measure of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve cooled slightly in April, according to data released by the Commerce Department Friday.

The core personal consumption expenditures price index, which ignores volatile food and fuel prices, increased 0.2% on a monthly basis and 2.8% on an annual basis. The monthly result, which matched analysts’ expectations, showed a decline from the 0.3% growth rate recorded in March.

The broader PCE price index rose 0.3% from March to April, and 2.7% on an annual basis, with both numbers matching expectations and showing no change from the previous readings.

All told, the latest price data provides some reassurance that inflationary pressure is easing, though more slowly than the Fed would prefer to see as policymakers mull cutting interest rates at some point later this year — even as inflation remains above the central bank’s 2% target rate.

“The details of April’s report are favorable as the Fed looks for signs that underlying inflation pressures are waning,” said Bloomberg economists Stuart Paul, Eliza Winger and Estelle Ou. “Still, we expect the Fed to stay on hold at the June meeting as it awaits additional data that can boost its confidence inflation will cool.”

Stephen Stanley, chief U.S. economist at Santander, told the Associated Press that “April is a first step in the right direction, but much work remains.”

Incomes drop: Friday’s report also showed that real incomes fell in April, as inflation-adjusted, after-tax income declined by 0.1% — the second monthly drop this year. Real consumer spending fell in April, too, as personal consumption expenditures slipped by 0.1% after adjusting for inflation, down from a revised 0.4% growth level in March.

“People have been pinched for a while, and it's likely starting to show,” Elizabeth Renter, a senior economist at NerdWallet, told Reuters. “This cooling is encouraging for slower inflation in the coming months.”

In a blog post analyzing the latest data, the White House Council of Economic Advisers highlighted the longer-term trend. “What matters from the perspective of families trying to make ends meet is wage and income growth relative to price growth,” the economists wrote. “In today’s income data, we can look at, for example, real after-tax income per capita. Though it fell slightly in April (-0.1%), it’s up 0.5% over the past year, and 1.4%, or about $850 (in today’s dollars) since the start of 2023.”

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Number of the Day: 263%

The cost of childcare has risen over the past few decades at nearly twice the pace of overall inflation, according to a report released this week by audit and advisory firm KPMG. Since January 1991, the consumer price index for daycare and preschool has risen about 263% compared to a 133% increase for prices overall.

“The childcare crisis, which was simmering prior to the pandemic, has come to a boil,” the report says. “Pandemic-era aid has lapsed or is about to lapse. Work from home (WFH) and more flexible work schedules helped some working parents, but most workers still need to work in person. … Women are bearing more of the costs, but all of us are paying the price. Absences due to childcare problems remain elevated, hours parents can work are dropping, coworkers are picking up the slack and children are suffering. Those shifts are hurting bottom lines and eroding our potential to grow as an economy.”


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