John Oliver devoted Sunday’s Last Week Tonight to the coal mining industry and President Donald Trump’s outreach to coal miners during the presidential campaign last year.
“Arguably, a key reason that we have this cautionary Bible story in the White House was his ability to connect with mining communities during the campaign,” Oliver said, before playing video of Trump during a campaign stop in West Virginia where the then-candidate said coal miners would be “working their asses off” if he were elected. During his stump speech, Trump wore a coal miners’ helmet and pantomimed shoveling coal.
“Okay, let me stop you right there. It is not easy watching someone I doubt has done a day of hard labor in his life show how he thinks coal mining works,” Oliver joked. “It’s like watching a 4-year-old play ‘store.’ Oh, that’s right Aidan. You just hand them your ducky and then you get cookies, you idiot.'”
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Oliver noted that while EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier this month that Trump had added “almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector,” that number was “bullsh–.”
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the actual number of coal jobs created since last year has been just 1,300. So that 50,000 new jobs claim was off by 48,700,” Oliver said of Pruitt’s claims. “Which for this administration is actually uncharacteristically accurate. I just assumed the figure would be more like 12 mining jobs and they’re not actually jobs, they’re lobsters. And Trump didn’t create them, he just remembered 12 times in his life he saw a lobster.”
After a lengthy segment about the coal industry — which featured, among other facts and figures, Oliver pointing out that floundering retail giant J.C. Penney employs more people than the entire coal industry — Oliver once again directed his ire toward Trump.
“Trump needs to stop lying to coal miners,” Oliver said. “We all do. 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.”
Watch the full segment above.