On Thursday morning, Donald Trump unaccountably began to tweet about the nation’s most pressing issue: lobsters. That’s right, America. With ongoing protests over unabated police violence against Black people, an economy that lost another million and a half jobs this week, and a pandemic that’s spiraling out of control, Trump really wants to speak to you on the subject of crustaceans. Complaining that President Obama “destroyed the lobster” industry in Maine, Trump then claimed that it was “back, bigger and better” and invited fishermen to “make lots of money.”
But there’s a problem with this—a problem that goes beyond this clearly being just an attempt to generate a distraction because Trump’s reverse-Midas touch has turned everything in the nation to s#it. That problem is that even this attempt to change the subject for 10 seconds was an absolute lie. Donald Trump’s White House resume is so pitiful that he can’t find a single real accomplishment to brag about. Not even lobsters.
The truth is that President Obama left the Maine fishing industry sitting on a record catch and record profits. In fact, the industry surged during Obama’s presidency. Since Trump took over, the size of the harvest has gone down, though not by a lot. What has gone down precipitously is the prices Maine fishermen receive for lobsters and the rest of their catch. That’s because Trump’s trade war wrecked their markets, and just like Midwestern farmers, tariffs have made things worse for lobstermen.
Trump has previously made the proud claim that he destroyed the only marine sanctuary off the Maine coast, the Northeast Canyon and Seamounts Marine National Monument, but even that is a lie. Lobsters can already be taken in the sanctuary. All Trump did was delay a phase out that wasn’t set to start until 2023. Not one bit of this anti-environmentalism has had a single benefit for anyone at this point. The industry isn’t “back.” The industry is smaller, less productive, and far less profitable than when Trump took over.
And the people there aren’t fooled by a tweet. Not when they can read their bank accounts. That certainly contributes to why Trump is underwater by a staggering 27% when it comes to his approval rating in Maine. And why polls put Trump behind Joe Biden in the state by double digits.
It’s also why Susan Collins’ vote to keep Trump in office is an anchor around her neck big enough to hold down a whole lot of lobster pots. And why Sara Gideon is on track to take Collins’ Senate seat in the fall. That means that Collins will be looking for work. (Maybe she should try lobstering. I’ve heard you can make lots of money.)
What’s amazing about Trump’s lobster tweet isn’t that it’s a lie — of course it’s a lie. What’s amazing is that when he needs a distraction, Donald Trump can’t find a single real accomplishment to show for his three-plus years in office.