President Donald Trump's pledge to revive America's struggling coal industry is doomed to join the list of other broken campaign promises - like listing China as a currency manipulator, to releasing his tax returns, and pledging to support medical marijuana.
Trump gained blue collar cred on the campaign trail by promising to get miners back to work. Since taking office, Scott Pruitt - Trump's EPA Administrator - has claimed that the administration has created approximately 50,000 jobs in the coal industry.
"The only problem there is that those numbers are bullshit," John Oliver said on the latest episode of Last Week Tonight. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the actual number of coal jobs created since last year is actually just 1,300. So that 50,000 new jobs claim is actually off by 48,700 -- which for this administration, is actually uncharacteristically accurate."
And there's no chance of reviving that industry - no matter how much you blame its struggles on former President Barack Obama as Trump and mining CEO's often do by blaming the industry's struggles on the Obama administration's environmental regulations.
"While coal mining jobs did undoubtedly decline under Obama, it's worth noting that coal mining jobs have also been declining for decades," Oliver noted. "Coal mining jobs have declined at roughly the same rate as careers in the zeppelin industry and babies named Adolf."
The real culprits for the industry's hard times are drops in natural gas prices and the development of more energy efficient and environmentally friendly fuel sources. So the dream of getting Americans back on coal is about as likely to happen as convincing everyone to scrap Netflix and start watching movies on VHS tapes again.
But that shouldn't bother Trump too much since he seems more interested in helping mining CEO's get rich than helping miners, who are often little more than tools to leverage concessions from the government. Check out the full story on Trump, the mining industry and coal tycoons like Bob Murray, who handed Last Week Tonight their first cease-and-desist order in the show's history (which Oliver mocked and defied on last night's episode).