On Tuesday, Jan. 30, President Trump addressed the nation from Capitol Hill in his first State of the Union Address.
With the current administration being as unpredictable as it is, no one knew what to expect. In some ways Trump’s speech surprised many, but it also contained much of the usual rhetoric we’ve been hearing since his election. According to the most recent polls, Trump currently has a 49 percent approval rating, among historical lows.
If you were watching the State of the Union Address believing that everything Trump said was completely true and free of exaggeration, you were probably inspired and proud of the direction in which the country is heading. The President definitely delivered the address in the most presidential way he could.
That being said, if everything in the speech was completely true, and if Trump stood behind a lot of what he actually proposed for the future, this would be a much different story.
Around the halfway point of Trump’s first State of the Union Address, Politifact, a fact-checking website, completely crashed, as so many people wanted to check the validity of everything the President said.
To date, Politifact has examined over 500 Trump statements, and overall, only four percent of what he has said was determined to be completely true.
When evaluating this address alone, most of what Trump stated was either partially true, misleading, mostly false or outright false. The information was twisted out of context to exaggerate his administration’s accomplishments and successes.
While the successes he listed were all somewhat true, Trump used numbers from the Obama administration that under his guidance would have been much lower.
For example, he stated that he created 2.4 million new jobs. In reality, Trump’s administration created 2.1 million jobs, making this year the slowest for job growth in the past six years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Trump also attempted to unify the country throughout the address by using inclusive language. Overall, these sayings seemed to lose significance when he addressed alienating proposals for immigration reform and threw in an unnecessary reference towards NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
For example, at one point he stated that both parties should work together to “protect our citizens of every background, color, religion and creed.” But in contrast, he emphasized that “[the country’s] motto is ‘In God We Trust.’”
The President did an amazing job giving a very partisan speech that was shrouded in clouds of seemingly meaningless bipartisan sayings. In my opinion, probably one of his most meaningful bipartisan proposals of the night was when he claimed that “one of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs.”
That’s a statement people on both sides of the political spectrum would most likely support, as this gives citizens a way to determine if Trump is actually in the pockets of big pharmaceutical companies.
Trump claimed that he will make reforms that Democrats want to see happen, but said even more that his supporters and Republicans wanted to hear, from his usual statements about the wall to his unwavering support of high military spending and his extreme brand of nationalism.
The speech was heralded by Republicans. It’s great that he wants to invest $1.5 trillion in our nation’s infrastructure. However, he also talked about coal similarly to how he might compliment his wife (“beautiful and clean”).
Taking a step back from the speech itself, a lot was said in the audience reaction. The right side of the room gave a standing ovation for the President about every two minutes, whereas the left side almost never stood.
They displayed only occasional, skeptical clapping. This picture really served as a strong visual representation of the true division that our two-party system has created.
I don’t think there was really anything Trump could say that would fix the divisiveness throughout the country in one speech.
Some of his calls for “all of us [working] together, as one team, one people” hopefully had some impact on people stepping back from their party ties to see the country as a unified entity.
Still, the falseness and twisted truths in what Trump says continue, and because of that, most people will take whatever he says with strong caution and reservation. As long as the facts don’t match up with Trump’s statements, people will continue seeing through his claims.
Trump mentioned bipartisan compromise multiple times, and I agree with him in that regard.
The only way for our country to move forward from this point is for all politicians to set aside their differences and do what’s right for the people, not their respective party.
Ryan Kutzler is a fourth-year communication studies major with minors in journalism and music. ✉️ RK821378@wcupa.edu.