John Oliver Tries To Make Sense Of Trump’s Federal Budget: ‘I Don’t Know How You Turn That Into Policy’

When the White House released its federal budget proposal last week, increased defense spending and fast, fancy jets made the list. However, Meals on Wheels, the National Endowment for the Arts, and practically everything else did not. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s press conference and subsequent news show appearances haven’t staved off public outcry either, so Last Week Tonight host John Oliver decided to give it a shot on Sunday night. Needless to say, the comedian’s quick look into the matter didn’t make it sound any better.

Citing Mulvaney’s previous comments about how the proposed budget came together, which involved reviewing Trump’s past speeches and interviews, Oliver didn’t waste much time:

“Basically, Mulvaney treated Trump’s past statements the way Trump treats women — randomly singling out a few of them, and then reducing them down to numbers. But that cannot have been easy when you think about it, because translating the noises that come out of Trump’s face into hard policy prescriptions is almost impossible.”

The Last Week Tonight host then went through a few pertinent examples from campaign stops and rally speeches:

  • “You got to make the country rich again and strong again so that you can afford it. And so you can afford military and all of the other things.”
  • “Putin has built up their military again and again and again. Their military’s much stronger. He’s doing nuclear. We’re not doing anything. Our nuclear’s old and tired and his nuclear is tippy-top from what I hear.”

“I don’t know how you turn that into policy,” Oliver exclaimed. With these examples and others peppered throughout the 12-minute segment, the comedian offers the budget proposal’s possible analogs for how Mulvaney and his team quantified the president’s various policy comments. Though as Oliver stresses throughout the process, he can’t be certain because he doesn’t “speak fluent toddler psychopath.”

Jokes notwithstanding, the show takes a series turn when Oliver and his team review certain specific programs that Trump’s proposed budget would cut throughout the United States — especially in those areas populated by his supporters. Like federal funding for regional airports which, without said money, wouldn’t be able to function. “Trump’s rise was fueled by people in red states who were justifiably irritated that liberals sometimes referred to them as ‘flyover country,'” said Oliver. “This budget could literally turn some of them into flyover country because there would be no other option.”