Trump’s State of the Half-Truth Union

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Last Tuesday, President Trump gave his first State of the Union address to the entire country. In it, he talked about his policies, his first year in office, of the trials and tribulations his administration had faced in recent times.

There was a lot of comments surrounding President Trump’s speech, but the most important one was that he looked more ‘presidential.’ It reminded many people of inauguration, of Election Night. Like in those other examples, he looked more poised, calmed, stuck to the teleprompter, didn’t act aggressive or angry. Happening once in a blue moon, he sent a very different message to homes all over the country.

This change of attitude might seem surprising, even positive, but I believe this is all but true. Every word in that speech was carefully constructed for America to believe him. Believe that he has changed. But he has not.

During the speech, while he was listing his ‘numerous’ accomplishments, he kept treading the line between truth and lie so often even fact checkers had to do double takes on his statements. “Unemployment is the lowest it has been in the last 20 years,” attributing this truth to his newborn presidency.

While it is true that unemployment is historically low, this trend started during Obama’s administration and his policies. It’s not like Trump was elected and everyone was immediately hired.

This is more dangerous than outright lying, since it has parts of truth in it that challenge the claims of falsehood from mainstream media. Now Trump – and his supporters – can claim that “fake news” is lying again, when these half-truths do nothing but muddy the waters of understanding.

By using rhetoric like this, Trump is making sure headlines are full of his statements, broadcasting his message to the American public, and since these statements are not entirely false, calling them false would be mischaracterization, something our president is very familiar with.

MS-13, a very dangerous gang with ties across the entire continent, is being used as a scapegoat and as a red herring to talk about all illegal immigrants as if all of them were drug-dealing, would-be-assassin morally corrupt creatures. Having personally seen effects of MS-13 in my home country, it’s truly infuriating how quick Trump is to find a place to shift the blame.

This gang is certainly criminal and the world would be a better place without it, but to extend a blanket with the word “MS-13” over all illegal immigrants, especially those in the DACA program, is unreasonable, misguided and narrow-minded.

When Trump talks about the opioid crisis, he labels it as simply a byproduct of illegal immigration and ties it strongly to his wall. You would think no drugs are produced in the US and the only reason 115 Americans die of overdose everyday is because of Mexican gangs smuggling millions of pills over across the border. This is obviously not true, since most of these opioids are perfectly legal and addicts obtain them from their healthcare programs, incentivized to sell as many drugs as the deductible will let them. 

These are just some of the points he brought up in his two-hour speech. Many others can be quickly disproven with a simple Google search, or with some common sense, but the fact that he says them with such patience and conviction you’d believe them. And what if this is all you know of him? How many Americans do you think follow him on Twitter?

How many people are up to date on the scandals, the conversations, the investigations? Your average American that watches the news only a few times a year probably has a very different mental image of Trump. Because that’s not who he is. Twitter gives a better image of who he is. Someone crass, someone who doesn’t care about if people like him or not.

It almost makes me angrier to know that he is boldly lying about his character and his attitude, that a podium is needed to make him behave. I would’ve rather seen him stand there and make another one of his populists speeches, calling for people to get fired or punched. It would’ve come out as less disingenuous.

A president that needs to have two faces, one for the internet and his cabinet, and the other one for the cameras. Only to turn around and lie again.

That’s no president.