President Donald Trump's joint address to congress, delivered Tuesday night, has already been lauded by media outlets, supporters, and critics as more "restrained," "measured," and even "more presidential" than speeches delivered in his usual ~straight-talking~ tone. However, the realities of Trump's hypocrisy is already glaringly obvious. Whether it's too-little, too-late recognition of marginalized groups being targeted, taking credit for job market changes announced prior to his swearing-in, or his refusal to take responsibility for a fatal mission in Yemen, the theatrics of this speech seem to exist (like so many things in Trump world) in an alternate universe.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi identified this issue immediately in a statement following the address.
Pelosi went on to call this speech an example of a "bait and switch assault" on America — and here are just a few examples of that bait and switch in action.
Comments About Black History Month
Trump starts by mentioning Black History month & civil rights.— Laurie Crosswell 🌞 (@lauriecrosswell) March 1, 2017
This from the man who led the racist birther movement. #JointAddress
Trump kicked off his speech by recognizing the end of Black History Month, however his lip service doesn't make up for his multi-layered failures to reach black communities with compassion, empathy, and nuance during the election or his latest embarrassing gaffes involving the Congressional Black Caucus.
Expressing Sympathy Over Rise In Anti-Semitic Attacks
His comments on the recent uptick in threats of terrorism on Jewish community centers and vandalism on Jewish cemeteries might've coded as sincere (maybe) if he hadn't said earlier in the day that "Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad."
Shirking Responsibility For The Death Of A Soldier During A Raid
The moment where Trump honored Ryan Owens (the Navy SEAL killed in a raid in Yemen alongside 25 civilians, including several children), had mixed responses. Some people were touched by the extended attention, while others were outraged that he'd use a soldier and his family's grief as a political prop. Meanwhile, Owens father is still calling for a deeper investigation into the mission and refused to meet the president.
Calling For "American Pipelines To Be Made With American Steel"
Guy who bought foreign steel, employs foreign workers & outsourced manufacturing to China/Mexico demands you Buy American and Hire American.— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) March 1, 2017
It's been reported on endlessly since Trump announced his candidacy and further as he's pressed his "Buy American" platform but here it is again: Trump's own business practices do not line up with that philosophy. As the folks at Business Insider and ImportGenius found, from his hotels alone, Trump's imports come from China, Hong Kong, Norway, Thailand, Israel, Italy, and the Czech Republic.
Hyping Up Plans For Increased National Security
Serious NatSec problem here: President Trump is still receiving calls on his pre-election phone number on his insecure Droid cellphone. pic.twitter.com/kE6RIFrsBs— Rob S (@RobPulseNews) February 18, 2017
Trump's attention to matters of National Security — whether it's promising to eliminate ISIS or build up the military — are all very difficult to swallow when you stare down the laundry list of allegations and reporting done on his refusal to give up his old cell phone, his insistence on turning his resort into the "winter White House" and, yeah, the whole Russia thing.
Celebrating A Counsel Formed To Help Women Entrepreneurs "Live Out Their Financial Dreams"
If hundreds of thousands of women hitting the streets to protest Trump doesn't make these words ring hollow, maybe his abysmal stance on women's health issues, approach to maternity leave (which he's outsourced to his daughter), and his sexual assault allegations (which he has firmly denied) make any pro-women statements from him seem laughable. Next.
He Promised To "Expand Treatment" For Individuals Suffering From Drug Addiction
This promise (again, notably framed using his anti-immigrant scare rhetoric referencing drug cartels) exists in opposition to his promises to remove the Affordable Care Act — due to the fact that many individuals who are treated for addiction are helped by/rely on Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.
Claiming That Immigration Laws Are Going To "Raise Wages & Help The Unemployed."
A bulk of President Trump's rhetoric on his version of immigration reform has been based on national security — here he returns to an old narrative of "the job-stealing immigrant" by promising a "merit-based" system that will better benefit American-born workers. Unfortunately, many economists have found that native workers tend to benefit from immigration. Research also finds that wages go up for native American workers.
For those watching this speech (and those who have followed Trump's penchant for saying one thing and doing another), it's nothing new to see another round of hypocritical rhetoric deep fried in saccharine, patriotic cliché. Yet, if we're going to make it out of this without seeing this sort of thing as normal, we need to keep recognizing these moments and keep talking about them.