After a slight delay because he partially shut down the federal government to not get his precious border wall, President Donald J. Trump got to make his hotly-anticipated State of the Union address. It was our commander-in-chief in play-nice mode, sort of, most of the time, except when he slipped and said something that got an awkward, if not quite hostile, response. Rather than ranting and raving à la his beloved rally speeches, Trump was in pomp mode — i.e., he slowly and indifferently recited copy he probably never wrote a word of while sniffing a lot.
Trump bragged about some of the good things, like the strong economy and the recent job surge that have materialized despite the fact that he shut down the government for 33 days while 800,000 employees weren’t paid, on top of untold stiffed contractors who will never be reimbursed for their losses. He also repeated his usual line about border security: He said it was necessary to stop human trafficking while demonizing immigrants in the face of scared (white) potential voters. Also he said it was probably no longer an actual wall! Instead it will be of some as-yet-to-be-determined substance.
Trump also, awkwardly, addressed a few elephants in the room. Of the numerous investigations into his potential wrongdoings, he said, “There cannot be war and investigations…it just doesn’t work that way.” That received a weird silence and some loud chair-shifting. He also at one point praised all the new women in the workforce, which prompted all the new female Representatives — including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and all of whom wore white in solidarity — to stand up, cheer, and shout “USA!”, all while Trump tried to play it off as a win for him.
Despite Trump’s not-quite-believable calls for bipartisanship and unity, it was received about as well as you could imagine on social media. Let’s start with the night’s winners: Shots of female politicians in attendance struggling to hide their righteous anger. Let’s start with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
And please note her pin.
Then there was Kamala Harris.
And Kirsten Gillibrand.
Actually, Mitch McConnell didn’t look that happy either.
But the MVP may have been the most frequently shown women in the chambers: Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi didn’t look that happy with Mike Pence either.
Then there was the man of the hour. One person dug up an old classic.
Others talked about when he singled out an in-attendance Buzz Aldrin.
For the opening stretch, Trump’s tie was a bit askew.
His attempt to shoot down justified investigations into his actions went over swimmingly.
Ditto when he pontificated on immigration.
There was that bit when his attempt to show he wasn’t a sexist pig boomeranged on him.
At one point he talked about prohibiting late-term abortion.
Some focused on his pledge to defend “innocent life.”
One of Trump’s stranger declarations was that had he not been elected, we’d be at war with North Korea right now. To start with: “elected”?
And then there was him coming close to praising Kim Jong-un.
And then there him dissing “endless wars.”
At one point, former (future?) Trump foe Ted Cruz was seen.
All the while, historian and internet troll defeater Kevin M. Kruse was here for some live annotating.
The probable true author of Trump’s speech was not forgotten.
Then there was this: This speech was long — longer than last year’s, which was already longer than Led Zeppelin’s double album Physical Graffiti.
But perhaps the real hero of the night was invited guest (and non-relation) Joshua Trump.