The Real State of the Union

Emma Farina

February 7th, 2018

President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address before a joint sessions of Congress — Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

The State of the Union address is presented from the president to Congress and works to establish the agenda for the year and gives the perceived state of the nation. On Tuesday, January 30, Donald Trump gave his first annual State of the Union address.

Trump pushed the continuing idea that he will put America first, encouraged unity of the parties, covered his achievements over the past year, and gave a look into what he hopes to achieve this coming year. However, almost everything he said was hypocritical, wrong, or buried in lies. Not to mention, there were large and important issues he didn’t even mention.

One of the first things Trump mentioned in his speech is the many natural disasters America has faced the last year, including wildfires and hurricanes. He specifically mentioned Puerto Rico saying, “we are with you, we love you, and we always will pull through together, always.” This sounds comforting and caring, however, the US government has been less than loving towards Puerto Rico.

Trump has made fun of the victims of Puerto Rico and attacked the mayor of San Juan. He didn’t acknowledge the damage done on the island for months after the initial damage was done. According to CBS news, FEMA is beginning to reduce how much aid they’re providing, despite more than a third of households still without power and many people unable to buy their own food because their resources have to be allocated to fuel for generators.

When Trump talked about jobs and the economy, he stated that since his election 2.4 million jobs have been created and that unemployment rates are the lowest they have been in 45 years. These things are both mostly true, except they aren’t really accomplishments that can be credited to the Trump administration.

Ben White, a chief economic correspondent for Politico, said that unemployment rates have been steadily declining since 2009. Similarly, the amount of jobs each year for the past decade has continued to rise meaning there were more jobs in 2017 than 2016, more jobs in 2016 than 2015, and so on.

Again, the tax reform he claimed to be revolutionary in size and accomplishments isn’t as good like he tries to make it out to be. Trump claimed his tax cuts are the biggest. And, as usual, this is an exaggeration. According to tax reporter, Aaron Lorenzo for Politico, Obama and W. Bush both created larger tax cuts. So, not only is Trump wrong on this fact, both the immediately preceding presidents had created larger tax cuts and tax reform was more revolutionary at the time. 

On the topic of the tax reform bill, he  claimed, “a typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000.” This is a true statement, however, the median household income is $59,000, and a simple plug and chug in the New York Times new tax calculator shows that people making $59,000 will only see approximately a $780 cut. Another hidden con of the Trump Administration’s tax reform bill is that the cuts for corporations and some businesses are permanent, however, cuts for individuals will expire in 8 years.

Early in the speech, Trump stated that he wanted everyone to set aside their differences to come together to serve American citizens. Again, reading this off of a script makes this sound hopeful, but he has been anything but kind to democrats or anyone who remotely disagrees with him.

During his campaign for president, Trump claimed that he wanted to put America first. He spoke about the American dream and what it means to be American. He said we are one big American family and that we all share the same home, heart, destiny, and flag. Later, he told a story and ended it by saying this is, “why we proudly stand for the national anthem.”

Trump is once again contradicting himself, or at least speaking to only the people he actually supports. When NFL players began protesting during the national anthem, Trump tweeted multiple times about it being disrespectful. Knowing that Trump was angered and against the protests, this fairly blatant critique of the protests seemed to go against what he has previously said about being united.

The list of falsities and exaggerations said in Trump’s first State of the Union is very long and very angering. What’s more angering for me, and I think for many people, is how exclusionary his speech and actions truly are. 

Trump, his administration, and largely the GOP in general have gone to great lengths to make their vision of the American dream true. Their immigration policies, tax reform, and support of white supremacist, sexist, racist, anti-LGBT+ administration show that they’re American Dream is filled with people only like them- rich, white, conservative, and male.

Emma Farina

Opinions Columnist


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