Trump's State of the Union Address Promised Unity but Emphasized Discord
Albanian Daily News
Published January 31, 2018
Donald Trump has promised a "new American moment" in a State of the Union address that sought harmony but succeeded only in underlining the deep discord at the heart of the country's politics.
The US president preened over a growing economy and pledged a return to national greatness with a nostalgic appeal to family, faith, law and order, the military and the national anthem. "Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve," Trump said.
Yet from his vantage point at the dais in the House of Representatives, the split screen nation that is America in 2018 was writ large.
To his left, Republicans stood, applauded and sometimes cheered each new pronouncement. To his right, Democrats mostly sat stony faced, channeling the fury of millions who believe Trump has defiled the American presidency, and on occasion were unable to resist groans, or heckles of protest.
And when the speech ended, Republicans clapped and chanted "USA! USA!" - one even waved a red "Make America great again" cap - while Democrats raced to the exits with thinly disguised contempt. Their reaction told a fundamentally different story from what they were hearing: that of a tumultuous year of White House chaos, stunning examples of sexism and racism, myriad falsehoods and attacks on freedom of the press and an ongoing investigation into Trump's links with Russia that hangs over his presidency.
It was the 45th president's first State of the Union address. Instead of the darkness of his inaugural speech, which warned of "American carnage", Trump boasted of the "extraordinary success" of his first year in office and offered a more optimistic vision. "This is our new American moment," Trump said. "There has never been a better time to start living the American dream."
Critics were quick to spot that Trump's election rival Hillary Clinton had used the phrase "new American moment" in a speech as secretary of state in 2010.
The White House had promised a bipartisan tone, even as Congress is deadlocked over immigration reform and the fate of hundreds of thousands of people whose status is in doubt after they were brought by their parents to the US as children.
(Source: The Guardian)