Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address reaffirmed his ongoing penchant for dishonesty, his utter lack of civility and his conspicuous avoidance of climate change. Trump began by refusing to shake the hand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and he went on to deliver the most divisive State of the Union speech in the modern memory.
Trump bragged about the fact that the US
is the world’s largest producer of fossil fuels. He did not acknowledge the mounting evidence that suggest fossil fuels are on their way out, and not once did he
mention renewable energy. As is often the case with this president, he tried to take credit that is not his to take. “The United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world, by far. With the tremendous progress we have made over the past three years.” The truth is this happened in 2012, four years before he was president. Trump boasted about energy jobs but what he failed to say is that there are now more renewable energy jobs than there are jobs in the fossil fuel industry.
While he ignored climate change, he did say he wants the US to plant more trees. “To protect the environment, days ago, I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and the private sector to plant new trees in America and around the world,” Trump said, referencing a commitment he made at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. This is rich considering Trump has engaged in what can only be described as a fossil fuel powered war against nature.
Planting trees will not come close to offsetting the ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions under this administration. The Hill quoted David Archer, a geophysical sciences professor at the University of Chicago as saying: “[F]ossil fuel carbon is so much bigger than all the carbon in the trees,” he added. “You can’t do carbon neutral by planting trees…it’s sort of a Band Aid.” Greenpeace has described the effort as a “poorly disguised get-out-of-jail-free card for the oil industry.”
According to CNN fact checkers Trump also lied about jobs, immigration, the border wall, protecting preexisting conditions, drug overdose deaths, court appointments, prescription drug prices and trade. However, not everything Trump said was a lie. He did tell the truth when he said the reason the US is enjoying economic “progress” is because his
administration trashed regulations and gave free reign to the fossil fuel industry.
His oratory may not have been presidential, but it was consistent with his disdain for facts and his opposition to science. Even though global warming was singled out as the leading global risk at WEF, when Trump was in Davos he used his time in the spotlight to mock climate icon Greta Thunberg and call activists “prophets of doom”.
After his speech, Trump looked around the room imperiously, while Pelosi tore her copy of the speech in half. When asked about the address by reporters the Speaker of the House referred to it as a “manifesto of mistruths”.