Trump's speech contained little to nothing on the affordable housing crisis, the national debt, and protections for Dreamers, among other things.
Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday lasted one hour and 18 minutes. While he spent a great deal of time praising himself and arguing that the "state of our union is stronger than ever before," he neglected to address many of the most pressing issues facing the country and the nation's voters in November.
Among other things, Trump railed against "criminal aliens," suggesting migrants posed a threat to U.S. citizens — a claim not supported by any facts — suggested Democrats supported a complete socialist takeover of health care (they don't), and praised racist and sexist conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who recently revealed he is suffering from advanced lung cancer, before awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Trump's speech, however, was noticeably devoid of any mention of several major issues, including gun violence, climate change, and protections for immigrants brought to the country as children.
Trump has promised to address each of those issues — and more — in the past.
Perhaps the single most existential threat to humanity is climate change. Trump, who once proclaimed it a "hoax" invented by China but has recently called it a "very serious subject," did not mention the topic once during his address. His only discussion of the environment at all was a brief mention of the United States joining the One Trillion Trees initiative, which he called "an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world."
The Trump administration, meanwhile, has aggressively rolled back environmental protections that could allow businesses and agricultural industries to pollute U.S. waterways and wetlands, among other things.
Trump also made no mention of gun violence. There were more mass shootings than days in 2019 and, though Trump vowed "strong measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous and deranged individuals" last summer, he has completely abandoned that promise.
Instead, he said Tuesday that the right to bear arms is "under siege all across our country" and vowed to "always protect your Second Amendment right."
Trump mostly ignored the issue of public education. Rather than outline any vision for how to improve the system for the almost 51 million kids in American public schools, he focused exclusively on how to get one million kids out of "failing government schools" by sending public funds to private and parochial schools.
The estimated 3.6 million Dreamers in the country went entirely unmentioned in Trump's speech.
Trump once promised to negotiate a deal to ensure a legal status for these undocumented young people brought to the United States as children, but has since fought to deport them and blamed Democrats for his actions. His address did falsely imply that undocumented immigrants are more likely to be criminals and included a call for a prohibition on "free health care for illegal aliens."
Racism and hate crimes
Though hate crimes are up under Trump, he made no mention of combating discrimination or bias crimes based on race, Islamophobia, xenophobia, sexual orientation, or gender identity. His administration has rolled back an array of civil rights protections, despite his promise to be "president for all Americans."
After promising to eliminate the budget deficit and national debt, both have soared to new heights under Trump. He made no mention of either during his speech, despite having repeatedly framed them as a pressing concern during the Obama years.
Finally, Trump spent a good part of his speech complaining that many American cities have refused to let Trump's administration use their public safety officers to enforce federal immigration policy. But though he railed against these "sanctuary cities," he did not mention the real crisis facing urban America: the lack of affordable housing. In his 2017 inaugural address, he had vowed to immediately stop the "American carnage" facing American inner cities. Trump has been criticized for largely ignoring the housing shortage.
"Unlike so many who came before me, I keep my promises," Trump declared early in his speech.
In these areas, he has broken his promises and dropped the subject altogether.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.