Even with his historic impeachment trial still hanging like an ominous cloud over the Capitol — and the nation — inside the House chamber it felt more like a raucous Trump rally than a normally staid State of the Union address.
“Four more years, four more years, four more years,” the president’s supporters chanted before he even launched into his address. Guests were showered with goodies, including right-wing talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh, recently diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, who had a Congressional Medal of Freedom hung around his neck by First Lady Melania Trump.
The president’s address was coated with the hyperbole that endears him to his far-right base — like highlighting an anti-abortion proposal that’s red meat to most conservatives while ripping on former President Obama’s legacy before touting his own, which brought audible groans and some muted boos from most all lawmakers on the Democratic side of the chamber.
“In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American Decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny,” Trump said. “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”
Trump came out swinging as he laid out the case he plans to present to the American people over the next 10 months. Spoiler: While he’s proud of the dozens of environmental and health protections his administration has unwound, the 2020 battle seems like it will focus on socialism.
“We will never let socialism destroy American health care,” Trump said after calling out more than 130 Democrats for endorsing Medicare for All proposals.
With Trump, it’s all about the optics, hence he highlighted the nation’s only sitting African American Republican Senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina. along with other African American guests and he even invited Juan Guaido — who he called “the true and legitimate leader of Venezuela” — to sit near the First Family during the address.
Not to be outdone when it comes to optics, most House Democratic women, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, came wearing bright white suit coats in honor of the suffragettes who came before them and who they vow to carry out the legacy of while fighting what they call Trump’s anti-woman agenda.
At one point Pelosi visibly tore up her copy of the State of the Union, given to both the speaker of the house and Vice President Mike Pence.