Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America, delivered his first State of the Union Address last week in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was Trump’s first State of the Union address and his second speech to a joint session of Congress. His audience included members of the 115th Congress, First Lady Melania Trump and various guests.
The president began his speech by telling the stories of “American heroes”—a coast guard officer, a firefighter, small business owners, volunteers and emergency responders, victims of natural disaster, a North Korean defector, and so on. He then delved quickly into the many accomplishments his administration achieved in the past year. He spoke proudly of the Republican tax bill and all the good it would will supposedly bring to the middle class and small businesses. It was at this point that Trump engaged in a long, wistful—and slightly cheesy—monologue on the nature and essence of the American dream.
Mixed responses came from both sides of the aisle. As if we needed a more visual representation of partisan politics: every time Trump took a break for applause, Republicans took to their feet and clapped and cheered wildly while Democrats across the aisle remained seated with their arms crossed and somber expressions on their faces. Trump later suggested that Democrats who refused to applaud during his speech were “treasonous.”
Trump is an expert in reinforcing misconceptions. Though he may lack the oratory skills of his predecessor, he was able to articulate a deeply nationalistic message to his base, the same message that we saw early in his campaign and the same one that got him elected. Despite his clear lack of qualification, both as a politician and a serious advocate for social progress, Trump has once again given his fans, viewers and twitter follows a reason to keep supporting him. No amount of fact checking will change that.
The State of the Union address is just that: it’s a chance for the president to evaluate the state of our union. Most president’s will use it to lay out their policy plans for the coming year or speak to specific issues. Trump did those things, too, just with a dash of misinformation, a pinch of xenophobic tendencies and a healthy dose of self-glorification.
– The Spectator Editorial Board