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John Oliver digs deep on Trump's promises to coal miners

 (HBO)
(HBO)

On Sunday's "Last Week Tonight," John Oliver dug deep on President Trump's favorite industry, coal mining. 

The comedian scrutinized the president's repeated promises to bring back high-paying coal jobs to depressed areas like West Virginia and Kentucky. 

Setting aside the "fact that [coal] is environmentally catastrophic," Oliver argued that Trump is less concerned with helping coal miners than in bolstering the coal industry -- two groups whose interests do not always align. With assistance from a giant talking squirrel, naturally, he focused on "the divide that can exist between a coal company’s interests and those of its workers." 

Oliver conceded that while coal jobs declined under President Obama, it was merely the continuation of a decades-long decline caused by a number of factors, including declining use and mechanization. 

These jobs have been disappearing "at roughly the same rate as careers in the zeppelin industry and babies named Adolf." 

Despite a stern cease-and-desist letter, Oliver paid special attention to coal CEO and Trump supporter Bob Murray, whom he joked "looks like a geriatric Dr. Evil" and who once blamed a fatal mine collapse on an earthquake. 

The bottom line?

"Trump needs to stop lying to coal miners. We all do. Stop telling them their jobs are all coming back when they’re not," Oliver said. "Stop telling them that coal is clean when it isn’t, and stop pretending this isn’t an industry in the middle of  a difficult and painful albeit necessary transition. An honest conversation about coal and its miners needs to be had, and we should neither cease nor desist from having it."

You can watch the whole segment here.

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