Trump's calls for bipartisanship ring false as he riles up his fan base
President Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union speech actually occurring is an accomplishment itself. On Feb. 5, Trump delivered the third-longest SOTU address to an impressive 46.8 million viewers.
Originally scheduled for Jan. 29, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi postponed the speech as a result of the government shutdown, which ended less than two weeks prior to the speech.
The supposedly unifying SOTU began admittedly well with no name-calling, a polite disposition and a bipartisan tone. Trump’s pleas to “break decades of political stalemate” and “bridge all divisions” implied togetherness, a goal desperately needed following the longest partisan government shutdown, which he chose not to mention.
Trump’s calming words and historical references to D-Day and the space race, complete with World War II veterans and astronaut Buzz Aldrin showing up as guests, showcased the patriotic sentiment characteristic of his predecessors. Was this even the brash Trump speaking, or a civil Trump 2.0 clone? Surely the latter.
Trump 2.0 asserted that his administration’s creation of “5.3 million new jobs” helped the United States become “the hottest economy.” However, The New York Times reported 4.9 million jobs were added, while the American economy grew at 3.5 percent, far from the largest growth rate but greater than previous years, as stated in Trading Economics. Therefore, Trump’s claim is adequately acceptable.
Although Trump and Republicans never fully repealed former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Trump framing the removal of the individual mandate penalty as a victory is critical among his fan base going into the 2020 presidential elections.
Following “USA” chants from both parties, the real Trump came out and quickly killed the vibe, claiming that “ridiculous partisan investigations” undermine economic growth. The president mentioning Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation questioned Democratic oversight powers, eroding Trump’s earlier calls for bipartisanship.
While Trump did not say building the wall warrants a national emergency, he provided the foundation for its urgency using the usual “large, organized caravans are on the march” and “criminal illegal aliens” are murdering Americans as arguments.
Funny how he never mentions that undocumented immigrants were employed at his own golf club in Westchester County, New York, but states that “tolerance for illegal immigration” is “cruel.” Trump’s refusal to back down in the ironic name of bipartisanship will lead to another shutdown.
Since the Islamic State group controls less territory, Trump plans to “reduce our troop presence” in Syria and Afghanistan. Yet claiming undue credit for an Obama policy continuation is not without its faults. While ISIS' quest for a state is temporarily thwarted, its organization and ideas may continue, especially if there is less of an American presence in these territories. Withdrawing troops may not be the best course of action.
Trump’s ineffective diplomacy will continue during his second summit with Kim Jong Un later this month. He even declared during the speech that if he were not president, America would “be in a major war with North Korea.” The arrogant statement does not acknowledge South Korea’s role in easing hostilities nor North Korea’s still-operational missile bases.
SOTU stood for “State of Trump’s Union” as he riddled divisive language throughout a faux bipartisanship speech that repetitively tooted his own horn, not the country’s.
Trump should stop appealing solely to his fan base, and encourage compromise among party lines through good faith actions, not contentious words.