The Slatest

Trump on Why He Doesn’t Like Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs: “I Always Look Orange”

During the Democratic debate Thursday night, President Donald Trump headed to Baltimore to speak at the Republicans’ annual House retreat dinner. It was a fawning crowd, heavily stacked in the president’s favor, so Trump got a little loose. At one point during Trump’s typically freewheeling remarks, the president meandered onto the topic of light bulbs, particularly the decadelong evolution from old incandescent bulbs to more efficient LED ones, an evolution that Trump’s administration is currently endeavoring to reverse.

The initiative to use more efficient bulbs started under George W. Bush and continued under Barack Obama, but we now live in the ornery, old-timer-versus-whippersnapper world that Trump created. Trump, whose idea of environmental protection is keeping his ball in the fairway, has never met an environmental regulation he didn’t want to whack. But the lightbulb thing, even by Trump’s kleptocratic standards, seemed like a frivolous rollback because, despite marginally more expensive bulbs, the savings gained on energy costs are dramatic. And the bulbs can last for years. There isn’t even a real debate to be had over it. Or is there?

“The lightbulb. People said what’s with the lightbulb? I said, here’s the story,” Trump told the GOP lawmakers. “And I looked at it, the bulb that we’re being forced to use, No. 1, to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst.” Aha! The real logic behind Trump’s LED rollback? In fairness, Trump making a joke about himself looking orange is a level of self-awareness and self-deprecation that it seemed like he no longer was able to access.

“But No. 2, it’s many times more expensive than that old incandescent bulb that worked very well. And very importantly—I don’t know if you know this—they have warnings. If it breaks, it’s considered a hazardous waste site. It’s gases inside,” Trump opined. “And read what they say. If it breaks, bring it to your local whatever, have it wrapped, have it this—what are we doing? What are we doing? And I said to one of the top people today, well, they break a lot don’t they? Yes they do, they just throw them away, they don’t care.”

That’s more like it, Grandpa.