DACA, Democrats, Healthcare, President Trump, Republicans, Robert Mueller

State of the Union Initial Impressions

By Grace Lidia Suárez

Yes, I watched the whole thing.

The first part was mostly boasting. And of course, since this is Trump speaking, mostly lies, exaggerations and half-truths. I will leave it to others to dissect this portion, but here are some of the tasty bits:

“Ended the war on beautiful clean coal.”

“Motor City revving their engines.”

“It’s all coming back.”

One statement was certainly true:

“The individual mandate is now gone.”

What he didn’t say is that despite his best efforts to undermine Obamacare more people than ever signed up.

A couple of statements were simply red meat to his base:

“Why we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”

“We are totally defending our Second Amendment.”

One statement that got my attention was his call for removing “federal employees who … undermine the trust of the American people.” I believe this plays into his plan to release the Nunes memo and push out Rod Rosenstein. As Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare put it:

And the President wants the memo public—so public it will be. The Washington Post reported this weekend that President Trump views the document as evidence of his mistreatment by federal law enforcement. He also sees it as a means by which to push out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom he has distrusted since Rosenstein’s appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller: the memo reportedly targets Rosenstein’s role in approving an FBI request for an extension of a FISA warrant monitoring former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. CNN now writes that Trump has made up his mind and that the memo’s release is a certainty over the next few days.

I predict that Rosenstein will be fired within 24 hours of the memo’s release, which of course eases the path to firing Robert Mueller.

These plans sounded good, but we will have to see whether the Republicans are willing to pay:

  • Infrastructure. $1.5 trillion
  • Private sector investment to fix infrastructure (huh?)
  • Invest in job training. Let’s open great vocational schools.
  • Paid family leave.
  • Reforming prisons to give inmates a second chance.

Reducing the price of prescription drugs sounds great, but other countries do it by imposing rules on pharmaceutical companies that seem impossible here.

The immigration policy portion was a weird melange: he blamed the loss of innocent lives on open borders which allowed MS-13 gang members in, even though MS-13 actually started in the US, and he seemed to conflate Dreamers with gang members and “chain migration.” (“Americans are Dreamers too.”)

The immigration reform package is one Democrats may simply have to accept, since Trump can do it on his own.

  • Path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal aliens as children. Full citizenship in 12 years.
  • A “Great Wall on our southern borders.”
  • End of visa lottery and switch to “merit” system.
  • Ending family migration. Limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.

He conflated opioid and drug addiction with a plan to get tougher on drug dealers and pushers, even though the “pushers” are pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

He announced that he wants to “fully fund our great military,” and rebuild the nuclear arsenal. I want to see who pays for this.

Once again reversing an Obama-era policy, which Obama was unable to implement, Trump announced he would sign an order directing Secretary Mattis to re-examine the detention policy and keep Guantanamo open. “Terrorists are unlawful enemy combatants,” he said. Here is some background information.

In my opinion, Democrats are in for a tough time. They have no leader, no visionary. They are divided, indeed splintered. If Trump can stay focused, there is no reason he can’t implement his plan.

Sadly, I agree with this comment:

Trump didn’t offer Democrats many carrots in his speech, said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior analyst at the University of Southern California school of public policy.

“A large part of the speech was a rehash of Donald Trump’s greatest hits,” she said. For Democrats, the message was “my way or the highway, and it was all your fault.”

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