A mess called the State of the Union Address

Max Reeder, Editor-in-Chief of the Prowler Online Publication

On Feb. 4, 2020, President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress to update them and the American citizens about the state of our union. 

His speech was full of misleading statements and political division.

Trump kicked off the night by rattling on for five minutes about the historically low unemployment rates in the U.S. 

After watching the president brag about “his” accomplishments, I couldn’t help but wonder: How did he get the unemployment rate so low?

The answer is he didn’t. 

President Trump boasted record low numbers of unemployment in the United States. Lowest unemployment rates for Americans with disabilities, veterans, youth and other minority groups. These numbers are the lowest in recent history, but it started during the Obama Administration. 

According to the Washington Post, the year after Obama was sworn into office, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was near ten percent. Because of his economic policies, Obama was able to get the unemployment rate under five percent. 

In 2019, it was about 3.7 percent. 

“If we hadn’t reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration, the world would not now be witnessing this great economic success,” Trump said. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t really reverse anything. 

Many of the economic achievements that Trump bragged about were the work of  President Obama, and he stood up at that podium and took credit for all of it.

About halfway through the speech, while on the topic of healthcare, Trump switched things up in a way that couldn’t have been predicted. 

He announced that Rush Limbaugh, an American radio personality, would be given a Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

“Here tonight is a special man, loved by millions of Americans, who just received a stage four cancer diagnosis. This is not good news,” Trump said. “But what is good news, is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet. Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to your country.”

Trump cited his inspiring words to millions of Americans as one of the reasons why he was given the award. Many lawmakers, journalists and activists quickly criticised this move, as Limbaugh has built his career on perceived racism, sexism and homophobia. 

How inspiring? 

Limbaugh was given one of the highest civilian honors in our country. Other recognizable recipients include Bill Gates, Ellen Degeneres, Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks.

This was just another stunt to divide Republicans and Democrats, and speak to his fan base.

He drew further division when talking about immigration. On the topic of sanctuary cities, Trump claimed that politicians “order police to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed.” 

While sanctuary cities do give a certain level of protections to undocumented immigrants, it’s dangerous to generalize all of these people as “dangerous criminals” when many of them are just here for better economic opportunities. 

According to The Washington Post, Trump made at least 31 comments that were misleading or untruthful. 

Allowing a president to stand in front of his nation and give a speech littered with misleading statements – and flat out lies – is disgraceful.