John Oliver slams Donald Trump over ‘lies’ to coal miners

John Oliver talks to the camera with a picture of coal on the screen behind him
John Oliver talks about Trump’s lack of vision for coal miners’ futures on Last Week Tonight

John Oliver has hit out over the coal industry and what he claims is misinformation from Donald Trump being fed to him by shady mining CEOs.

The Last Week Tonight host called out the President over job figures, which he branded “bulls***” , and said: “Trump needs to stop lying to coal miners. We all do.”

It was a telling past interview that Trump gave to Playboy (1990) that underscored Trump’s apparent insensitivity to the issue, as he was quoted as saying: “The coal miner gets black-lung disease, his son gets it, then his son.

“If I had been the son of a coal miner, I would have left the damn mines. But most people don’t have the imagination — or whatever — to leave their mine. They don’t have ‘it’.”

Oliver then highlighted how the fossil fuel energy industry is becoming increasingly automated, and explained why helping the coal industry doesn’t mean you are helping miners.

He said: “Like almost all industries, [coal] is facing increased automation…and I say that well aware that in five to ten years I am probably going to be replaced by a robotic English tea kettle that screams depressing money stats at you.”

Adding more grist to the mill, Oliver added: “Donald Trump insisted he’s helping miners by reducing regulations on coal companies, but too often people conflate coal, coal miners, and coal companies and imply that when you help one you help them all.

“But they are not all in the same boat…although they may insist otherwise.”

Oliver pointed out how since Trump’s candidacy days running for president, CEOs of coal companies have been lobbying the Trump administration to oppose more onerous criminal laws for mine owners.

Oliver said: “You know he [Trump] loves the miners so much, but there’s not much evidence of that. What there is evidence of is his affection for nine CEOs.”

Citing job statistics that the Trump administration claims they “brought back”, Oliver said: “Those numbers are bulls***, the Bureau of Labor Statistics have the actual number of coal jobs created since last year has been just 1,300 so that ‘50,000 new jobs’ plane was off by 48,700 which for this administration is actually uncharacteristically accurate.”

He added: “There is no doubt Trump claims coal is a huge priority for his White House and let’s set aside tonight the fact that it is environmentally catastrophic, which we shouldn’t because it is, but this president clearly doesn’t care about that. He pulled out the Paris agreement citing coal as one of the reasons.

“He’s lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands and revoked a rule to limit coal mining companies from dumping debris into local streams with miners behind him both times…so if coal jobs are so important to him let’s talk about them and let’s begin with a number because it’s smaller than you might think.”

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11pm ET/PT on HBO.

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