Donald Trump lied at his State of the Union when he said veteran Tony Rankins benefitted from the administration's 'opportunity zones' tax breaks.
Donald Trump's State of the Union address was riddled with misinformation. A new report from the Associated Press reveals that Trump even lied about a formerly homeless veteran he invited to the speech as a guest.
At Trump's Feb. 4 address, he pointed to Rankins, an Army veteran invited by the White House to attend the speech, and claimed he worked for a construction company that invested in the administration's "opportunity zones" program, an attempt to get businesses to invest in low-income neighborhoods via tax breaks.
"After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house and his family. He was homeless," Trump said. "But then Tony found a construction company that invests in Opportunity Zones. He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family."
But Rankins started his construction job four months before the Treasury Department announced its final list of neighborhoods eligible for the tax break, the AP reported on Thursday. And further, the hotel Rankins was working on was ineligible to benefit from the program.
The Treasury Department is currently investigating whether or not wealthy individuals connected to the Trump administration are misusing the tax breaks.
In addition to lying about Rankins, Trump misled Americans on several other topics.
On the issue of health care, the Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, including provisions in the law that protect people with preexisting conditions from having to pay more for health care. Yet in his address, Trump falsely claimed to "always protect patients with preexisting conditions."
While several states are losing manufacturing jobs under his administration, Trump used the State of the Union to claim his administration is "restoring our nation's manufacturing might." In fact, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin lost 27,000 manufacturing jobs from January through September 2019, thanks in large part to Trump's trade war with China.
Trump also claimed to "cherish religion" and defended his administration's work to defend "religious liberty." Yet the statement came days after Trump expanded the number of countries included in his Muslim travel ban.
Trump also spent nearly 10 minutes attacking immigrants, including perpetuating false allegations about the violence of immigrants (immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans), falsely implying sanctuary cities are less safe (they are safer), and making false claims about his immigration reforms.
According to a Washington Post analysis, Trump has told more than 16,000 lies since he took office. The analysis was completed before February's State of the Union address.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.