Liar in Chief: Trump’s first Oval Office speech, a litany of lies

Herb Boyd with additional reporting by Nayaba Arinde, Amsterdam News Editor | 1/10/2019, 10:53 a.m.
If there is one good thing to cheer and applaud in Trump’s first Oval Office speech to the nation—it was ...
President Donald Trump White House photo

Meanwhile, a quarter of the government remains in lockdown and nearly a million government employees are waiting for the New Year to brighten.

Yes, Trump is right, there’s a national emergency and he has promulgated much of it.

In a joint statement Make the Road organizations in Nevada, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said, “In an effort to undermine Congress and continue his anti-immigrant racist ploy, Donald Trump is lying to the people and manufacturing a fictitious national emergency. Trump cannot turn the military into his own personal company to build his absurd, racist and expensive border wall.

“The real crisis is the fact that immigrant children are dying at the hands of ICE and CBP, the families that have been separated at the border, and the 800,000 federal employees and their families whose paychecks and livelihoods are being held hostage. The only crisis at the border has been caused by this administration’s cruel policies toward children and families.

“Not one dollar should be given for Trump’s wall or his out-of-control deportation machine. The Senate should pass the bipartisan House bills to reopen the government, and Trump should come to his senses and end this government shutdown.”

The whole town is buzzing as the drip, drip fallout of the shutdown takes effect. As local federal workers such as tristate TSA employees enact the “blue flu,” the 800,000 furloughed or work without pay nervously eye the next few days with Trump’s threat of a shutdown lasting weeks or even years. Other everyday people turn thoughts to much anticipated tax returns, food stamps and social services being held up. Tourist and city draws such as The African Burial Ground and Hamilton Grange National Memorial stay closed. A negative economic effect is a real possibility. “Every day, Trump further diminishes the office of the presidency, and this stunt was just another extension of that damage, using the Oval Office to gain a wider audience for his lies and fear-mongering,” said New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams. “Trump is attempting to manufacture a crisis to cover for his ineptitude, and scapegoating vulnerable populations to advance his nationalist agenda.

“As hundreds of thousands of federal workers lose out on the paychecks they and their families depend on, as important services are denied the American people because of the shutdown, he continues to deflect, to lie and to stoke hatred and fear with a ‘crisis’ of his own making.”

Williams concluded, “Real crises are the over half a million homeless individuals in our country, the tens of millions without health insurance, the 30,000 people killed each year in the gun violence epidemic. On a local level, we will continue to work on solutions to these issues. If Trump could turn his attention from an asinine wall, maybe our federal government could do the same. This address was nothing more than political hackery by a man who is himself a national crisis.”

Of Trump’s threat to declare a national state of emergency Ana María Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, labelled it “a dangerous attempt to undermine the safety of all people in this country.” She noted, “This is the latest in a series of racist, anti-immigrant attacks that are meant to fuel hatred. But worse of all, the move suggests that Trump wants to use the military and violence as tools to build his expensive border wall.

“President Trump has inflicted tremendous pain on human beings: children are dying in the custody of ICE and CPB; thousands of children are separated from their families and living in jail-like facilities; hundreds of thousands of TPS and DACA recipients have lost their status protections and are now in limbo; and over 800,000 federal workers are going without pay. This is a crisis of his own creation. We urge Congress to not succumb to his bullying and irresponsible tactics.

“Congress must reopen the government and reject funding for the border wall.”