If there is anything that we’ve learned from Donald Trump’s first two years in the White House it’s that he is utterly uninterested in educating himself about the issues a president is required to know. Even worse, he has a stifling aversion to the truth and will callously lie to advance whatever message he’s pushing at the moment.
The Associated Press took inventory of some of the President’s recent public remarks and compared them to reality. The result is a pathetic and troubling expose of a man completely unfit to lead a remedial scout troop, much less the most powerful nation on the planet.
The AP described Trump’s failings as a “slippery grasp of science as well as trade policy.” But their observations go way beyond that, covering most of the subjects that will eventually touch every American’s life. What follows are a few choice selections from the article that illustrate just how dangerous Trump’s willful ignorance is:
TRUMP: “Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the U.S.A. because of the Tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go. If companies don’t want to pay Tariffs, build in the U.S.A. Otherwise, lets just make our Country richer than ever before.”
THE FACTS: That’s not how it works. Yes, money from tariffs is going into the federal treasury, but it’s coming from U.S. businesses, not from overseas. Tariffs are paid by the importer, not the exporter or government in another country. Beyond that, tariffs paid by U.S. companies tend to result in higher prices for consumers. So a tariff is a transfer of wealth from business to government, and sometimes from consumers to government as well. It is not a foreign payment to the U.S.
TRUMP: (On the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement): “The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history. All of our countries will benefit greatly. It is probably the largest trade deal ever made, also. ”
THE FACTS: It’s not the largest trade deal ever made. It covers the same three countries as its predecessor, NAFTA.
TRUMP: “Our steel industry a year ago was dead, and now it’s one of the most vibrant anywhere in the world. Big Steel is opening and renovating plants all over the country.”
THE FACTS: Construction spending on factories has yet to take off significantly after having been in decline between 2016 and much of 2018. […] A year ago, the steel industry employed 141,200 people, says the Labor Department. Now, 145,100. That’s a gain of 3,900 jobs during a period when the overall economy added 2.5 million jobs.
TRUMP: “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.”
THE FACTS: Last year had the most unhealthy soot days since 2011. The number of days with unhealthy smog levels was down from 2016, but higher than 2015, 2014 and 2013.
TRUMP: (On the confrontation between migrants trying to rush into the U.S. and authorities who used tear gas to drive them back): “Three Border Patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt, getting hit with rocks and stones.”
THE FACTS: This didn’t happen, according to the account by the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan. He said there were no “reported serious injuries on either side of the border.”
TRUMP: (Retweet): “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month.”
THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees.
TRUMP: “Obama had a separation policy; we all had the same policy. I tried to do it differently, but Obama had a separation policy. But people don’t like to talk about that.”
THE FACTS: Obama did not have a separation policy. The Trump administration didn’t, explicitly, either, but that was the effect of his zero tolerance policy, which meant that anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted, even if they had few or no previous offences. The policy meant adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings and their children were separated.
The AP article (posted on the Fox Business website) goes into greater detail and has some additional examples of Trump’s lies. However, this is a representative sampling of how little regard Trump has for conveying facts to his dimwitted cult followers. It’s this sort of dishonesty that makes it difficult for average Americans to engage in rational discourse with Trump supporters. His glassy-eyed disciples live in a world of make believe that turns them into regurgitation machines for his deliberate falsehoods. And that blind devotion to Trump’s manufactured unreality poses serious risks for the future of the country – and the world. Which makes it incumbent on the rest of us to redouble our efforts to correct the record and spread knowledge.