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President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House on March 8.

President Donald Trump focused on wage gains as the U.S. added far fewer than expected jobs in February, and said he wouldn’t sign a trade deal with China if it’s not great for the U.S.


Trump told reporters before he departed for Alabama on Friday that the big news from the jobs data was that wages went up, and that was positive for American workers. Reacting to the 20,000 jobs added last month, Trump said “it’s a step” and noted the unemployment rate had edged lower. The president is scheduled to survey tornado damage in the Cotton State.

As MarketWatch reported, the increase in pay in the past 12 months climbed to 3.4%, the biggest gain since the end of the last recession in 2009. The slowdown in job creation was probably exaggerated by seasonal oddities that are unlikely to persist. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% from 4%.

Now see: ‘Don’t hit panic’ — economists say jobs report wasn’t as bad as it looked.

Also read: Fed’s pause now extends through September in wake of weak jobs report.

U.S. stocks

DJIA, -0.48%

  slumped more than 180 points Friday after the jobs data was released, and China released disappointing economic data.


Amid some uncertainty about clinching a trade deal with China, Trump said he wouldn’t sign one unless it was very favorable to the U.S.

“If this isn’t a great deal, we won’t make a deal,” Trump said, also predicting that there’d be a “spike” in the stock market when trade deals are completed. Terry Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to China, told The Wall Street Journal that Washington and Beijing have yet to set a date for a summit to resolve their trade dispute, as neither side feels an agreement is imminent.

Now read: U.S. ambassador to China says no date yet for summit, trade deal not ‘imminent.’


Trump addressed the sentencing of Paul Manafort in comments to reporters and on Twitter, saying he felt badly for his former campaign chairman. Manafort was sentenced Thursday to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians.

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump said the “judge said there was no collusion with Russia.” But as NBC News reported, that isn’t what the judge overseeing Manafort’s case said. Judge T.S. Ellis reminded the court that Manafort’s crimes were not related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s chief mandate — Russian election interference and whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the Kremlin.

While defending Manafort, Trump ripped his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, saying he told a “stone cold lie” in claiming he didn’t seek a pardon from the president. In testimony before the House last week, Cohen said he never asked for a pardon. On Wednesday, Cohen’s lawyer said his client had inquired about one.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said Thursday he will take a closer look at Cohen’s remarks under oath for “inconsistencies.”

Read: Michael Cohen asked his former lawyer to seek pardon from Trump, attorney says.

Separately, Trump called the Democratic Party anti-Israel and anti-Jewish after the House passed a resolution condemning hate that didn’t mention Rep. Ilhan Omar, who made comments that were criticized as anti-Semitic. “I thought yesterday’s vote by the House was disgraceful,” Trump said of the resolution that condemned both anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Now see: After emotional runup, House widely condemns anti-Semitism and other bigotry.

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