The Fool on the Hill Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 40.2% — up from 39.5% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 50% — up from 43% last week
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
State of Diss-Union
The week of our Trump — Feb. 2, 2019: A week removed from the diss heard around the world, The State of the Union took center stage in another hellish week in Donald J. Trump’s America.
Trump finally delivered what would be his second State of the Union address from the House of Representatives a week after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) dis-invited him for launching a partial government shutdown.
The speech, which normally sets the tone for the year and is usually set aside as a national pep rally, can define the vision of the commander-in-chief. For Donnie Darko, the speech was an uneven trip to the bountiful that balanced unity against a deepening divide between his supporters and other Americans.
We were tempted to view his utterances in a completely negative light, which wouldn’t be unreasonable given some of the legal items that emerged after his speech.
After all, his speech set off another sobering week in Trumplandia. His former personal attorney’s congressional testimony was delayed again, a report was published that showed how little he does during his “executive time,” and Congress grilled his acting attorney general while releasing more than 50 interview transcripts from the House of Representatives’ own Russia investigation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to review.
But the Feb. 5 speech was Donnie’s shot at an unchallenged spotlight; his alone time with the nation. So we weren’t going to rain on that parade. We instead left that honor to Speaker Pelosi.
Fancy Nancy hijacked Donnie’s shot at being “very presidential,” with sarcastic, celebratory applause that conveyed the skepticism many Democratic legislators felt that night. Dressed in white to compliment her new female colleagues, many of whom were attending their first State of the Union following their first month in Congress, Pelosi’s applause, along with facial expressions behind the suddenly serious Trump, were an address all unto themselves.
Throughout a soaring speech that began by paying tribute to former World War II service members and ended with threats about continued investigation into his finances and possible ties to Russia, Pelosi provided needed context in what Trump hoped would be a defining moment in his presidency.
Many said Trump hoped to reset his agenda with the speech by touting the might of the military and calling for a new spirit of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats.
He called upon members of the audience, invited there to symbolize his administration’s focus on strengthening border security and push sentence reform for non-violent drug offenders, both of whom were African-American.
It all sounded nice but then he performed all of the hits: lies and half truths that the special counsel investigation is a witch hunt, that China needs more tariffs, that he stopped a full out war with North Korea, and of course that we’re building the wall 2.0.
Trump said the nation was in an unprecedented era of prosperity that can only be stopped by foolish wars, politics, and “ridiculous partisan investigations.” He even fired a loud warning shot that seemed to warn that further investigation of his administration or finances would lead to economic disaster.
During that portion of his speech, Trump seemed to channel former President Richard Nixon in 1972 as the walls surrounding the Watergate scandal collapsed around him. Trump’s veiled threat seems to beg his Democrat detractors to not investigate his possible ties to Russia, while at the same time suggested that playing nice with him could avert further partisan bickering like that which shut the government down for 35 days. Trump rhymed:
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. “It just doesn’t work that way!”
With fresh subpoenas from federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York calling for information on inaugural donors, vendors and finances also under way, only time will tell which Trump we will see in the months following the State of the Union.
Knights in White Satin
Approximately 100 years ago, women were finally given the right to vote in America, setting off a drastic change in our society that reverberates all the way until the present.
A large group of new female representatives commemorated that milestone this week by attending the Trump State of the Union speech dressed in white and by having a woman providing the official Democratic rebuttal to the president’s big address.
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), chair of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, said the white out was a tribute to the suffragette movement and a way to celebrate the record number of women in the House — 102.
She said she wanted the president to be able to look out at the audience and see a wave of white that represented a message that Democrats were carrying forth “The People’s Agenda.” She said those dressed in white were expected to remind Trump that those newly elected to Congress would promote policies that will allow girls and women to fulfill their full potential.”
“We’ll honor all those who came before us & send a message of solidarity that we’re not going back on our hard-earned rights!” Frankel said in a tweet.
Trump, in one of his more lucid moments, acknowledged the new legislators and their place in history. Tying the success of the new legislators to the economy, he said no group has benefitted more than women, who he said filled 58 percent of last year’s new jobs. The statement set off self-celebratory cheer among the group and an impromptu chant of “U.S.A.,” to which he quipped, “You weren’t supposed to do that.”
Even a specific reference to the congressional newbies met a special resistance from the group that acknowledged the president’s prompt and stood again, this time clapping and laughing at the misogynist-in-chief’s shout-out.
The right-wing haters from Fox News also seized the moment to mock Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany, who also attended the event in a “suffragette white” dress. It was unclear if Tiffany Trump wore the dress in solidarity with her father’s opponents. Not held to the same scrutiny was Donald Jr.’s girlfriend and former news host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was also resplendent in white.
Women continued to set the tone as the official Democratic response to Trump’s address was carried forth by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams.
The 45-year-old Abrams became the first black woman to give a Democratic rebuttal. She reminded viewers that the recently ended government shutdown was the result of a “stunt” from the president to gain American funding for a border wall he said would be financed by Mexico.
Abrams said Trump and a complicit Congress failed the groups of Americans not in his base by whittling away at their healthcare while providing tax breaks for America’s wealthiest citizens. She said Trump and Congress also bear responsibility for the crisis at the southwestern border where children were separated from migrant parents and placed in cages and detention camps.
The rising Democratic star provided a contrast to Trump’s ongoing narrative about border security and lies about a lack of concern by Democrats who refuse to finance his border barrier:
“Democrats stand ready to effectively secure our ports and borders. America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls.”
Giving Them Their Props
Trump’s speech had an odd schizophrenic quality that was indicative of its orator.
One minute he called for unity and praised the historic place women have played in. Next he was sharing tales of migrant pulp fiction, replete with MS-13 gang members, duct-taped women being raped, and of course the odd mix of a need for prison reform as well as the construction of a wall.
In the shout-out portion, “Individual-1” big-upped several people brought in as props. He shouted out a former drug dealer he pardoned. He shouted out to Matthew Charles, who was released shortly after Trump signed “The First Step Act” that reduced sentences for federal drug crimes. The president also invited and acknowledged a Latino Border Patrol Agent who protects us from those “bad hombres” trying to illegally enter the country.
In his ongoing push for a “powerful wall,” Trump also acknowledged a family that was ripped apart by a murderer who was an illegal immigrant. The family of Gerald and Sharon David, an elderly couple from Nevada who were killed in January by an alleged undocumented immigrant, were also honored.
However, the best presidential acknowledgement was one that was never given publicly.
Eleven-year-old Joshua Trump, a 6th grade student from Delaware, was featured along with young cancer survivor Grace Eline during the address.
Joshua, who is not related to the president, was invited to Washington after being bullied at his school simply because of his famous last name. The youngster sat with First Lady Melania Trump for the address as part of her “Be Best” anti-bullying initiative.
The groggy youngster slept through the president’s mammoth speech and was not publicly acknowledged by the president, but became the newest member of “the resistance” thanks to social media.