10 Times Trump Hit Peak Phoniness in His Big Speech to Congress [OPINION]

By Akiba Solomon Mar 01, 2017

In his first joint address to Congress, President Donald Trump took on a less combative tone. Some news outlets have been throwing around the word "presidential" to describe his performance. While it is true that the president refrained from calling reporters enemies of the state and didn’t call Mexican immigrants "bad hombres," his speech was still hostile in its dishonesty, revisionist history and hypocrisy. Using this handy transcript of his speech, I’ve identified 10 times Trump reached peak phoniness last night (February 28).

1. The president, who in February asked a Black White House correspondent to set up a meeting for him with the Congressional Black Caucus, led with Black History Month.

Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains.

2. The president, who in January purposely omitted a direct mention of Jewish people in his statement about International Holocaust Remembrance Day, decried the recent rash of anti-Jewish crime.  

Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

3. The president, who received the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan, relies on the counsel of a top White Nationalist, and lost the popular vote by millions implied that his base was multiracial and expansive.

[I]n 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion started as a quiet protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds—families who just wanted a fair shot for their children, and a fair hearing for their concerns.
But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus — as thousands of citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our country. Finally, the chorus became an earthquake — and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first … because only then, can we truly MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

4. The president, whose former national security advisor lobbied on behalf of Turkey through a Dutch company, equated lobbying on behalf of foreign countries with corruption.  

We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials—and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.

5. The president made two oil pipelines fiercely protested by this country’s Indigenous people sound patriotic.

We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs — and I’ve issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel.

6. The president said that the "vast majority"of domestic terrorism is committed by foreigners, but most terrorist attacks are committed by American-born White people

According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home—from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.

7. To justify slashing FDA regulations, the president trotted out a woman with a rare disease whose father could afford to start a company that developed a cure. Because every parent can up and start a drug company and get a miracle drug to market.

Today is Rare Disease day, and joining us in the gallery is a Rare Disease Survivor, Megan Crowley. Megan was diagnosed with Pompe Disease, a rare and serious illness, when she was 15 months old. She was not expected to live past 5. On receiving this news, Megan’s dad, John, fought with everything he had to save the life of his precious child. He founded a company to look for a cure, and helped develop the drug that saved Megan’s life…Megan’s story is about the unbounded power of a father’s love for a daughter.But our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and Drug Administration keeps too many advances, like the one that saved Megan’s life, from reaching those in need.

8. To make a case for public education-sapping, market-based school vouchers, he introduced a Black woman named Denisha who failed third grade twice.

Joining us tonight in the gallery is a remarkable woman, Denisha Merriweather. As a young girl, Denisha struggled in school and failed third grade twice. But then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning, with the help of a tax credit scholarship program. Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high school, but from college. Later this year she will get her masters degree in social work.

9. The president used the widow of Navy SEAL Wiiliam Ryan to cast his botched January raid in Yemen as a success. (The serviceman’s father has refused to even meet the president.)

We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens. Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero battling against terrorism and securing our Nation. I just spoke to General Mattis, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, "Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies."

10. The president exalted America’s "250 years of glorious freedom" and claimed there is only one God in a country founded on the separation of church and state. No word on the genocide and displacement of Native people, the enslavement of Black people, Jim Crow, White Citizens Councils, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Japanese people, the Zoot Suit Riots, the mass incarceration of Black and Latino people, the criminalization and oppression of LGBTQ people, the ideologically based restrictions on abortion and birth control, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, his Muslim ban, racialized police violence, or holding children in freezing immigration detention centers. 

We are one people, with one destiny. We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same flag. And we are all made by the same God.And when we fulfill this vision; when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American Greatness began.