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Trump takes no questions after touting jobs numbers

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE touted the new June jobs numbers at a hastily scheduled press briefing Thursday where he left before taking any questions.

“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back, it’s coming back extremely strong,” Trump said, about an hour after the federal jobs report was released showing that the U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs during the month of June, a record single-month gain.

Thursday’s jobs report showed unemployment dropped to 11.1 percent, a significant figure but down markedly from nearly 15 percent in April. Millions of Americans still remain out of work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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It's also unclear how robust the economic recovery will be as the number of coronavirus cases rises across the country. 

The United States reported 50,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the first time the daily figure has reached that high.

Outbreaks in California, Florida, Arizona, Texas and other states have alarmed public health officials and led governors in some of those states to put back into place restrictions on bars and restaurants. 

New York City, which has seen progress in the fight, said it would not move forward with allowing inside dining in restaurants given the rise in the number of cases across the country. 

There are also concerns that outbreaks could grow if people gather for Independence Day celebrations after the country saw a rise in cases after the Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

Trump mentioned none of these warning signs while speaking to reporters and instead focused on positively portraying his administration's handling of the crisis in the face of polls showing a majority of Americans disapprove of his performance on the coronavirus.

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“We have some areas where we are putting out the flames or the fires,” Trump said, a day after an interview where he again expressed hope the virus would "disappear."

“I think it’s working out very well, I think you’ll see that shortly,” he said Thursday.  

Trump cited specific statistics from the jobs report, cheering the increase in sectors like health care, retail and manufacturing as well as the jobs gains for African American and Hispanic workers. He also repeatedly touted the stock market gains and predicted the U.S. would see a strong third quarter as businesses continue to reopen.  

The survey period for the jobs report was June 12, preceding the significant surges in coronavirus cases in states in the Southern and Western parts of the country that have already slowed the economic recovery. Economists have warned that the recent surges could hamper the recovery and said the June report could paint a misleading picture of the state of the U.S. economy.

“The crisis is being handled,” Trump told reporters Friday, at one point suggesting the United States was doing better in handling the virus than China and Europe, even as the European Union left the U.S. off its approved travel partners because of the increase in cases. “We are getting it under control.” 

The press briefing marked the second consecutive month that Trump gathered the press to seize on better-than-expected jobs numbers during the pandemic. In both cases, he left without taking questions.

The decision to not take questions was particularly notable given another controversy the administration is dealing with this week: the report that Trump was briefed on intelligence that Russia paid bounties to militants in Afghanistan to attack and kill U.S. troops.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has held three briefings this week and fielded questions about the intelligence, denying that Trump was personally briefed on the material and maintaining that the intelligence on the suspected bounties has not been “verified” by intelligence officials.

Updated at 10:51 a.m.