Donald Trump's proudly proclaimed "new American moment" is starting off with a lot of whoppers and omissions that historians will find mind-blowing.
Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan still has no details and no way forward to work out a fair private-public partnership that won't lead to huge tolls and fees for consumers. Trump was wrong to say a permit to build a normal road takes 10 years. The average period is 4.7 years. He wants to cut Amtrak funding and said nothing about back-to-back Amtrak disasters.
When Trump claims 2.4 million jobs have been created under his presidency he is forgetting that 600,000 of those were created in the last months of the Obama administration. In fact, job growth since Trump took office has been the slowest gain since 2010.
Trump insists the tax bill he signed provides the largest tax cut in American history. That is not true. The largest was during Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1981. He also claims the tax cuts most benefit the average family. That is not true. Three-fourths of Trump's $1.1 trillion in individual cuts go to people earning $200,000 a year or more. Family tax cuts soon expire; corporate taxes are permanent.
Trump proclaimed that "there has never been a better time to live the American dream." The stock market may be booming, but 44 percent of Americans do not have even $400 in savings. There are nearly twice as many payday lenders as there are Starbucks.
On the same day Trump hailed the American dream, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it is no longer providing food and water to Puerto Ricans, who are Americans, despite their continuing devastation after two hurricanes.
"Dreamers," young immigrants legally working and studying but brought to the U.S. by parents without documents, fear mass deportation Trump ordered for March unless Congress gives him $25 billion for the wall Mexico was supposed to fund.
Trump took credit for the "African American unemployment rate being at "the lowest rate ever recorded." But it hit its peak in March 2010 with 16.8 percent and has declined since. It was 7.7 percent when Trump took office and is now 6.8 percent.
Trump touts one-time worker bonuses averaging $1,000 to $2,000 that he says his policies spawned. But most are in the financial services industry; fewer than 2.5 percent of all workers got bonuses.
Historians will be stunned at Trump's omissions. He did not talk about guns or refer in depth to last October when a heavily armed man killed 58 and injured more than 500 at a music festival in Las Vegas or the Texas shootings a few weeks later when a man walked into a small Texas church and killed 26 worshippers. He noted he is defending the Second Amendment to permit more gun ownership. "We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip," he added.
Trump did not talk about Russia's continuing interference in America's elections or his decision not to impose sanctions on Russians that Congress authorized. Trump's CIA director said he expects Russia to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections. Nothing has been done to prevent it.
Having escalated tensions with North Korea over its pursuit of nuclear weapons that can reach the U.S. mainland, Trump gave no new information, saying only, "We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening."
Trump also failed to mention the #MeToo movement, which has captured the nation's attention after sexual assault and harassment accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein in October led to hundreds of women telling their own stories of unwanted encounters in all forms of life. Dozens of Democratic women wore black to support the movement.
Oddly, Trump's order to keep Guantanamo prison open in Cuba came as only 41 prisoners are left. Many Americans had hoped it would be shut down as an unwanted symbol to the world of prisoners held by the U.S. without due process. For 10 years new prisoners have not been sent there. Trump said he's reversing that policy.
Trump intended to launch his "new American moment" with a bang in his first State of the Union speech; it is likely to end with a whimper.
– Ann McFeatters is a columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at email@example.com.