University Times

State of Trump’s Union

The President’s Address Spreads Facts, Many of Them False.

President+Donald+Trump+delivers+his+first+State+of+the+Union+address.
President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address.

President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address.

Olivier Douliery

Olivier Douliery

President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address.

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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In many ways, Trump’s State of the Union (SOU) address was a retrospective speech, highlighting each of the administration’s past achievements and pausing for applause at multiple points. But the speech did little to provide any sort of substantive legislative agenda for the coming year.

“Most presidents use the SOU to present new policy proposals. Trump didn’t, he just reiterated the same ideas, and called for compromise. He touted the tax plan, urged Democrats to accept his immigration plan, and stressed the need for infrastructural improvements. Although all presidents use stooges in the audience, I found it even more distasteful than usual,” said Dr. Martin Adamian, Associate Professor of Political Science at Cal State LA.

However, not all SOU attendees took the bait. When Trump tried to claim responsibility for the lowest recorded black American unemployment rate, the Congressional Black Caucus stayed seated and silent. What Trump failed to mention about this statistic was that black unemployment has been on the decline since the Great Recession, and is therefore in no way attributable to his actions as president.

In fact, Trump’s address was littered with questionable “facts” such as these. In the wake of his speech, fact checkers have ripped it apart. NowThis Politics reports that Trump delivered an average of one false statement every four and a half minutes. Considering that his speech was the third-longest in the past fifty years—at one hours and twenty minutes—this is especially noteworthy.

That is not to say everything the President said was false. At one point, he boasted how 2.4 million new jobs have been created since his election. What he neglected to mention was that this is the slowest climb since 2010.

But what is a Trump speech without an unsolicited attack on minorities? Perhaps the most controversial element of his address was his proclamation that “Americans are dreamers, too.”

Many on Twitter, such as WNYC’s Todd Zwillich, shot back, pointing out how Trump’s comment could easily become the All Lives Matter of the immigration debate. While Americans may be looking for the American Dream, too, invalidating the struggle of immigrants who come to the country for a better life is a dangerous thought to follow, especially as President.

“The comment about Americans being dreamers too, in my opinion reflects a disjunct between who he represents and the American people. It also reflects a lack of understanding or appreciation for the circumstances faced by immigrants and the children of immigrant families,” Adamian said. “Americans are dreamers, sure, but do they face the same challenges, and uncertain futures as they try to figure out how to provide for their families? So what are these American dreams? Living in a country surrounded by a wall that excludes people of other races and religions based on generalizations, misrepresentations, and accusations?”

Trump pulled another verbal attack on North Korea, using the tragic story of North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho to depict the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the “enemy,” similar to Bush’s “axis of evil” speech in 2002.

Many Americans chose to boycott the speech, both government officials and citizens alike. A University Times poll on the Cal State LA Book Exchange showed that forty-five students were not watching the speech because they found it to be “not worth their time” as opposed to the twenty-one who responded they would be watching.

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State of Trump’s Union