Nothing Donald Trump said on Tuesday amounted to a hill of beans.
It did not matter that President Trump called for bipartisanship. Or that he bragged that America is reasserting its leadership in the world. Or that he called for a compassionate resolution to the plight of undocumented immigrants.
It did not matter that Trump struck a more conciliatory tone. Or that, in the view of some, he sounded “presidential,” whatever that word once meant.
Sorry, but we were unmoved throughout Trump’s State of the Union address, though we sure wanted to believe him when he promised to move our country forward “as one team, one people, one American family.”
Somebody else definitely wrote that line.
Donald Trump has shamed our country and trashed our city for so long, and his words now mean nothing. That’s the simple truth. Anything the man says, especially when he’s reading off a teleprompter, is subject to erasure in a morning-after tweet.
From the perspective of Chicago, a city Trump has whacked like a pinata, the state of the union one year into his presidency goes something like this:
Trump and Republicans in Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, try as they might, but they slashed funding and reduced the enrollment period. In doing so, they have threatened the health of some 300,000 Chicagoans who have healthcare today because of the ACA. Since Obamacare was introduced, the percentage of uninsured people in Chicago has plummeted from 19.7 percent in 2013 to 10.5 percent in 2015.
Trump has lamented the “carnage” in Chicago and asked “What the hell is going on?” — thanks for those constructive words, sir — but his Justice Department is attempting to deny the city millions of dollars in public safety funds. The Chicago Police could use that money to buy SWAT equipment, vehicles and the like.
And why, might you ask, is the Trump administration trying to hold back the money? Because our city refuses to unlawfully hold people without cause or warrants, solely because they may be undocumented immigrants, until federal immigration officials can pick them up and swoop them away.
Chicago is a “sanctuary city,” that is to say, up against a president who demonizes immigrants, at least if they come from “s—hole countries.”
The Trump administration is undercutting the Environmental Protection Agency, once a true partner to Chicago in protecting Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes. He is cutting the EPA’s funding and twisting its mission.
His administration has appointed fossil fuel lobbyists to top EPA positions, cut funds to the Great Lakes Restoration Act budget and attempted to roll back the Clean Power Act. Just three months ago, Chicago sued U.S. Steel under that law to keep the steelmaker from dumping pollutants into the lake — our drinking water.
Trump and the Republican Congress passed a tax “reform” plan that is miserable for Chicago and Illinois. It cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations far more than for the middle class. It increases taxes on the poor, eliminates a deduction for state and local taxes, and will cause the national debt to soar.
There is no end to it, but you get the idea.
Trump’s word means nothing. His State of the Union speech was an exercise in, once again, trying to put one over on us.
Only Trump’s actions matter now, and his actions are deplorable.
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