Did Trump Break Federal Rules By Commenting On Jobs Data Too Early?

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President Donald Trump may have violated important federal rules (through a tweet) that restrict officials from commenting prematurely on jobs numbers.

President Donald Trump walks away after speaking to the press at the White House.

President Donald Trump was eager to celebrate what he likely knew was good news regarding jobs numbers in the United States. But did he violate federal rules in doing so?

The president tweeted on Friday morning his enthusiasm for the impending numbers, which had yet to be released.

However, in doing so, he may have violated federal policy regarding discussion of numbers prematurely.

Federal protocol for the release of jobs numbers requires any official who has knowledge of them to refrain from discussing the details of the reports ahead of their official release time. It may turn out that Trump is exempt from these types of rules, due to being the president. However, the reason for these rules in the first place is very important.

Monthly jobs numbers usually result in the markets responding positively or negatively, depending on what is released. Prematurely releasing this data could cause markets to react to commentary on the numbers rather than the numbers themselves — which could create an artificial economic outcome as a result of investors reacting to the former rather than the latter.

The rule also restricts federal employees with knowledge of the information from discussing the data for an hour after they’re released — protocol that Trump ignored previously, in August last year.

Trump’s tweet on Friday doesn’t directly reference any positive or negative viewpoints of the latest jobs numbers. But knowing that Trump receives the data before they’re published, and knowing he wouldn’t likely tweet about them unless they were good, stands to reason that investors on Wall Street expected good news from Trump's tweet, and acted accordingly.

Trump’s refusal to follow or even acknowledge the rules while in office is consistent with how he operates as president. At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised that he behaves this way, ignoring protocols and doing whatever he wants. We should, however, be concerned that these types of actions could result in disastrous consequences.

Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

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