At a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, on December 18 — the same night of the impeachment vote in the House of Representatives — Donald Trump made an extended speech in which he attacked recently manufactured dishwashers for wasting water and electricity. In the seemingly improvised diatribe, Trump claimed that “women tell me” they need to press the start button “12 times” in order for the appliance to use “four drops of water.”
He also appeared to claim that older model dishwashers could complete a load of dishes in five minutes.
“Remember the dishwasher? You’d press it, boom! There’d be like an explosion. Five minutes later you open it up, the steam pours out,” Trump said, as quoted by NBC News. Trump also claimed that due to the supposed need to “press it” multiple times, newer dishwashers that are manufactured in accordance with energy conservation regulations will require consumers to “spend more on water and electric.”
Trump went on to say that “the whole thing is worse” due to the allegedly increased consumer spending on “water and electric.”
Trump also claimed at the rally that “we just came out with a reg on dishwashers,” that would supposedly address the issue of increased water and electric costs. While Trump did not specify which regulation he was talking about, NBC News noted that the Department of Energy last month announced a rule change that would roll back energy-efficiency standards for dishwashers.
On Thursday, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale addressed Trump’s claims, posting on Twitter that it is simply false that “modern dishwashers use more water and more electricity than good old-fashioned dishwashers.” Dale wrote “the opposite is true.” He cited a Consumer Reports study of 150 dishwashers, which found about one in four earned “excellent” ratings for energy efficiency.
While Trump was not wrong that energy-efficient dishwashers generally take longer to complete a wash cycle than their older predecessors, “‘takes too long’ isn’t the same as ‘uses more electricity,'” Dale noted.
He also pointed out that the president’s claims echoed those made earlier by some conservative groups that have lobbied for more lax energy standards for dishwashing machines. Groups “with ties to fossil-fuel companies” have been waging an aggressive campaign to loosen or eliminate energy regulations on dishwashers and other household appliances for months, according to a report published by The New York Times in September.
For example, in a mailing by the Freedom Works organization, points were made that appear to correspond closely with Trump’s own monologue on dishwashers at his Michigan rally.
“Dishwashers used to clean a full load of filthy dishes in under an hour,” the Freedom Works literature claimed, saying that the machines now take “two and a half hours, and STILL leave dishes dirty!”
The rally was also notable for a series of unrelated outrageous statements made by Trump, including his suggestion that the late, longtime Michigan House Rep. John Dingell had gone to hell after his death and his claim that his 2016 election opponent, Hillary Clinton, cannot climbs as many stairs as he can.