In what I’m sure is a surprise to nobody who’s paid attention to Donald Trump over the last few years, his first big official State of the Union Speech was a divisive, fictional narrative from a man who lies so often it would actually be more noteworthy to report when he tells the truth about something.
That’s why I told folks that watching his speech was essentially worthless. I couldn’t care less what Trump has to say when he’s reading words written by someone else, especially when I knew that the vast majority of what he was going to say wasn’t remotely factual.
So it’s not-at-all surprising to see that fact checkers are absolutely tearing apart Trump’s speech for lacking factual credibility.
Trump claimed we’ve created 2.4 million jobs since the 2016 election. While that 2.4 million number is true, only 1.8 million of those jobs were created after he was sworn into office. As FactCheck.org also pointed out, job growth actually slowed during Trump’s 11 months in office, resulting in the worst year for job creation since 2010.
This “president” also claimed that, “After years of wage stagnations, we are finally seeing rising wages.”
As Politifact noted:
We rated Trump’s claim Mostly False. By the most common measure, wages did go up for the first three quarters of Trump’s presidency, but they fell in the fourth, wiping out all the gains on his watch and then some.
His assertion also ignores that wages — by two different measurements — began their climb during the final years of Obama’s presidency.
He also tried to take credit for the drop in African American unemployment reaching a historic low. While it’s true unemployment for African Americans is at a historic low, that number’s been on the decline for years. The current level of African American unemployment is nothing more than a continuation of what we saw for most of Barack Obama’s presidency, meaning that Trump’s had almost nothing to do with it.
As NBC News’ Jane Timm pointed out, during Obama’s presidency, unemployment for African Americans dropped from 16.8 percent to 7.8 percent. During Trump’s first year in office it only fell an additional 1 percent to 6.8.
He said we’re now an “exporter of energy” — which is simply not true. We still import more energy than we export. While it’s true we’re heading toward becoming an exporter of energy by 2026, that trend began decades ago. So, much like his claim on African American unemployment and wage increases, Trump’s trying to take credit for something he’s had almost nothing to do with.
That’s a common theme coming from Trump.
Trump’s claim that he’s made several times about passing the “biggest tax cut and reforms in American history” is no more factual today than when Republicans passed tax reform a few weeks ago.
He also claimed that the middle class received “tremendous relief” from his tax cuts. While it’s true the middle class did get a tax cut, by 2027 those cuts are set to expire, meaning that taxes for many middle class Americans will be higher than they were prior to Trump’s “big tax cuts.”
In his desire to paint immigrants as an enemy to this country, Trump was completely dishonest when he talked about the Diversity Visa Program, claiming that the program “randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of the American people.
Though as FactCheck.org explains:
In order to be eligible for the lottery, applicants must have a high school education or two years of work experience, and if selected they must go through a vigorous safety background check, the same as all legal immigrants.
So, yes, applicants are screened for “skill, merit, and the safety of the American people.”
Trump also claimed that immigrants can be “unlimited” and “distant” relatives via the family reunification visa process.
Nope, that’s not true, either.
Legal immigrants can sponsor their spouses, children, parents, and siblings — but that’s it.
Trump also claimed — and this is not a joke — that the image of the United States abroad has improved during his “presidency.”
Also as noted by FactCheck.org:
In fact, the U.S. image abroad has suffered under Trump, particularly among its allies.
Gallup Poll released a poll on Jan. 18 that found “the image of U.S. leadership is weaker worldwide than it was under his two predecessors.” The median approval of U.S. leadership fell to a “new low” of 30 percent, down from 48 percent in 2016, across 134 countries and areas, according to Gallup.
Last spring, a Pew Research Center survey of 37 countries reported “a global median of 49% hold a favorable view of the U.S,” down 15 percentage points from the end of the Obama presidency.
Among U.S. neighbors, Pew’s polling found 30 percent of Mexicans viewed the U.S. favorably, down by a full 36 percentage points under Trump, and only 43 percent of Canadians viewed the U.S. favorably, down 22 percentage points. Among NATO allies, the U.S. favorability rating dropped 22 points among Germans, 17 points among the French, 28 points among the Dutch, and 11 points among the British.
The only big improvement was in Russia, where 41 percent of Russians view the U.S. favorably, an increase of 26 points under Trump, according to Pew
So, in Russia the image of the U.S. has improved — but it has dropped everywhere else.
This speech was an absolute joke, but then again I knew it would be considering who was giving it. Like Donald Trump usually does, he told blatant lies and tried to take credit for economic trends that began long before he was sworn into office that he had almost nothing to do with.
What’s even more troublesome is on some of his statements, such as when he refers to “clean coal” as “beautiful clean coal,” it’s obvious that he has no idea what he’s talking about. I really do think Trump believes there’s such a thing as “clean coal.”
As many have said countless times, this country has a “president” who doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing or what he’s talking about. He’s nothing more than a pathological-lying con artist whose biggest “accomplishments” are trying to take credit for things he had almost nothing to do with.