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Trump’s State of the Union speech was a fact checker’s nightmare

If you’re anything like me, you watched Trump’s State of the Union speech and afterwards thought “well, those were certainly all words.”

But nothing that he said tonight came as a surprise to anyone. It’s more of the same senseless drivel that comes from Trump and his administration.

Look, we knew this was going to be an epic shitshow before it even started, and that’s not just because we knew Trump would be talking for an extended period of time. Their guest list alone was a dead giveaway:

The linchpin for Trump is to use fear as a primary motivator to get things done. He’s not going to look at actual data and make a reasoned argument for/against anything. He’s going to use fear, because fear is easy to sell to his base.

So it’s no surprise that the guest list features a story about an unauthorized immigrant (despite the overall crime rate of immigrants being lower than non-immigrants), a story about human trafficking (a very real problem that Trump is hijacking), a recovering opioid addict (a desperate attempt by Trump to strengthen the categorically false narrative that a border wall would reduce the amount of opioids in the United States), a blue collar worker (okay?), a child cancer survivor (one of the best ways to demonstrated that gods don’t exist is cancer in children), and, of course, showing how “crazy” the left is by bringing a child who happens to be named Trump. #JeSuisJoshuaTrump

Fear is easy. Facts are hard. And getting Trump to acknowledge facts is impossible.

The biggest fear-based selling point Trump has, and possibly his only play at this point, is the OG of all Trump campaign promises: the wall. You know, the one that Mexico was supposed to pay for?

Because when you look at facts, you realize that there isn’t a crisis on our southern border. A caravan of migrants isn’t going to ‘invade’ (their word) the United States. A border wall won’t stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.

How do we know there is no crisis on the southern border and that the wall won’t change anything?

Well, we just had the biggest fentanyl bust in history. The bust happened in Arizona, where Border Control agents seized enough fentanyl to kill 100,000,000 people in addition to nearly 400 pounds of methamphetamine.

But the caveat to all this is the fact that it came in through a legal port of entry – a wall wouldn’t have changed a damn thing here. And the size of the shipment shows that drug makers south of our confident in their ability to get drugs through legal ports of entry, too. The economics of it are simple – they were concerned that they would get caught, they wouldn’t have sent nearly as much. If they thought there was a high probably of their shipment would being detected, they would have sent a smaller amount, as it would be a less risky investment.

The speech

He started out the speech listing the “accomplishments” of the administration. Unsurprisingly, there was talk of D-Day and the first Moon landing. You know, things that are relevant to Trump.

Two things stuck out the most to me. First, early in the speech he said:

An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!

He’s kind of telegraphing his inner fears, I think. I found this side-by-side comparison rather amusing, though:

The other moment was near the end, when he talked about late-term abortions, which we covered earlier last week:

But the other parts of the speech were predictable and fairly boring.

As conservative pundit Rick Wilson eloquently predicted, the speech is nothing more than an advertisement for his wall, and many members of the media will continue to fumble the opportunity:

The media will, of course, fall into one of the traps they so frequently do when it comes to this president. They continue to treat Trump as if his statements, proposals, and policy announcements have any actual weight or merit. These items are added to the Trump speech only at the last moment, and only as concessions by a president whose advisers have as much luck holding his interest on policy as they would teaching a dog Sanskrit.

You’ll hear some big, sweeping, popular ideas in the speech tonight. “We’re going to eliminate AIDS by 2030. We’re going to open a Whataburger on the Moon by April! Puppies and kittens for everyone!” They’ll sound normal, and even presidential.

Ignore them. These ideas and policies are meaningless tripe, the product of focus-grouped and rigorously crafted message-testing. They are the product of a man who sits on a throne of lies, written by the most mendacious public “servants” in recorded memory. Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Kellyanne Conway’s scent will be all over these policies. (Jared’s scent is of sandalwood and tightly suppressed rage.)

And Rick was right in his article – it was nothing more than a speech about the wall.

This part was hilarious.

There was no mention of one of the greatest threats facing us, though: climate change.

Here’s a (mostly) chronological fact check and response to his speech from people whose opinions I value:

Here’s an assortment of fact checks and other noteworthy tweets:


If it seems like these are jumping around, that’s because Trump did:

It was a rather boring speech, as Chris Cillizza pointed out:

^^^^ I am from Indiana. This is all true. ^^^^


Palette cleansing

To get the nasty taste out of your brain, here are some of the more comical tweets that I enjoyed:

This last one isn’t related at all to the SOTU, I just thought it was cute:


Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.




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