On January 30, 2018, Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address. He tried to sound optimistic and upbeat ignoring the dark cloud of the Russia investigation. However, all is not well in Washington, far from it. Trump has denigrated the presidency and many American institutions. In addition to being a climate denier, Trump is widely seen as racist, divisive, and erratic. More legislators boycotted his speech than any State of the Union address since Nixon.
While some suggested that Democrats should not stoop to the same level as Republicans, others have pointed out that we cannot afford to
normalize Trump’s behavior saying we must protest at every turn.
The State of the Union speech took place against the backdrop of a raft of executive and GOP malfeasance. Trump is widely described as a racist and a sexual predator who appears to be protecting Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Trump refused to implement sanctions against Russia for interferring with the 2016 election even though these sanctions have almost unanimous bipartisan support.
Trump and his Republican cohorts have been systematically trying to undermine the FBI with crazy conspiracy theories. Amidst talk of refusing to testify about his role in Russian interference or the prospect of firing the special investigator outright, Trump indicated that he wants to release a Republican memo that casts aspersions on Mueller and the FBI. This memo is an unprecedented move from Republicans on the intelligence committee. This memo cherry picks information to create a false narrative. The Department of Justice and the FBI both urged Republicans not to release it because it is “not accurate”. They also expressed concern that it could jeopardize their practices and methods.
The goal is to muddy the waters to delegitimize the investigation into Russian collusion. Trump may also be favoring Russia because he is hoping that the ongoing Russian interference (along with the $400 million pledged by the Koch brothers) will help Republicans to maintain control of Congress in the forthcoming midterm elections in November.
As expected Trump boasted about killing more regulations than any previous administration. Trump continued to show support for the fossil fuel industry and completely ignored renewable energy. He even referenced, “beautiful clean coal”.
Trump also took a shot at athletes who protest the treatment of African Americans but he mostly used people as props to weave his false narrative about the threats posed by immigrants equating them with gangs like MS-13 (only a few dozen out of the almost one million dreamers are affiliated with MS-13).
In his first year in office Trump has been a nightmare, his litany of malfeasance is unprecedented. Nonetheless, Trump took credit for the economy and the stock market. He did not give due credit to his predecessor President Barack Obama. He also failed to mention that economic growth and new job creation was better under Obama than they are under his administration.
The Democrats response was delivered by rep Joe Kennedy who referenced the tragic role-back of environmental protections and the hatred and racism we saw in
Charlottesville. “This is not right this is not who we are” Kennedy said as he railed against the culture of inequality that has worsened under Trump.
Kennedy pointed to DACA, the “Me Too” and “Black Lives Matter”
movements. In contrast to the Trump administration’s narrative, Kennedy described Americans as people who, serve, rescue and help. Kennedy concluded by saying, “our country will be judged by the promises we keep”.
Trump may be wild and unpredictable, but he stayed true to his core personality traits of duplicity and deceit. Trump did what Trump does best, he lied. Just as he did with DACA, giving
testimony to Mueller or a host of other issues, he says one thing then does another.
During the state of the Union Address, he offered an “open hand” but that means tomorrow we can expect brass knuckles. Trump is the most destructive president in American history and a threat to America’s democracy, global stability and world peace. The sooner he is impeached the better. Even his own wife can’t stand him and nor should the American electorate.