Donald Trump successfully mixed two of his favorite standbys — racist dog whistles and outright lies — by insisting that nothing was built under President Obama's Recovery Act, and that most of the money went to "social programs."
Donald Trump is never more at home when he is lying, with the possible exception of when he is being an overt racist. He recently combined both of those pastimes during a “CEO Town Hall on Unleashing American Business” in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Along with his usual boasts about the “unbelievable credit” he’s getting (for jobs that he had nothing to do with creating), Trump dropped in a dog-whistling lie that surely pleased his fans:
A lie and a dogwhistle: Trump says “nobody ever saw anything being built” with Obama Recovery Act funds, ” they used it on social programs.” pic.twitter.com/akSKMzE8dB
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) April 4, 2017
And if we are going to give all of this money — you know, there was very large infrastructure bill that was approved during the Obama administration — a trillion dollars — nobody ever saw anything being built. I mean, to this day, I haven’t heard of anything that’s been built. They used most of that money — it went, and they used it on social programs.
The message about “social programs” was a clear invocation of the “welfare queen” lie that Republicans have been reviving of late, but the fact is that Recovery Act programs like emergency unemployment extensions benefited millions of Republican voters.
As for the central lie that nothing was built using Recovery Act funds, Twitter users fact-checked Trump in vividly personal terms:
— LAWoman (@pamster2009) April 5, 2017
— betz (@grtamericanovel) April 4, 2017
— Tom Sullivan (@BloggersRUs) April 4, 2017
@tommyxtopher I designed more than one public building reno using those funds in rural areas. Those were real.
— sh!pper?? (@shipper_phile) April 4, 2017
@tommyxtopher The 6 lane avenue 200ft from my house was redone w/ Obama Money. GOP were good at hiding where the money spent in their districts came form
— Gerardo Ritchey (@GerardoRitchey) April 4, 2017
@tommyxtopher We used to make a family game when driving of finding the Recovery Fund Act sign on projects we passed. We passed a lot of those signs.
— Linda Gillis Gentile (@kwajalinda) April 4, 2017
@tommyxtopher Complete BS …. literally the 10/405 ( the busiest intersection in America ) was expanded by those funds. Saw the sign everyday for 5 yrs
— Yuri Thomas (@YuriThomas99) April 5, 2017
In fact, it was Republicans who blocked President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which would have created over a million new jobs and further rebuilt infrastructure around the country.
Aside from the obvious, Trump’s declaration is part of a pattern of attacking the legacy of President Obama, which is, itself, a recognition of the fact that Trump cannot possibly live up to it. Unfortunately for him, Americans who personally benefited from President Obama’s presidency are not so easily going to fall for Trump’s alternate history.