Donald Trump appeared in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Thursday night for a rally. While there, he made some unusual claims about the Great Lakes that left many wondering what the president was talking about, according to The Hill.
“I support the Great Lakes. Always have. They are beautiful. They are big, very deep. Record deepness, right?” he said. “And I am going to get, in honor of my friends, full funding of $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which you have been trying to get for over 30 years. So, we will get it done.”
There are a few things about his statement that were pointed out by The Hill as confusing. First, the Great Lakes are actually relatively shallow. Lake Superior is the largest lake in terms of surface area and is 1,332 deep at its deepest point. Lake Erie, on the other hand, tops out at just 210 feet deep, while Lake Huron is 751 feet deep. By comparison, the deepest lake in the United States is Crater Lake, in Oregon. The volcanic crater is 1,949 deep. Lake Tahoe is 1,645 feet deep, and Lake Chelan in Washington is 1,486 feet deep.
While many people on social media were quick to point out these facts in the wake of Trump’s remarks, the second issue with his statement is more serious and has caused some backlash for the president.
Before making his comment about the lakes’ depth, he attempted to excite the audience by teasing his announcement.
“We have some breaking news!” Trump said. “I don’t think you can handle it.”
He then went on to claim that he would be funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative because he has always supported the lakes.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 29, 2019
According to The Detroit Free Press, this isn’t true. Less than a month ago, Trump proposed a budget that would gut the initiative, slashing funding from $300 million to $30 million. In fact, every budget Trump has issued has attempted to slash the program by 90 percent. In his first year in office, he proposed eliminating the budget entirely. Congress has overruled the president and has continued to fund the restoration.
Essentially, Trump issued a repudiation of his own budget proposals at the speech in Michigan, which drew cheers from the lively crowd on Thursday evening.
Ohio Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur called Trump’s attempts to gut the program “disastrous,” according to Cleveland.com.
“It is an insult to the 30 million people who rely on the Great Lakes that he would even put such a disastrous proposal on the table,” Kaptur said.
Fact check: At his Michigan rally, President Trump misstated the findings of the Mueller investigation, misleadingly promised to protect patients with pre-existing conditions and falsely described funding for a restoration program for the Great Lakes https://t.co/BwXEoUSckx
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 29, 2019