AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File Ivanka Trump
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

The timing and tone of the ad—as well as its messenger—sparked backlash, given the mass death and economic devastation that has occurred under President Trump’s watch. 

The White House on Tuesday launched a new ad campaign encouraging the tens of millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic to “Find Something New.” The message was immediately criticized as “clueless” and “tone-deaf.” 

The initiative, which is being led by President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, also targets mid-career workers and students, highlighting alternative ways for them to start a new career. 

The effort “helps workers of all ages and backgrounds identify the right path for their career goals by recommending multiple edu pathways, providing aptitude testing, offering a directory of critical resources for child care, food assistance, internet access and more,” the First Daughter said in a tweet

The effort, backed by the nonprofit Ad Council and companies like Apple and IBM, aims to challenge the idea that “the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job,” IvankaTrump said. 

But the timing and tone of the ad—as well as its messenger—sparked backlash, given the mass death and economic devastation that has occurred under President Trump’s watch. 

“This is a woman who was born with a silver shovel in her mouth [and] has never had to find a new job in her entire life,” columnist Mehdi Hassan said Tuesday during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “She set up a business using her dad’s brand name. She works in the White House because her dad hired her.” 

Others joined in on Twitter.

The effort comes as roughly 18 million Americans are officially unemployed and 33 million are collecting unemployment benefits. But the U.S. only has 5.4 million job openings, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department—meaning at least 13 million Americans have no available path to “find something new.” 

Those numbers may get even worse as COVID-19 cases spike across the country, causing states and municipalities to re-institute restrictions on businesses. 

In fact, evidence suggests the number of available jobs is already dropping. A new study from employment site Glassdoor found that job listings have decreased about 6% in the last two weeks, with almost one-third of employers cutting back on job openings since late June.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told the Associated Press the effort is “all well and good,” but added that the White House and Congress must do more.

“For tens of millions of American workers slammed by the pandemic, it is about finding something at all.”