National Opinion Politics OPINION: Why the State of the Union address was unsuccessful By Charlotte Caldwell Posted on February 12, 2019 6 min read 0 0 134 Photo by Sheelah Craighead President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Opinion writer Charlotte Caldwell argues the 2019 State of the Union Address, delivered by President Donald Trump, did more harm than good for the President and his party. President Trump’s State of the Union speech this past week had a goal of achieving bipartisan support and unity ahead of the next government shutdown, but many thought the third-longest State of the Union speech in U.S. history fell flat. Like most of the claims Trump makes, the speech was a fact check field day due to the excessive amount of generalities Trump made that shied away from the truth. The President mentioned everything from jobs and the economy to foreign affairs, but many of the claims he made were either exaggerated or something that was already occurring before his presidency. One of the best examples of an exaggeration that Trump always touts as one of the biggest accomplishments of his administration is the “unprecedented economic boom” that the U.S. is going through. In reality, the economy is expanding at a solid pace of 3.8 percent, but not nearly as fast as under Ronald Reagan in 1984 when growth reached 7.2 percent. Trump also took credit for actions that were already occurring in the U.S. before his presidency, such as the “revolution in American energy.” While it is true that the U.S. is now the leading producer of oil and natural gas production, this started under the Obama administration with a boom in the production from shale oil. The speech may have been boring and generalized, but the back and forth between certain members of Congress and the President made the whole thing worth watching. Most of the time the Democrats sat stone-faced, even occasionally making audible remarks, to convey the message that they disagreed with Trump’s overarching theme of unity. Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed the most disinterested as she frequently looked at her papers and silenced the Democrats with her hand when they got too rowdy. After Trump called for an end to “revenge politics,” Pelosi mockingly clapped in his face, sparking the hashtag #PelosiClap on social media. Along with many other Democrats, she also didn’t stand or clap when typically bipartisan issues were mentioned in the speech. Even though the Democrats weren’t reacting in a satisfactory manner, Trump didn’t do anything to make matters any better. He frequently attacked key Democrats in his speech, especially with jabs like “America will never be a socialist country” aimed at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders. He also demanded that the Democrats not conduct “ridiculous partisan investigations,” and related the topic back to the unity theme by saying, “if there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.” He even went so far as to say that the Democrats who didn’t stand and clap for anything he said were “un-American” and “treasonous,” two words that don’t really match the context of the situation. This State of the Union speech was an attempt to heal deep wounds between Trump’s opposers and himself in the wake of the next government shutdown, but, if anything, it only made the situation worse. Democrats are still moving forward with investigations on Trump’s tax returns, business, and ties to Russia. Compromise for the next government shutdown seems stalled, and best of all for the Democrats, they look like the real winners of the State of the Union address. Charlotte Caldwell is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. The views and opinions expressed in this piece are not those of The New Political.