On Christmas Eve the Trump campaign launched a website to guide its supporters in holiday political debates with their liberal, “snowflake” relatives. To assist any “snowflakes” on the receiving end of the campaign’s falsehoods and blatant distortions of fact, a point-by-point takedown follows:
The Trump Economy: In demonstrating how strong the “Trump economy” supposedly is, the campaign’s holiday debate guide highlights job growth since Trump assumed office. But job creation has slowed significantly since January 2017. Despite Trump’s relentless self-aggrandizing and bragging, a whopping 1 million fewer jobs were created during Trump’s first 34 months in office compared to Obama’s last 34. Period.
The Trump campaign also points to record low unemployment. In response, “snowflakes” should show their Trump-supporting friends and relatives a graph of the unemployment rate over the last decade and challenge them to point out where – exactly – things magically changed when Trump took over. Unsurprisingly, Trump supporters have no response. Unemployment has declined at a consistent rate since early 2010, meaning that nothing changed after Trump became president. Trump is loudly taking credit for the Obama administration’s aggressive economic recovery measures which, according to the experts, saved the American economy.
Moreover, Trump promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. But the truth is that manufacturing now accounts for the smallest share of the American economy in 72 years.
Thanks to Trump’s tariffs, which amounted to the largest tax increase on Americans in decades, farm bankruptcies and farmer suicides have spiked.
Meanwhile, median household income, an important economic measure, has remained largely stagnant over Trump’s first three years in office. Trump administration spin aside, increases in household income trail those under Obama, which grew steadily toward the end of his administration.
Despite Trump’s overblown boasts about the economy, his campaign is suspiciously silent on the most important economic measure of them all: Annual economic growth. With Trump’s promises of “4 percent, 5 percent, even 6 percent” economic growth, his campaign’s silence is not surprising. Growth will slow significantly this year, demolishing Trump’s absurd predictions of “6 percent” growth. Indeed, Trump will end his first term with a high of 2.9 percent growth (in 2018), tying Obama’s economic record.
Moreover, stock market gains under Trump lag significantly compared to those under Obama and President Clinton.
When it comes to the economy, Trump’s schoolyard boasting is just louder and more relentless than his more-humble predecessors.
Immigration: Deportations are far lower at this point in the Trump administration than they were during the Obama administration.
The Trump campaign’s holiday debate guide also attempts to link immigration detention “cages” to the Obama administration. To be clear, separating migrant families was a Trump administration policy. There was no blanket policy separating children from their parents under previous administrations.
Military Spending by Allies: Trump often takes credit for persuading countries in the NATO alliance to spend more on defense. But our NATO allies have been steadily increasing defense spending since 2014, when Russia invaded eastern Ukraine.
America is now the laughingstock of the world. And, with Trump siding with authoritarians and dictators around the world, American credibility and popularity on the international stage have plummeted to historic lows.
Trade Deals: Without relentless insistence by Democrats on labor and environmental protections, Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would have been nearly identical to NAFTA. This is not a “win” for Trump.
Health care: Trump (and GOP) efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act resulted in 1.1 million Americans losing health coverage in 2018. This breaks a 10-year streak of rising numbers of insured Americans.
Two-thirds of Americans filing for bankruptcy do so because they cannot afford to pay medical bills — often despite having health insurance. Perhaps worse, America is seeing an alarming increase in “deaths of despair,” particularly among the white, working-class citizens who came out in droves to vote Trump into office. Perhaps their votes for the “angry,” scapegoating candidate were grounded in a dramatic decline in their health, economic fortunes and overall quality of life.
The Trump Tax Cuts: The Trump campaign claims that Trump’s massive tax cuts – his only legislative accomplishment – are driving economic growth. But a devastating analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that the Trump tax cuts had virtually no effect on the economy. Moreover, the Trump tax cuts did not boost workers’ wages. Instead, they went to corporate stock buybacks, which benefit the ultra-wealthy.
This stunning lack of economic growth begs the question: Why are we racking up trillions of dollars in debt (much of it bought up by China) thanks to the massive Trump tax cuts for the rich?
Indeed, as a direct result of Trump’s tax cuts, 2018 was the first year ever that tax revenues actually declined in a relatively strong economy. This paved the way for the Trump administration to post the largest monthly deficit in U.S. history, exploding the federal debt. Where is the Tea Party outrage on this?
While many commentators blame Obama for skyrocketing debt during his administration, they conveniently ignore that those increases – according to the U.S. Treasury – were overwhelmingly due to the long-term effects of the George W. Bush tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. This graph makes it quite clear.
Beyond Trump’s astronomical debt increases, the only other discernible effect of the Trump tax cuts appears to be an explosion in wealth and income inequality. Indeed, inequality in America is now at levels not seen since 1929, when Wall Street greed caused the Great Depression.
For his part, Trump told his ultra-rich friends that “You all just got a lot richer” immediately after his tax cuts were passed.
Impeachment and Quid Pro Quo: Given the facts, there is zero doubt that Trump withheld crucial military assistance to an ally at war for personal political gain. That is the definition of “corruption.”
Trump’s own political appointees (including his acting chief of staff and budget director), widely-respected diplomats, a Purple Heart recipient, foreign policy professionals, career budget officials (rightly concerned with obeying federal law) and a leading Fox News analyst have all made the president’s corrupt intent an indisputable fact. Indeed, why was critical military aid to Ukraine halted just 91 minutes after Trump’s (not-so-perfect) call with the Ukrainian president?
More importantly, if Trump did nothing wrong and has nothing to hide, why is the White House refusing to let four key officials testify? Do innocent people go out of their way to bury the facts?
Why are Republicans – supposedly impartial jurors in an impeachment trial – engaging in “total coordination” with the accused? In any other American court the judge would immediately order such jurors removed and replaced before going to trial.
It should hardly be surprising that 55 percent of Americans support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. That number will only grow as more details of Trump’s corrupt actions emerge.
Bonus fact: Trump was against providing lethal military aid to Ukraine, blowing up a favorite Republican talking point.
Joe BidenJoe BidenPrimary debates threaten to leave people of color behind Longtime campaign aide vows Sanders will continue to combat political establishment as president 2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics MORE and Ukraine: America’s NATO allies, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and Ukrainian anti-corruption activists all publicly called for the removal of a corrupt and ineffective Ukrainian prosecutor. To the relief of America’s allies and patriotic Ukrainians, Biden managed to get him fired.
Importantly, the Ukrainian company that hired Biden’s son was not under investigation when Biden intervened. Moreover, there is zero evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden. On the contrary, the removal of an ineffective prosecutor represented an enormous victory in the fight against endemic corruption in Ukraine. Biden should be commended for his efforts.
Trump, on the other hand, undercut and sidelined the most effective voices against corruption in Ukraine for personal political gain.
The Trump Economy, the Environment, and Oil Production: The Trump campaign’s holiday guide claims that “Trump has taken important steps to restore, preserve, and protect our land, air, and waters.”
Could the campaign be referring to Trump green-lighting toxic emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants? Or perhaps the litany of ways the Trump administration has dismantled laws and regulations protecting healthy, safe and clean drinking water? Could the campaign be referring to Trump exposing American workers to toxic particulates and dust? The list goes on and on, and it’s not pretty.
As detailed above, the rollback of these critical health and environmental regulations did not result in a spike in economic growth, making their repeal utterly unnecessary — not to mention dangerous for all Americans.
Lastly, the Trump campaign takes credit for the United States becoming the world’s largest oil producer. But this trend began in 2011. Trump had nothing to do with it.
More importantly, with a staggering 120,000 weather records broken in the U.S. this year alone and the world’s top companies projecting at least $1 trillion in costs due to climate change, Trump has very little to crow about.
Marik von Rennenkampff served as an analyst with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, as well as an Obama administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Defense. Follow him on Twitter @MvonRen.