For many, President Donald Trump‘s speech to Congress Tuesday night boasted compassion and idealistic ideas, but in truth, the lack of comprehensive plans, inclusivity and practicality came across as empty promises.
Going into the evening, Democrats were looking for him to address two big issues: immigration reform and a suitable replacement for Obamacare.
Neither of those subjects were truly fleshed out.
Instead he doubled-down on this idea that tightening boarders would make Americans safe and secure. “By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone,” Trump said.
As The New York Times reports, this claim is not true: “Several studies, over many years, have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. And experts say the available evidence does not support the idea that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate share of crime,” The Times writes.
For healthcare, Trump talked about expanding coverage through Health Savings Accounts and Medicaid, but did not indicate where these funds would come from and at what cost it would come. He mentions people with pre-existing conditions only once, saying “we have a stable transition” for those currently enrolled in a plan— but does not say what this transition will be.
He did however spend a lot of time condemning Obamacare.
“Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for America,” he said, showing his continued obsession with out-shining former President Barack Obama.
There were a couple moments of “unity” where he acknowledged needs of children in inner cities and police brutality— but once again pigeonholes African-Americans, Latinos and the reality of excessive police force.
“Education is the civil rights issue of our time,” Trump said. “I am calling upon Members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children.”
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Adding, “We must support the incredible men and women of law enforcement… I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims. The office is called VOICE — Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.”
With recent legislation that affects the very existence of our land and clean water, it was disheartening to hear the applause by those in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Trump once again masked the bad for the good, despite the facts.
“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.”
He fails to mention the potential dangers of hazardous waste and oil through protected and pre-owned indigenous communities.
But one of the most talked about moments of the evening was the two-minute standing ovation he led for a Navy SEAL widow in attendance. “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,” Trump noted.
But what he failed to mention is that the Trump-ordered Yemen raid Owens took part in to gain intelligence, gained “no significant information” for the U.S.
“His speeches and the realities are very, very far apart,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said on CNN afterward. “Until his reality catches up with his speeches, he’s got big trouble.”
“We still don’t know what to believe,” Rep. Maxine Waters said of Trump’s speech. “Because of the distrust for Donald Trump, people listen to his words, but they’re waiting to see the actions. The words sound pretty empty to those of us who learned to distrust him.”
In the end, it appears Trump gave one of his finest speeches, by comparison, but sadly, there were little behind his idealistic words.