Last night, President Trump gave his first State of the Union Address. Trump touted the greatness of the American people, listed some accomplishments of his first year (a booming economy and job growth, the GOP tax cut, deregulation, the crushing of ISIS, the end of the Obamacare mandate, etc.) and some things still to be done that he hopes can involve bipartisan cooperation. He also introduced a number of heroic guests with very moving stories (some critics noted the shift from Obama inviting victims to Trump inviting heroes).
It was the third longest SOTU on record, but even some of Trump’s relentless media critics grudgingly admitted that it was so masterfully delivered, it felt shorter (others still carped that it was “dark” and negative, which it obviously wasn’t, especially compared to the Democratic response, which made America sound like a “Max Max” movie. More on that later). For those who couldn’t sit through the full 80 minutes, here’s a round-up of 10 highlights: READ MORE
Speaking of sitting through the full 80 minutes, most Democrats did just that. Nancy Pelosi had warned them against chanting, walking out or other childish outbursts, assuming that would put all the focus on Trump and he would embarrass himself. Instead, they just looked as if someone had glued their pants to their chairs and they were waiting for an emergency delivery of Metamucil. One Trump critic was even forced to admit that he looked like the adult in the room. I don’t think their sullen behavior did them any favors. It was one thing to stay seated when Trump talked about things they hate, like border security, lower taxes, cutting regulations and respecting the flag. But it took a real act of political suicide to sit cross-armed and look as if they were sucking lemons when he offered them things they allegedly support.
When he called for offering Dreamers a pathway to citizenship (albeit with a border wall and an end to chain migration and the visa lottery), Democrats sat and glared. When he lauded the lowest Hispanic and black unemployment rates in history, Democrats – even the Congressional Black Caucus – sat and frowned as if they had tacks in their Fruit of the Looms. Ditto for a proposal for expanded family leave. You’d never know that, when Trump mentioned recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, they’d recently voted overwhelmingly to do just that. Some Democrats didn’t even applaud when he introduced a hero cop who saved a heroin addict’s life and adopted her baby. The RNC should send them a thank-you note for helping so much when it comes time to produce campaign commercials.
The Democrats couldn’t have made it any clearer that when it comes to a choice of helping the people they claim to care about or obstructing Trump for partisan political advantage, politics will win out every time. I can’t help feeling that Trump knew that’s exactly how they would react, and that’s why he said he was “extending an open hand to work with members of both parties.” He knew they were going to be foolish enough to slap that hand on national TV.
Trump’s State of the Union Address included a number of moving moments, especially the introductions of the parents of children slain by illegal immigrants and the North Korean regime, and a heroic escapee from Kim Jong-Un’s prison state, as well as plenty of memorable quotes, such as:
“In American, we know that faith and family, not bureaucracy, are the center of American life. The motto is ‘In God We Trust.'”
“If you believe in America, you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything… We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.”
“We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work…We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence.”
Companies now “want to be where the action is. They want to be in America.”
After honoring Rep. Steve Scalise (who was shot by – as the media seldom remind us – a deranged leftist targeting Republicans for mass murder), Trump said this: “In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together. Not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough only to come together in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. This is really the key. These were the people we were elected to serve.”
Someone should have reminded Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer that cameras were on them as Trump called for cooperation, statesmanship and unity. I’ve seen more pleasant faces on Halloween masks.
But what will definitely be Trump’s most-quoted segment of the speech was this:
“Tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.”
That last line – “Americans are Dreamers, too” – set Twitter on fire.
But there’s nothing more pie-in-the-face embarrassing than when someone slamdunks you with a great line, and you try to turn it around on them and fall flat. That happened to Nancy Pelosi after the speech, when she tried to counter Trump by defiantly tweeting, “Dreamers are Americans, too.”
Well, no. As many Twitter users reminded her, they aren’t. They might be Americanized culturally, but they’re still illegal immigrants. If they were Americans, there would be no need for a DACA bill to keep them from being deported. Maybe her snappy comebacks are like the Affordable Care Act: she inflicts them on the country without reading them first.
There had been talk of Democrats really behaving like children by chanting or storming out during the speech, but Nancy Pelosi warned them to stay put and keep quiet. As she put it, showing her typical respect for the Commander in Chief, “Let the attention be on his slobbering self.”
Ironically, when it was all over, it was Trump getting the great reviews for his speech while Joe Kennedy III had people online asking, “Why is Conan O’Brien giving the Democratic response, and why is he drooling?”
The Democratic response painted one of the most apocalyptic portraits of America I’ve seen since the last Hollywood climate change disaster movie. In Kennedy’s view, the USA seems to be nothing but daily marches by white supremacists, mass shootings around the clock, “immigrants” being targeted for deportation, people being assaulted for the gender of their spouses (never mind that Trump backed same-sex marriage when Obama and Hillary were still pretending to oppose it) and everyone at each other’s throats. At one point, he gravely intoned that "This is not who we are." That was the one thing I agreed with him on: it certainly isn’t who we are!
In a poll that it must have pained CBS to report, 75% of Americans had a positive reaction to Trump’s SOTU speech (I expect that at least 25% would have a negative reaction if Trump ran into a burning building and saved a litter of puppies). Sixty-five percent said it made them feel “proud” and 35% said it made them feel “safer.” I’d be curious to know how many felt “baffled” to see the Congressional Black Caucus frowning and refusing to clap at the mention of record low black unemployment.
Finally, the Funniest SOTU Comment: Bernie Sanders tried to give his own response online, but immediately had technical difficulties and then his response feed crashed. The America Rising PAC tweeted, “Thanks for demonstrating how this would work in a socialist country, Bernie!”
Worth remembering when leftists ask you to put them in charge of the government: they can’t even get a Twitter feed to work.