Trump appeared in front of a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night for the annual State of the Union address and true to the form he has demonstrated from the time his campaign for president began, he does not have any difficulty misleading his audience or outright lying.
His one hour and one half speech was speckled with a mixture of facts and figures, many of which were untrue but his two favorite issues dominated the address; his quest for a border wall with Mexico to cope with what he said is a crisis of crime and drugs in the United States caused by illegal immigration.
Among other false assertions, the president said, “The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world.”
The American economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Growth in Latvia and Poland was almost twice as fast. Same for China and India. Even the troubled Greek economy posted stronger growth. And a wide range of economic analysts estimate that the growth of the American economy slowed in the fourth quarter, and slowed even further in the first month of 2019.
He also made a false statement about regulations saying, “my administration has cut more regulations in a short period of time than any other administration during its entire tenure.”
The Trump administration has slowed the pace of adopting new rules, and it has moved to roll back some existing or proposed federal regulations, particularly in the area of environmental protection. The White House claimed that as of October, a total of $33 billion worth of future regulator costs had been eliminated. But experts say the scale of the rollbacks in the Trump era still does not exceed extensive cuts in federal rules during the Carter and Reagan administrations, when rules governing airline, truck and rail transportation were wiped off the books, among other changes.
Without giving any credit to the positive momentum President Obama set in motion with either the economy or job growth, Trump lied again when he said, “we have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs — something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that since January 2017, when Mr. Trump took office, the economy has added 4.9 million jobs, including 454,000 jobs manufacturing jobs. Far from being “impossible,” that is closely comparable to the pace of job creation during some two-year periods during the Obama administration, and significantly slower than the pace of job creation in manufacturing in the 1990s.
In another feeble effort to justify the cement wall that he promised Mexico would pay for – who has refused – Trump lied about the border city of El Paso, Texas, saying, “the border city of El Paso, Tex., used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.”
The fact is, El Paso was never one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, and crime has been declining in cities across the country — not just El Paso — for reasons that have nothing to do with border fencing. In 2008, before border barriers had been completed in El Paso, the city had the second-lowest violent crime rate among more than 20 similarly sized cities. In 2010, after the fencing went up, it held that place.
Without a complete analysis of the SOU message, it is safe to report that it was riddled with false or misleading statements. For further illustration, to list only a few, his statement about San Diego’s border crossings was misleading; his statement about caravans on the march to the United States was exaggerated, as was his assertion about new trade deals with Mexico and Canada, that will bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
Our president also offered misleading statements about his averting a war with Korea, the cause for socialism, and abortion.
Despite the lies, the most memorable portion of his address, in this writer’s view, was when he said, “No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year. You weren’t supposed to do that. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.”
The female member of Congress, all dressed in white, stood up and gave themselves a standing ovation.
Trump continued, “all Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before — Don’t sit yet. You’re gonna like this! And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than ever before. That’s great, really great. And congratulations, that’s great.”
Trump thought they were standing and cheering for him! I thought they were cheering for themselves.