In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Trump tried to make it sound like everything’s coming up roses for the United States – and of course, he said all the credit belongs to him. But as a Democrat, I believe the state of the union is not good – our nation is divided, and there is too much hatred and too little forgiveness.
And there is no chance of improving things as long as Trump remains president.
Trump made a mistake in attacking something most voters care about. The president attacked the Democrats on health care – but that issue helped Democrats win elections in 2018, especially moderate Democrats in red districts that Trump won in 2016.
Polling in Iowa, where Democrats held their caucuses Monday, showed that health care is the No. 1 issue among Democratic voters – and polls show that health care is also a major concern for independents and Republicans.
By threatening (again) to dismantle ObamaCare – which millions of Americans, including Trump supporters, rely on it – Trump could lose votes he needs to get reelected. This is not a smart move.
Both the president’s rhetoric and the Democratic reaction shows we are more divided than ever.
Some Democratic senators and House members boycotted Trump’s State of the Union address. Some – like Rep Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, walked out. He tweeted: ‘I just walked out of the State Of The Union. I’ve had enough. It’s like watching professional wrestling. It’s all fake.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., tweeted: “I just walked out of the state of the union, I can’t stand a liar. This man’s presidency is a national tragedy.”
On the other side of the aisle, Republicans used social media to champion the president as a “destroyer of Democrats.”
While President Trump promised to unite the nation, the truth is that he has only made America’s divisions worse with his attacks on politicians, individuals and entire groups of people.
This was quite apparent Tuesday night with the president’s hateful rhetoric criminalizing immigrants and further inciting hatred and fear against them. Yet the truth is that a majority of Hispanic immigrants in the United States are law-abiding citizens.
Trump singled out one person killed by one immigrant. But in fact, many more Americans are killed by people born in the U.S.
Trump also seeks to divide us by religion.
"In America, we celebrate faith. We cherish religion. We lift our voices in prayer. And we raise our sights to the glory of God," the president said. Those are beautiful words, but Trump’s actions speak louder.
Many of us on the left don’t believe he embraces religious tolerance, due to his blatant attacks on Muslims and his travel ban – which we call his Muslim ban.
“Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God,” Trump said from one side of his mouth, while demonizing Democrats and undocumented immigrants out of the other.
Trump’s immigration policies have resulted in “sacred” immigrant children being put in cages and separated from their parents. He is now keeping many pregnant women from entering the U.S. from abroad, to prevent their babies from being born as U.S. citizens.
Trump also claims to believe in the First Amendment, yet demonizes the media on an almost daily basis as “enemies of the people,” calls any media report that do not make him look good “fake news,” and has halted White House daily press briefings.
The level of Democratic vs. Republican hostility in the House chamber, where the speech was delivered, was palpable.
Coming off his impeachment by House Democrats, Trump refused to shake the extended hand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., before he began his speech. Pelosi ripped up the text of the president’s speech right after he delivered it.
Pelosi told Fox News she destroyed the speech “because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives” and said she was “trying to find one page with truth on it” but couldn’t.
In addition, Trump’s State of the Union address felt more like a campaign speech for someone running for reelection than a speech to Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress. It lacked the formality, decorum and graciousness that a State of the Union normally has.
This is the new normal under the Trump presidency.