HBO’s John Oliver blasted the constant lies that President Donald Trump has used to give false hopes to coal miners desperate for work.
“I made them this promise,” Trump said in March, “we will put our miners back to work.”
Oliver noted that it isn’t easy to watch someone like Trump, who he doubts has ever done a hard day’s labor in his life, “show how he thinks coal mining should work.” According to Oliver, Trump might actually think it’s about “running up to things that he wants and yelling ‘mine!'”
On Sunday’s “Late Week Tonight,” Oliver showed a clip of Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who tried to claim that the Trump administration has added almost “50,000 new jobs in the coal sector.” The numbers are actually better for former President Barack Obama’s administration than the first few months of Trump’s administration.
Unfortunately, those who actually work in the coal industry have said that Trump’s fantasy is nothing more than a false promise based on imaginary policy and fake data.
Robert Murray, who founded the world’s largest privately owned and operated coal company, told The Guardian that technology and competition are what took coal jobs.
“I suggested that he temper his expectations. Those are my exact words,” Murray said. “He can’t bring them back.”
“I would not say it’s a good time in the coal industry. It’s a better time,” he continued. “Politically it’s much better. Barack Obama and his Democrat supporters were the greatest destroyers the United States of America has ever seen in its history. He destroyed reliable electric power in America, he destroyed low-cost electric power in America, and he attempted to totally destroy the United States coal industry.”
Currently, there are only 76,000 coal jobs in the U.S., which has actually gone up since the recession. However, Oliver compared it to the retail industry that is suffering far worse, losing 30,000 jobs in a month in 2017. Retailer J.C. Penney is nearing bankruptcy, and the company employs 114,000 people — which is 38,000 more than the entire coal industry.
The environmental problems that the coal industry has created garnered restrictions and protections from the Obama administration, but Trump has blamed the regulations for stifling the industry.
“This president clearly doesn’t care about [the environment],“ Oliver said. “He pulled out of the Paris agreement, citing coal as one of the reasons. He has lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands. And he revoked a rule to limit coal-mining companies from dropping debris into local streams, with miners behind him both times.”
Oliver said if Trump really cared he would be putting a plan in place that helps miners as their industry declines. Instead, Trump’s budget cuts funding to programs that help miners with retraining.
“Why would a guy who says he loves miners all the time do that?” Oliver asked.
Oliver played a 1990 interview Trump did with Playboy, in which he revealed “how he really feels” about the coal industry.
“If I had been the son of a coal miner, I would have left the damn mines,” Trump said. “But most people don’t have the imagination—or whatever—to leave their mine. They don’t have ‘it.’”
Oliver wasn’t sure what exactly “it” was.
“And you know what? They certainly don’t have what Trump has, specifically inherited wealth and hair like the wispy pubes of an aging yeti,” Oliver mocked.
“But the point here is: Trump needs to stop lying to coal miners. We all do,” he closed. “Stop telling them that their jobs are all coming back when they’re not, stop telling them that coal is clean when it isn’t, and stop pretending that this isn’t an industry in the middle of a painful—albeit necessary—transition. An honest conversation about coal and its miners needs to be had, and we should neither cease nor desist from having it.”