The president delivered his annual State of the Union in the midst of impeachment and the chaos in Iowa…..I will keep it short and go to the analysis…..
President Trump is delivering his third State of the Union address less than 24 hours before the Senate is to decide his fate in his impeachment trial. The president, speaking to a joint session of Congress, including the senators who are expected to acquit him Wednesday, was greeted by Republican chants of “Four More Years,” Politico reports. He declined to shake Nancy Pelosi’s hand. “My fellow citizens, three years ago, we launched the great American comeback,” he said. “Tonight I stand before you to share the incredible results.” The president praised the strong economy and promised a “blazing bright” future. “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never ever going back,” he said. More:
- Revived US economy. “From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the US economy—slashing a record number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements,” said Trump, who claimed that the US economy is better than it has ever been. The AP notes that the economy is definitely healthy, though it has continued on an upward trajectory that started under Barack Obama.
- “Where the action is.” “The fact is that everybody wants to be where the action is, and the United States of America is, indeed, the place where the action is,” said Trump, hailing the return of manufacturing to the US and the USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA. “Unfair trade is perhaps the single biggest reason I decided to run for president,” Trump said.
- Venezuela’s “true president.” There was bipartisan applause when Trump introduced Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, one of his State of the Union guests, and called him the “true and legitimate president,” the Guardian reports.
- Space Force. Trump praised the creation of Space Force, introducing Ian, a 13-year-old from Arizona, who “aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the space force.” And behind Ian was his 100-year-old great-grandfather: Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
- Health care. Trump vowed to defend Medicare and Social Security, then denounced Democrats for “socialist” health care plans. “One hundred thirty-two lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our health care system, wiping out the private health insurance plans of 180 million Americans,” he said. The New York Times considers the claim “weighted, but mostly true.”
- “HR3!” After Trump challenged Congress to send him legislation to lower drug prices, Democrats chanted the name of the drug price reduction bill the House passed in December that is now “untouched” in the GOP-controlled Senate, the AP reports.
- Medal for Rush. Trump not only announced that Rush Limbaugh would be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he had Melania Trump bestow it on Limbaugh during the address.
- A “very powerful wall.” Trump denounced “sanctuary city” policies and boasted of border wall progress. “As we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built,” he said. “We have now completed over 100 miles and have over 500 miles fully completed in a very short period of time.”
- Democrats walk out. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan walked out of the chamber during the speech, saying he had “had enough” and it was all as fake as professional wrestling, the Guardian reports. He was soon followed by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who left after the president hailed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
- An “Oprah moment.” In what critics described as an “Oprah moment,” Trump introduced a military spouse and her two children, and then revealed that her husband, Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams. was back from Afghanistan, the BBC reports. There were chants of “USA” as the family was reunited in the gallery.
I was unimpressed at all…..but the one “line” that got my funny bone activated was the “very powerful wall”…..and part of that wall just blew over on a 30 mph wind…..
Plus there is already a bill on drug prices and the Senate has done nothing with it….maybe if Trump would get off his ass and tell Mitch to do his job he would have that bill to “sign immediately”……..(but that would be giving the House some credit something this person will never do)…….then there is the stupidity of Guido of Venezuela (yes I know I did not spell his name right)….
There is more silliness from this speech (if it can be called that)……….
Economic Pinocchios. Trump boasted at length about the strong economy, though fact-checkers found numerous false claims and exaggerations. Aaron Blake at the Washington Post notes that Trump spoke of ending “years of economic decay,” but on his watch, the economy has continued the progress that began under his predecessor. “Trump has a good story to tell on the economy,” Blake writes, “but he insists on … pretending that the economy he inherited was in some kind of free fall, which just wasn’t the case.”
A “reality show State of the Union.” Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels at the Hill note that the address included several “made-for-TV” moments, including the Rush Limbaugh honor and the reunion of a military family. The flourishes were “uniquely Trumpian given his penchant for production value and headline-grabbing moments, and they produced lighthearted moments that softened what was otherwise a caustic evening,” they write.
Attacks on socialism. Trump, continuing what is expected to be a major theme in his re-election campaign, slammed socialism both in the US and overseas, the New York Times reports. “To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American health care,” he said.
Policy proposals. The address was relatively light on policy proposals, but Trump did call for legislation to lower prescription drug prices, which led to chants from Democrats who have sent legislation to the Senate. Trump also called for more vocational training, a ban on late-term abortions, and a law allowing people to sue “sanctuary” cities if they are the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. “And that was pretty much that,” writes Anthony Zurcher at the BBC. “If the president is going to campaign on any bold, new ideas, they’ll have to wait for another night to be unveiled.”
The elephant in the room. The Times notes that Trump made no mention of his impeachment trial, despite the fact that he was speaking on the eve of his widely expected acquittal.
Nothing about the speech will be memorable…..nothing about it was concise or relevant……it was a rambling mess….
All in all….it was a night best forgotten……
All in all I would had preferred Vanilla…..
I Read, I Wrote, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”