PFAW Denounces Trump’s Joint Address to Congress as ‘Hate, Rebranded’

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Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way (PFAW) denounced Donald Trump’s joint address last night, calling it, in an email to supporters today, “Hate, rebranded.” Keegan warned that while “Donald Trump’s speech last night being heralded by some in the media for striking a “softer tone” and sounding “more presidential” than Trump’s previous overtly hateful, ego romp, lie-filled speeches,” that “the threat from Trump and his Republican allies just became more dangerous, not less.”

As Keegan points out,

There was no “pivot.” What we saw was the same hate, the same bigotry, the same extremism, and the same insidious distortions of reality … but in a shiny new package now loaded onto a tele-prompter, couched in the kind of Orwellian doublespeak and slick marketing that could give Trump and Republicans a boost in popularity, despite their having the exact same agenda. Nothing has changed. But they’re learning to hide it better.

It has been observed both here and elsewhere that far from offering anything new, Trump was appealing to the same false populism employed by him during his campaign, and Keegan agrees:

Trump was still in full campaign mode — he used grieving families as political props, and made big, vague promises with no details about how to achieve (or afford) them. And he pandered to the demographic base of working class whites that, outside of the Republican Party faithful, forms the core of his support, with anecdotes about brands (like Harley Davidson) and kind words and promises for the police and military.

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Trump’s dishonesty was in full display last night, with fact-checkers having a field day pointing to his multitude of lies:

With his administration void of actual accomplishments, he resorted to claiming some of the accomplishments of his predecessor as his own. Trump likes to say he inherited a mess, but he inherited an economy that had been picking up steam for years after the debacle created by the previous Republican administration and despite congressional Republicans’ best efforts at economic sabotage all throughout the Obama presidency. Astonishingly, Trump even subtly tried to highjack ownership of the most popular ideas in the Affordable Care Act.
 
Finally, while Trump mostly stuck to the teleprompter and avoided repeating some of his most outrageous whoppers, the level of dishonesty was still shocking by any normal standards. In addition to the selective use of misleading stats and examples about immigrants, crime, and terrorism, Trump cast all regulations and standards set by the government to protect consumers, workers, and the public as government overreach that takes away Americans’ choices and even their rights. A dangerous and corrosive message to sell a dangerous and corrosive agenda…

As Keegan says, there was no pivot last night, much as some in the media obsess over seeing such a thing. Having been fooled repeatedly by Trump in the past, some of them seem to nourish a good story more than actual facts.

This isn’t happening. Trump isn’t changing. In the immortal words of Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson, “He hasn’t changed his position on immigration. He’s changed the words that he is saying.”

Just as it was before, Donald Trump’s is a message is one of hate.