A million years ago on February 4th, Donald Trump gave his 2020 State of the Union address, which was filled with all the standard rhetoric, hyperbole, and outright lies about, well, the state of our union in America. But like every such address from any president, Trump of course had special anecdotes about special guests at the speech — testaments to what great success he’s enjoying as the leader of the free world.
One of those stories, it turns out after some research by AP reporters, was a complete fabrication.
Trump played host to a formerly homeless veteran, recovering from addiction, named Tony Rankins that night, and told the assembled crowd that Tony’s story was one of courage, redemption, and of course, a massive helping of Trump’s own goodwill and robust social policy. I’m being snarky, but there was no shortage of Trump patting himself on the back as he detailed Tony’s rags-to-riches tale.
In a well-rehearsed bit that recalled Trump’s endless crowing about the “black unemployment rate” — a term that couldn’t be used more frequently by an avowed Klan member — the President explained that Rankins would surely still be a crackhead on the streets were it not for his administration’s “Opportunity Zones” tax incentives for businesses, breaks that target low-income neighborhoods.
After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house and his family. He was homeless. But then Tony found a construction company that invests in Opportunity Zones. He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family.”
The AP report, however, tells a story that’s not quite as friendly to Trump’s policy:
Rankins, who indeed moved out of his car and into an apartment since landing a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel two years ago, doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks and never has done so. In fact, he started that job four months before the Treasury Department published its final list of neighborhoods eligible for the breaks. And the hotel where he worked couldn’t benefit even now because it’s an area that didn’t make the cut.”
The article goes on to detail Trump telling the story again at another speech and even inviting Rankins onstage to participate in the lie, gushing to a crowd in North Carolina that he “wouldn’t be standing here before you right now” had it not been for Trump signing the bill that didn’t exist when Tony got the job he somehow got before it was signed.
But really, the question that lingers with me, since we all know Trump is full of shit, especially when it comes to helping black people, is if this story isn’t actually true… ARE there any success stories from the so-called Opportunity Zones? Have they done anything at all, or is it like Donald’s own personal “Be Best” initiative, full of style and lacking substance?
I think we can probably bank on the latter.
Featured image via screen capture
Like what you see here? Join the discussion on Facebook over at Americans For Sanity!