Last night, Trump delivered his tardy State of the Union speech, held up by his self-induced shutdown. How did he address the environment, the clean energy revolution, and the growing climate crisis — which the majority of Americans recognized as one of the most pressing issues facing the union?
He called for “unity” while ignoring the majority, he called for compromise while offering none, he called for action where no real crisis exists (the border), all while completely ignoring what may well be the most pressing crisis in human history: Climate change.
Here are the total number of times he mentioned anything related to green issues:
His only references to energy came in this one paragraph:
“We have unleashed a revolution in American energy — the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.”
As far as Trump is concerned, there is no renewable energy revolution. He has no idea that renewable energy has passed nuclear power, no idea that more coal plants continue to close despite his coddling (and “picking winners and losers”).
On the bright side, there wasn’t any “Trump digs coal” this time around — because coal is such a loser that even TRUMP had to recognize it.
And as for his second claim — Trump may dig gas, but the current US leadership has nothing to do with Trump’s policies. As the Washington Post points out, we became a net exporter of energy in 2015. (“Thanks, Obama!”)
Although he used the name of our planet, it was not in the context of any sort of appreciation for the fragility of the ecosystem we live in. Instead, we got two references:
“Our military is the most powerful on earth.”
If only he’d unleash the military, which DOES recognize climate change as one of its most pressing challenges (and at least the GOP congress failed in its attempts to muzzle the military from any meaningful climate action).
Second, he referenced:
“A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight — seated side-by-side.”
Since the main historical note connecting Trump to WWII is the fact that his German-descended father claimed to be Swedish because he thought it made him look better, it’s doubtful that Trump appreciates the way his immigration stance mirrors that of the anti-Semites who blocked Jewish refugees and asylum-seekers before, during, and even after WWII.
And I’m sure he completely fails to comprehend that climate change is his Dachau. Just as the allied generals during WWII turned a deaf ear to the pleas to at least bomb the rail lines transporting Jews to Auschwitz and Dachau, Trump is ignoring the climate crisis, even though it affects every single living person — Jew and gentile, GOP and Democrat, American and foreigner, even his own grandchildren. I’m sure he expects they’ll somehow be able to make money off the disasters to come.
While previous Presidents — both Democrats and Republicans — bragged about protecting children from pollutants, cleaning up our air, and defending endangered species, Trump is the first to brag about increasing pollution:
“My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.”
Of course, he presented zero evidence to back up that last claim, because there isn’t any.
On the contrary, from GM to Qualcomm, companies are cutting jobs and bailing on hiring commitments.
And despite Trump’s decision to protect utility companies’ profits over children’s health by slashing mercury regulations, coal plants continue to close at a record pace. No jobs protected here. (Thanks, Trump!)
More than two years into his administration, Trump suddenly noticed that he hasn’t introduced an infrastructure bill.
“Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.
“I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill — and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.”
He’s right. There is a great appetite for an infrastructure bill, which is why everyone was so disappointed when his first trial balloon (not a bill, or even a proposal) was a complete joke, centered around selling off America’s highways, bridges, and even Air Traffic Control system to Saudis and Emiratis.
Infrastructure may be a necessity, but we’ll have to wait and see if we get an actual proposal out of Trump. Something that actually calls for “investments in the cutting edge industries of the future” rather than propping up coal and fossil fuels.
Nope, not an infrastructure reference, unfortunately.
“We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.”
Trump is the gridlock President — he decided to shut down the government rather than sign a spending bill approved by the senate unanimously.
Trump is the resistance President — has resists everything from climate change action to universal demands that he abide by standard procedure and release his tax returns to the American people.
Trump is the vengeance President — his rhetorical knives come out for anyone who crosses him, most recently issuing thinly veiled threats against his former lawyer Michael Cohen that if Cohen doesn’t shut up, “we’re going after your family.”
Trump is the pointless destruction President — he basically launched his campaign with a years-long effort to “prove” that President Barack Obama was a lying foreigner with a fake birth certificate, and he prefaced his SOTU with a freewheeling lunch with editors in which he dished out nasty insults to everyone from Chuck Schumer to John McCain to Joe Biden.
But why even bother analyzing this mess any further? He called for unity in his previous two SOTU speeches, then doubled down on hard-right red meat for the reddest of the red base, which is all he has left. This speech was only marginally different, and as for results going forward? Expect Trump to double down on more of the same.
Image by DonkeyHotey (some rights reserved)
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