Last August, President Trump went to Charleston, W.Va., for a “mission accomplished” moment.
He had already boasted to his Fox News fan base that “I’ve turned West Virginia around, because [of] what I’ve done environmentally with coal.” In Charleston, he said that “we are putting our great coal miners back to work” by ending what he had dubbed the Obama administration’s “war on coal” and that, under his leadership, West Virginia had “on a per capita basis one of the most successful GDP states in our union.”
“The coal industry is back,” Trump declared.
Alas, it was an illusion — or, as Trump might put it, a hoax.
Last week, the Commerce Department reported that during the third quarter of 2018 — the period during which Trump took his Charleston victory lap — West Virginia’s gross domestic product grew exactly 0.0 percent. As in, zilch. As in, the worst in the nation.