Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Sunday insisted that his "rosy" projections about the economy have nothing to do with the November election.
"I think it's important that we face what the real numbers are," Fox News host Chris Wallace told Mnuchin. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the real number, which includes people who are not looking for work, is 22.8%. That does not include the 7 million people who have lost their jobs since then."
"Aren't we talking close to 25% at this point, which is Great Depression neighborhood?" the Fox News host asked.
"We could be," Mnuchin agreed. "Unlike the Great Depression where you had economic issues that led to this, we closed down the economy. It wouldn't be a surprise if you close down the economy, half of the workforce didn't work."
"We're very focused on rebuilding this economy," the Treasury secretary added. "That's why we're focused on rebuilding this economy. We'll have a better third quarter, we'll have a better fourth quarter and next year is going to be a great year."
The Fox News host, however, did not seem convinced.
"You and the president both say that the economy is going to come roaring back," Wallace noted. "I've got to ask you about a number of signs that indicate that the recovery is going to be much slower than that, sir."
Wallace pointed to predictions that the unemployment rate will be over 9% until the end of 2021.
"Are your rosy predictions based on economic reality or the November election?" Wallace asked.
"My numbers aren't rosy," Mnuchin replied. "I've said you are going to have a very, very bad second quarter and then I think you are going to see a bounce back."
The Treasury secretary went on to explain that his predictions are based on the presumption that vaccines and therapies for COVID-19 would soon be available.