Throughout his campaign, President Trump repeatedly promised coal miners he would preserve their jobs. But on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver argued that the billionaire mogul preyed on communities desperate for hope as their industry dies out. “He barely gets what mining is,” the host shouted. “He may well think it’s just running up to things that he wants and yelling, ‘Mine!'”
The Trump administration has spouted inaccurate statistics about their support of coal miners. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently told Meet the Press that Trump had created 50,000 coal jobs since “fourth quarter of last year” – a figure Oliver described as “bullshit.” In reality, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, since last year, the number of new coal jobs is actually 1,300.
Oliver admitted that coal is a delicate topic: Some communities rely on these good-paying jobs, but the effects of mining are “environmentally catastrophic.” The ultimate goal, the host argued, should be transitioning these workers into suitable alternative fields – especially given the growth in renewable energies, like wind and solar.
When coal jobs go away, green jobs increase – just not where the coal miners live. According to a March NPR report, two prevalent mining states, West Virginia and Kentucky, rank near the bottom, 45th and 41st respectively, in solar jobs per capita.
Oliver also slammed the policies of coal company CEOs, like Murray Energy’s Bob Murray, who issued Last Week Tonight a cease and desist letter before the episode aired. But the host ultimately circled back to Trump, highlighting a troubling quote from a 1990 Playboy interview: “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.'”
The comedian ended his segment with a final dose of straight talk aimed not only at President Trump but also the entire country. “Trump needs to stop lying to coal miners,” he said. “We all do. Stop telling them 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 difficult and painful, albeit necessary, transition.”
Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it’s in charge of the most important political body in the world. Watch here.