John Oliver is baffled. President Donald Trump released his budget blueprint last week, and it’s unclear how the administration has decided on a number of proposed cuts. In an episode of Last Week Tonight that aired Sunday, the host attempted to make heads or tails of a proposal that cuts arts and support for communities while pushing for increased military spending.
It’s been a strange week for Trump. In the same episode, Oliver also highlighted the president’s awkward encounter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where Trump refused to shake her hand in front of a press group at the White House. The moment makes for some uncomfortable viewing, as both the press and Merkel ask Trump to shake her hand but he ignores them.
“It is not often that you can say, ‘Trump really should have touched that woman’,” Oliver said. “He’s treating the chancellor of Germany like a drunk guy masturbating in a subway car.”
It was also the week where the administration accused Britain’s GCHQ intelligence services of spying on Trump prior to winning the election. The agency described the allegations as “utterly ridiculous.” Press secretary Sean Spicer later claimed that the administration had “no regrets” about the accusations.
“If anyone on this planet should have fucking regrets, it is you, Madam Ghostbuster,” Oliver said. “At this point, you should really be more regret than man, a Regretataur, if you will.”
But policy-wise, the largest announcement of the week was the budget blueprint. The administration laid out its general goals for spending, and there were some questionable choices made. Hal Rogers, a Republican congressman, described the cuts as “draconian, careless, and counterproductive.”
“We took [Trump’s] words, those policies, and turned them into numbers,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said about his team’s approach to formulating the blueprint. To try and understand some of the choices made, Oliver dug up some key quotes that explain Trump’s spending priorities.
Trump on Military Spending
The blueprint calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending, and Trump has previously expressed support for a larger military budget.
“You gotta make the country rich again and strong again so that you can afford it, so you can afford military and all of the other things,” Trump told a crowd of supporters at a 2015 rally.
“To be honest it sounds like the audiobook of A Farewell to Arms broadcast by an iPhone submerged in hot coffee,” Oliver said.
Trump on Nuclear Spending
The blueprint outlines a $1.4 billion increase in spending for the National Nuclear Security Administration while cutting the Department of Energy’s overall budget by $1.7 billion.
“Putin has built up their military again and again and again. Their military is much stronger,” Trump said during a 2016 speech. “He’s doing nuclear. We’re not doing anything, our nuclear is old and tired and his nuclear is tippy-top from what I hear.”
Trump on the Environmental Protection Agency
The budget calls for a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency whose overall budget constitutes about 0.2 percent of federal expenditure. Trump appears to think it’ll be fine, though.
“Environmental protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations. They’re making it impossible,” Trump said during a 2015 interview aired on Fox & Friends. “We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit but you can’t destroy businesses.”
Last Week Tonight airs Sundays on HBO.