President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address produced mixed reactions, but most concerning of all was the fact that the tone of the address was rosy and deceivingly optimistic, in spite of his anti-immigrant, decisive rhetoric that has pervaded politics within the past year.
Trump’s address was filled with fallacies, and ironically enough, he failed to state the facts, in spite of the fact that he is apparently a large opponent of “fake news.” Hypocrisy tainted many of his statements, even when he talked about the stories of the struggles of veterans who had fought for our country. Yet, his statement comes at a time where forms of protest against the flag are considered disrespectful, although these soldiers fought for our basic civil rights, including the right to free speech and protest.
Trump spoke in depth about economic successes since elected. During Trump’s time in office, there have been record lows for unemployment levels, but he enacted no legislative changes to tax cuts, in spite of his campaign promises.
“We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American History,” he proclaimed proudly. This is noted to be false.
He also claimed that rises in wage were seen yet, wages fell in the fourth quarter of Trump’s presidency according to PolitiFact. The rising wages cannot be attributed to any gains during Trump’s presidency thus far.
Trump also mentioned the “American Dream,” but it’s important to note that his version of the American Dream excludes people of color, namely undocumented peoples who are fighting to stay in this country to gain an education, a job and a normal way of life.
Trump’s hyperbolic exaggerations did not end with the subject of the economy. “Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives,” he said.
It is no surprise that Trump would channel his anti-immigrant rhetoric within his speech, yet as the president of the United States, he should expect that he would be fact-checked and held to the same standard as other politicians.
Trump’s claim was overly exaggerated, as immigrants can only sponsor extended family members for visas after one has become a U.S. citizen. What Trump wants is a harmful shift in U.S. immigration policy that would not just reform current legislation, but rather separate more families, as we are currently seeing this happen. More people are being deported because of their lack of DACA status. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly implied that the undocumented immigrants who didn’t have DACA status were “too lazy.” This type of anti-immigrant rhetoric is reflective of the president’s agenda in rescinding protections under the DACA program.
On the topic of immigration, he proceeded to highlight his plan for citizenship, and the wall he aims to build. He used isolated events of tragedy in order to support his agenda of keeping undocumented immigrants out of the U.S. Even though there is no causal link between “unaccompanied alien children” and gangs he has often conflated gangs with undocumented children in order to characterize them as being a threat to the security of U.S. civilians. NPR has reported that most children flee violent gangs from their home countries and then face gang violence within the U.S. upon arrival.
“Open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans.” Trump further propagated his bias against undocumented immigrants, and this is representative of the 34 percent increase in deportations that skyrocketed in less than a year.
With regards to the important topic of the drug epidemic within America, Trump promised a commitment to fighting the drug epidemic and helping to get treatment for those in need, but according to NPR, Trump has done little to translate his words into concrete action. No funding request to ameliorate the drug epidemic has been submitted to Congress, and worse yet, there is no person in charge at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad, ” Trump said on foreign diplomacy.
This statement fails to acknowledge how the ties between the United States and nations across the globe seemed to have weakened due to the controversial policies of the current administration. Multiple nations like Great Britain opposed Trump’s visits. We are currently on thin ice with North Korea, as Trump seems to think that Twitter is the ideal platform for inciting the threat of a nuclear war. According to a report by Pew Research Center, a survey of 37 countries reveals that the image of the U.S. has only improved in Russia and Israel, whereas, in other nations, the image has worsened, especially across Western Europe and Latin America.
Trump’s address was riddled with over exaggerations and faulty claims. The president of the United States essentially veiled the problematic nature of the current administration’s policies, and instead called his time in office a success, as if the recent government shutdown had never happened. The president should stop blaming Democrats and instead take accountability for his words and his actions.