Perhaps Donald Trump’s greatest talent is his ability to feed fake news to his fans without interference from the mainstream press. In his signature move, he piles on a bunch of smaller lies and then follows up with an outrageous statement. The press then covers the controversy while ignoring the other nuggets. Meanwhile, his base reads them, sees that they have not been refuted and accepts them as truth. Perhaps this is one explanation for the fact that while his approval rating sits at a historically low 42%, only 2% of his voters regret their decision.

This weekend’s events marking Trump’s first 100 days in office provides an example of the problem as the press gets lost in their coverage of his “deeply disturbing” speech in Harrisburg while ignoring Trump’s weekly address. Meanwhile, this address contains outright lies that feed Trump’s alternate reality. Since our impotent press has failed to provide any type of fact-checking, I’ll do their job for them:

 

“My fellow Americans, I truly believe that the first 100 days of my Administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history.”

If Trump is not lying with this opening statement, then he is surely delusional. The hundred-day was initiated during the FDR administration as he responded to the crisis of the Great Depression and acted accordingly. Obama faced a Great Recession that was threatening to deepen and acted quickly by ushering in a stimulus package. Even if Trump had the ability to display this type of leadership, the circumstances of a deep, overwhelming crisis do not exist that would enable him to unite the country around a solution.


“Most importantly, we’re bringing back jobs. You asked the people of Michigan; you asked the people of Ohio; you can ask the people of Pennsylvania. See what’s happening. See the car companies come roaring back in. They don’t want to leave. They want to stay here. They want a piece of the action.

Trump was handed an economy that “has gained jobs for 75 straight months – the longest streak on record.” When Obama left office the unemployment rate stood “at 4.7 percent”. To put that in historical perspective, “in all the months since 1948 the median jobless rate was 5.6 percent.” Therefore, to say that Trump is “bringing BACK jobs” is in itself a violation of the truth.

While Trump likes to take credit for everything good that has happened since the beginning of the year or even since his election, there have only been two full months of economic reports since he actually took office. The February jobs report showed that 237,000 jobs were created in the first full month of Trump’s presidency, 1,000 LESS than the amount that was created in February 2016. “Employers pulled back sharply on hiring in March”, creating only 98,000 jobs. In March 2016, 225,000 jobs were created. 

“Our country is going up and it’s going up fast. Our companies are doing better they just announced fantastic profits all because of what’s happened in this rather short period of time.

The “gross domestic product increased at a meager 0.7% annual pace in the first three months of the year, down from 2.1% and 3.5% in the back half of 2016.” This was the “slowest growth in 3 years”.

And that’s just the beginning. We’re putting in a massive tax cut for the middle class and for business. It’s going to have an enormous effect.

Trump’s “plan” was nothing more than an outline on a single sheet of paper. When asked on ABC’s Good Morning America, Treasury Secretary, would not “guarantee that middle-class families wouldn’t pay more under the proposal.”

“The massive Keystone Pipeline, the Dakota Pipeline tens of thousands of jobs right there. And so many other businesses. We’re really proud of what we’re doing.

According to TransCanada’s bid for the permit, only 50 permanent jobs will be created to maintain the Keystone pipeline. It will also increase our trade deficit as it will be built to import Canadian oil into our country. “Just 40 full-time permanent positions will remain upon the conclusion of construction on the DAPL”. Despite previous assurances, neither project will require using American made steel.

“The F-35 fighter jet program it was way over budget. I’ve saved 725 million dollars plus, just by getting involved in the negotiation. We’re cutting costs, and we’re going to have a truly competitive and great country again.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a $400 billion program. Interestingly, Trump had just bragged on Monday that he had saved $700 million from this program, making this seem like nothing more than the tall tales of weekend fishermen. Additionally, these projected savings are not contained in a contract but in the “personal assurance” of Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson. The General Accounting Office says that due to “cascading testing delays” the project “could cost the Department of Defense more than a billion dollars more than what was budgeted in 2011 when the program was restructured.”

“In just fourteen weeks, my administration has brought profound change to Washington. The most fundamental change can be found in the relationship between the people and their government. For too long, politicians cared more about special interests than they did about a very successful future for all Americans. They took our taxpayers’ money, and sent their jobs and wealth to other countries. Not anymore. From the first day of my administration, I have governed by a simple idea: My only allegiance is to you, our wonderful citizens.”

As of today, 1,093,105 people have signed a petition at WhiteHouse.gov calling on the administration to “Immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance”. The information has not been released.

“Together we are seeing that great achievements are possible when we put American People first. That is why I withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That day was a turning point for our nation. It put the countries of this world on notice that the sellout of the American worker was over.

One of Trump’s first acts as President was to reverse an Obama action to cut “interest premiums on FHA mortgages” that would have saved “eligible homeowners an average of $500 a year.” His budget blueprint proposed cuts that included “$3 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant program, which includes Meals on Wheels among other housing and community programs.” 

“In the following weeks, I took unprecedented actions to reverse Federal overreach and unleash job creation. We have slashed burdensome regulations, and imposed a policy that for each new regulation, two regulations must be erased from the books.

This sounds like a policy developed by a second grader. While burdensome regulations that have not proven to be effective should be repealed, this policy assumes that all regulations were created equal. It is unclear how lifting a ban on the use of lead bullets on federal lands will unleash job creation, but this is an example of one of the environmental protections that Trump has taken.

“We’ve done it all while moving quickly to restore the most basic protection for all citizens, the rule of law.

The congress continues to investigate Michael Flynn and other members of the Trump administration for their relationships with the Russian government. “The White House is refusing to provide congressional investigators with some of the documents they’re requesting as part of an investigation into potential Trump campaign connections to Russia, and whether former national security adviser Mike Flynn disclosed payments from Russian companies when applying for his security clearance.

A truly great judge, Neil Gorsuch, now sits on the United States Supreme Court. Justice Gorsuch is deeply devoted to our Constitution. My Administration is the first in the modern political era to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice in the first 100 days the last time it happened was 136 years ago in 1881.

Merrick Garland is a moderate judge who should not have been nominated by a liberal President. However, like every other compromise that Obama attempted to make with the Republicans, they rebuffed the effort and refused to consider his nomination claiming that there was a “rule” that stated that “the Senate would not confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of a presidential election year”. Now the administration brags that it has been 136 years since there was opening for an incoming president as he took office. The Senate was clearly following a precedent that did not exist.

“Defending the rule of law is a priority, not just in the courts, but also on the streets and on the border. We’ve told the incredible police of our nation that they have our full support as they work to bring down violent crime rates. We’ve taken bold action to go after criminal cartels, and made it a top priority to prosecute anyone who targets law enforcement.”

While Trump continues to play Chicken Little, the homicide rate “has fallen continuously: for the last 25 years.” “The US homicide rate in 2014, the most recent year available, was 4.5 per 100,000.” This was the lowest rate since 1963. The fact that Trump continues with the politics of fear should not be surprising to anyone who remembers that he continued to call for the execution of the Central Park Five, even “after their sentences were vacated based on DNA evidence and the detailed and accurate confession of a serial rapist named Matias Reyes.”

“This has been the work of my administration fighting for the American worker, defending the rule of law, and returning the power to the American people. Since my inauguration, economic confidence has soared reaching higher than any time in 9 years. Optimism among manufacturers is at a record high. And small business confidence has seen its largest increase in nearly four decades. Perhaps the greatest change of all is the renewal of the American Spirit. As long as we have faith in each other, and trust in God, then the sun will always shine on our very Glorious Republic.

“Confidence” is an abstract item that does not result in any actual data. Remember that the same polls that are measuring this hopefulness are also showing that people continue to be fearful even as the crime rates fall. If job growth continues to lose steam, Trump may very quickly find himself in a situation where he is dealing with confidence bubbles that are popping around him. In the meantime, they are a pretty good indication that his talents as a master manipulator may be unsurpassed. P. T. Barnum would be proud.

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Carl Petersen is a parent and special education advocate and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. He was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com.