Donald Trump’s State of the Union: “A Manifesto of Mistruths”

Since Donald Trump took office, more often than not, each week has been drama-filled. This week, though, has been particularly so. The week started with the disastrous Iowa Democratic Caucus, followed by the President’s contentious State of the Union address, and then an acquittal for President Trump. Two Trump “victory lap speeches” rounded out the week.

Iowa Democratic Caucus Debacle

On Monday evening, Iowans opened presidential primary season by participating in caucuses and satellite caucuses around the world. They began the evening optimistic about a new app that they believed would make the task of reporting the thousands of hand-counted votes for candidates.

Americans waited for the counts to be totaled, but as the night wore on, it became clear that the reporting app had failed. No one would know for sure which candidate had won until the votes could all be re-tallied.

On Tuesday, 62 percent of votes had been counted, showing Pete Buttigieg in the lead, with Bernie Sanders in a close second. As of Friday morning, Americans continue to await an accurate count. Buttigieg and Sanders remain in a virtual tie, but the DNC is calling for a recanvass.

Trump’s Divisive State of the Union

As the country continued on Tuesday to wait for the results of the Iowa Democratic caucus, President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address. Full of boasting, half-truths, and lies, Trump’s speech, themed, “The Great American Comeback,” was merely a campaign speech that sowed new divisiveness and firmly reinforced existing divisiveness.

Using language clearly meant to stir his base, Trump appealed to their fears, promoting the ideas that “illegal aliens” (the term Trump insists on using) are dangerous and deadly; that sanctuary cities harbor immigrant criminals; and that the Democrats want to take away everyone’s guns and everyone’s health care.

“In sanctuary cities, local officials order police to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public, instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed,” Trump said.

He appealed to their fixation on the economy by taking credit for what he called a “Blue Collar Boom,” when in reality, it was during the Obama administration that the economy began making a comeback from the Great Recession. The increase in blue collar wages has come largely from individual states’ raising of state minimum wages, not from Trump’s policies. What’s more, the manufacturing sector is in recession.

Trump also plugged his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, boasting that it had given Americans more money in their paychecks. In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Trump’s tax bill has not caused most Americans to take home more of their pay, and experts say that they will take home even less pay by 2024. What’s more, it has not caused the promised economic boost; the gross domestic product has only grown at 2.9 percent since the bill was passed.

Perhaps the biggest and most blatant lie of the evening was this: “We Will Always Protect Patients With Preexisting Conditions.” In truth, the Trump Administration has put forth a lawsuit that is working its way through the courts, aimed at eliminating the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), which prohibits insurance companies from denying or charging higher premiums for Americans with preexisting conditions. Neither Trump, nor GOP lawmakers, has presented a viable replacement health care policy.

Though Republicans in the chamber are aware of this lawsuit and that it seeks to undo healthcare for millions of Americans, they all stood up and cheered when Trump talked of it. One has to wonder: are they terribly naive, or are they all in on the duplicity?

In fact, Trump’s cabinet, as well as the Republican members of Congress, stood and cheered each time Trump finished a sentence — eerily reminiscent of a World War II film clip of the German army saluting their Fuhrer.

Other untruths and misrepresentations filled Trump’s State of the Union address, including repeated references to “ cleaning up the mess of the previous administration.”

To that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi later responded, “He did not inherit a mess, he inherited the momentum of a growing economy.”

“Nancy the Ripper”

Long after Trump’s exact words are forgotten, though, Americans will still remember the flourish with which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after the address, tore in half the sheets of paper containing the words of Trump’s address, calling it “A manifesto of mistruths.”

“Considering some of the other exuberances within me,” said Pelosi, “It was the courteous thing to do… He shredded the State of the Union, I shredded his state of his mind address.”

Though many Americans were appalled at Pelosi’s action, others responded favorably.

Twitter user @LOLGOP tweeted on Wednesday, “If you’re offended by a woman ripping up a speech, wait until later today when every Republican in the Senate rips up the entire Constitution in the name of helping the most corrupt president in American history steal an election.”

Senate Acquits Trump; Romney Votes with Dems

And later that day, Wednesday, January 5, as most people expected, the U.S. Senate acquitted President Donald J. Trump of the impeachment charges the U.S. House of Representatives had brought against him. All Democrats voted to remove Trump from office. All Republicans but one, Mitt Romney (R-Utah), voted to acquit on both articles. Romney voted “guilty” on the the first article, “abuse of power.”

No one was surprised, least of all Romney, when Trump immediately took to Twitter to attack him. In just a few hours after the Senate vote, Trump tweeted a video calling Romney “the face of the resistance,” and a “Democrat secret asset” who had tried to “infiltrate Trump’s administration as Secretary of State.”

Trump Continues to Wax Divisive During National Prayer Breakfast

Trump continued his vitriolic and often unhinged emoting during Thursdays’ National Prayer Breakfast, and again in his unapologetic post-acquittal speech at noon on Thursday. Supporters yet again laughed and cheered as Trump demonized and made examples of Pelosi and Romney, the two most recent people who had crossed him.

Donald Trump will continue to illustrate and underline the reasons why Congress voted to impeach him: abuse of power (which continues to become more blatant) and obstruction of Congress (which he has boasted about).

Though Senate Democrats were not successful in removing Trump from office, he remains, as Nancy Pelosi reminds us, “impeached forever.” Voters will have their own chance to rip up the figurative manifesto of mistruths in just 269 days.

Donald Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address | Guardian News

Iowa Democratic Party Releases Partial Caucus Results With Buttigieg Leading | NBC News [2020-02-04]

Donald Trump’s First State of the Union Address: Not Everyone Was Clapping

Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on January 30. Overall, Americans who watched viewed it favorably. Seventy-five percent approved, according to polls. It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that 97 percent of Trump’s base approved of his first State of the Union Address.

Outside Trump’s base, 43 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of independents had a favorable view of the speech. Eighty percent of viewers said they felt that Trump’s State of the Union Address demonstrated an attempt to unite Americans.

Though it may be true that most who watched the President’s State of the Union Address on television found it to be encouraging, Democratic lawmakers were not applauding. Below are a few of the reasons why.

The Economy

Trump talked about the strength of the current U.S. economy, citing 2.4 million new jobs, a soaring stock market, the all-time high of small business confidence, and more take-home pay for millions of Americans. Many viewers cheered when Trump mentioned the repeal of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Cheers went up again when Trump said “Economic surrender is over. Expect trading relationships to be fair and reciprocal.”

It’s true that at 4.1 percent, unemployment has reached a low that we haven’t seen in years, but Trump’s first year in office saw the lowest number of jobs created since 2010. Americans may have more take-home pay, but only slightly more; on average, workers only saw a four-cent per hour increase.

At one point in his State of the Union Address, Trump drew audience attention to a man whom Trump implied was having a good financial year because of the new GOP tax reform bill – the tax reform bill that hasn’t gone into effect yet. That’s the tax reform bill that will raise taxes on 92 million middle-income Americans by 2020.

As for other economic “victory,” the repeal of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act will prevent millions of people from having health insurance. And though Candidate Trump promised that he would require Medicare to negotiate drug prices for older Americans, so far, he has done nothing to that end.

Immigration Policy:

Most Americans agree that our immigration policy needs reform. The meaning of “reform,” however, varies across individuals. In his State of the Union Address, Trump used emotionally charged language that blurred the difference between DACA recipients and illegal immigrants who are criminals. Appearing to use two sets of grieving parents to equate violence with immigrants, he told a story of two murders by gang members who came to the U.S. as undocumented children. In reality, there is no connection between being undocumented and being a criminal.

Continuing in the same tone, Trump stated that currently, an immigrant can bring in “virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.” This is not true.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, a U.S. citizen “can petition for a spouse, unmarried children under 21, parents, sons and daughters married and over 21, and siblings, if the (sponsoring) immigrant is 21 and over.”

Other Talking Points

Trump received applause during his State of the Union Address for many other talking points supporting the mantra of “Make America Great Again,” as well. Among them were the issue of standing during the Pledge of Allegiance, spending for infrastructure, keeping Guantanamo open, and modernizing our nuclear arsenal. What was glaringly missing was a strong statement about Russia or the Russia investigation.

Trump’s first State of the Union Address portrayed an America bursting with success, prosperity, and promise. But “promise” is the larger shell within which much of that success and prosperity remain, up to now. In Trump’s next State of the Union Address, what will the spin be if more of that sweeping promise doesn’t become action?

Trump’s 2018 State of the Union in Four Minutes | Fox News [2018-01-31]

Bernie Sanders’ Rebuttal To President Trump’s State Of The Union Address | TIME [2018-01-31]

‘The Five’ pick their State of the Union highlights | Fox News [2018-01-31]