The United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 3 mandates that the President “….shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he should judge necessary and expedient…”
For decades this State of the Union address has been delivered by the President in January. It is usually a highly anticipated event, particularly for those people who do not regularly follow politics. In addition to both the House and Senate, traditional attendees include the members of the Supreme Court along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The consensus is that if Teleprompter Trump stays on script he might do a passable job. No doubt there will be White House staff members who will be sweating bullets between now and Tuesday night, remembering Trump’s “rocket man” ad lib during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
But for those who do follow politics, and understand that Trump lies consistently and unrepentantly on facts that have been easily disproven, why should they subject themselves to listening to Trump’s alternate reality version on the State of the Union?
Trump will doubtless take credit for an economy that is doing well as a result of Obama’s policies. What calumnies will he cast at the Democrats for his failure to reach an agreement on immigration? He will no doubt boast about the bonuses given out by major corporations such as Wal-Mart while failing to mention they also closed 68 Sam’s Club stores on the same day.
The state of our union is not good. Charlottesville showed us that white supremacists are emboldened by a president who says “there are good people on both sides.” Instead of deporting gang members and criminals, ICE is tearing families apart by deporting people with no criminal records who have lived here more than 30 years. They are showing up at schools to arrest parents dropping off their children.
The workers at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis who believed Trump’s promise that he was going to save their jobs have been betrayed as their jobs have been outsourced to Mexico and they are now unemployed. In fact, the overall growth in jobs have slowed down under the Trump administration.
In foreign affairs, our relationships with our closest allies are at an all time low. Great Britain is planning massive protests if he steps foot in their country. The Speaker of the House of Commons has said that Trump will not be invited to address Parliament – a major slap in the face. Canada and Mexico have no idea where Trump stands on the NAFTA Trade Agreement, an agreement that is critical to millions of Americans. Tensions with North Korea are the highest they have been in decades.
The recent government shutdown did not resolve the underlying issues and a new deadline of February 8 is looming. The March 5 deadline for DACA participants is following directly on its heels.
Not to mention that the Robert Mueller investigation is gathering more information and now Trump faces a possible interview with the investigators or Mueller himself. Trump has publicly declared his willingness to testify under oath while his lawyers scramble to find arcane rules to ward off such a possibility. Will Trump use the State of the Union address to continue his attacks on the FBI and other law enforcement agencies as part of the coordinated effort to undermine the investigation.
Our country has always faced problems and dangers. In the past, we could rely on our President to point out what they “judged necessary and expedient” to Congress. Yes, these recommendations have always been swayed by the political policies of the President. But we have never had a President we cannot trust to provide us with truth and facts. This is a man who has said an average of five (5) false or misleading statements every single day of his presidency.
The pundits and fact checkers will have their hands full the next few days parsing Trump’s speech. And if he goes “off script” as is his want, things could really get interesting. But to use one of Trump’s favorite expressions “We’ll see.”