The record unemployment rate reported on Friday captured the pain of a nation where tens of millions of jobs suddenly vanished, devastating the economy and forcing President Donald Trump to overcome historic headwinds to win a second term.

Just a few short months ago, Trump planned to campaign for reelection on the back of a robust economy. That’s a distant memory after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April, leading to an unemployment rate of 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression.

There’s no parallel in U.S. history for the suddenness or severity of the economic collapse, which is ravaging some states that are crucial to Trump’s victory. The president is now tasked with convincing voters that the catastrophic jobs losses were the result of the pandemic — not his management of the public health crisis. He also argues that he deserves another chance to rebuild what the virus destroyed.

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“What I can do: I’ll bring it back,” Trump told Fox News on Friday. “It’s fully expected. There’s no surprise. Everybody knows that. Even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that.”

Bringing back jobs quickly won’t be easy.

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