Trump managed to get through the SOTU without wet-farting mid speech or forgetting to wear pants, so in that regard he’s already exceeded the expectations of many. But, in terms of truthfulness and substance, he really ended up shitting the bed. Here are the results.
“Just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.”
FALSE: The tax cut package jammed through against the American public’s disapproval is NOT the largest tax cut ever. On pure numbers, it’s only the 4th largest. If you adjust it for percentage of GDP, it’s an even more meek 7th. Sad!
“After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.”
FALSE: Trump’s time did see some uptick in wages during the first 3 quarters of his presidency, but they were holdovers from the tail end of the Obama presidency. Once they finally ran their course, wages fell sharply in the 4th quarter and erased more in that quarter than was gained in the previous 3.
“Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.”
FALSE: While middle class and poor Americans may see a laughably small tax reduction (not even $100 dollars in an entire year) the vast majority of the money will flow to the upper 1% and corporations. The paltry tax brakes will also evaporate for most middle class and poor Americans very soon, resulting in a tax increase from the same law Trump can’t stop flapping his gums about every day.
“Since we passed tax cuts, over 3 million workers have gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands and thousands of dollars.”
MISLEADING: Companies have been bragging about giving away “tax cut-related bonuses” to employees. However, many of these bonuses are tied to gimmicks, like Walmart’s requirement that you must be with the company for 20 years to receive the full $1000. Anything less results in a diminishing reward. Add in the massive layoffs happening simultaneously among so many companies, and the stimulus of these paltry bonuses will be offset by the negative economic impacts of so many being out of work.
“We have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in the history of our country.”
FALSE: Trump used the Congressional Review Act to roll back regulations. While his use of the Act did set a “record” in a sense, because he used the Act 15 times where previously the act was used at most one time during a first year, that doesn’t mean he isn’t lying. It’s like saying “I rolled back more regulations while having a dead orange cat on my head than anyone else!” Yes, Donald WOULD have a record in that sense, but no other president had a dead orange cat on their head so the statement would be non-clever bullshit. Previous presidents such as Carter and Reagan crushed Trump’s so-called record in the total amount of regulations rolled back, rather than ones tied to a specific gimmick.
“We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?”
FALSE: The Empire State building was built in 1 year and 45 days. Also the permitting process takes an average of 5.6 years for massive projects akin to the Empire State Building, and clearly something as common as a road would be on the lower end of that scale unless we were talking a new interstate highway. Again, Trump just can’t stop lying.
“The third pillar ends the visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of American people.”
FALSE: Lottery applicant immigrants must still meet education and work experience requirements. They also need to undergo normal vetting for a history of criminal activities or convictions before being allowed to pursue citizenship.
“African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.
FALSE: Again, Trump is taking credit for someone else’s work. President Obama did the the vast majority, if not all of the work to achieve this. Under Obama, the unemployment for both black and Hispanic people fell more than half. Any residual effects in 2017 are a tail end of the Obama presidency’s policies. Trump did literally nothing to cause this.
“In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released.”
FALSE: Trump overstates the number greatly. The number of prisoners released from Guantanamo who were confirmed to engage in terrorist-type activity was 122 — not “hundreds and hundreds.” al-Baghdadi was not released by the U.S. either. He was turned over to Iraqi authorities who released him later. George Bush signed a legal contract with Iraq to give up custody of practically every detainee, which we had to honor.
“One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and Syria.”
Half-True: According to data, the land controlled by the Islamic state shrunk by 93 percent since January of 2015. That is very close to 100 percent, but guess who was still president in 2015. I’ll give you a hint: He was black and not orange.
“Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan.”
FALSE: Chrysler is not moving any plant to Michigan from Mexico. They’re switching production of Ram trucks to Warren Michigan from Saltillo Mexico. The plant in Mexico is staying open and just making different stuff, and won’t be laying off a single worker. Just stop, Donald. Please?
“We have ended the war on American Energy and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal. We are now, very proudly, an exporter of energy to the world.”
FALSE: God, just shut up Donald. The U.S. is still a net-importer of energy, and that isn’t changing any time soon. The only thing Trump has done to help coal is to try to use taxpayer money to bailout failing coal executives who can’t sell their product due to not enough demand. He’s literally trying to pay them to produce nothing, so he can claim he “saved jobs,” but those jobs are still being cut in real time.
“Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the U.S. Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
FALSE: The Senate did reaffirm the Jerusalem Embassy Act 6 months ago, but that was not an endorsement of Trump unilaterally declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The actual text of the Act says – “the permanent status of Jerusalem remains a matter to be decided between the parties through final status negotiations towards a two-state solution.” That means Israel and Palestine decide the status of Jerusalem, not the orange blob currently occupying President Obama’s space in the Oval Office.
Long story short, Donald’s SOTU could have been compared to a severely disturbed mental patient trying to calculate out the absolute value of Pi on the walls of his cell, using a mixture of toothpaste and poop for ink. If you didn’t watch it, consider yourself lucky.
Note: Politico is responsible the majority of the fact-checking contained here, but we decided they were simply too generous in a few cases. A President taking credit for a fact, like “black unemployment being down to a record low,” is not something that’s even remotely true if it was due to the work of the president before him. Trump could have said the sky has been blue since he took office. His implication that it had something to do with him, since this speech is a recap of HIS first year, is utter nonsense. That doesn’t qualify as anything other than FALSE, regardless of whether or not the sky above Politico’s office is, in fact, blue.