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Despite Nancy, Chuck, the media and Hollywood Elites, Trump will speak

2018 State of the Union address
REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
President Donald Trump delivering his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018.

A.J. Liebling, the great New Yorker magazine wit of the mid-20th century, is usually credited (justly, so far as I know) with the wisecrack/observation that “freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” But, nowadays, not so much.

It was a lot more powerful observation back then, before TV, then cable TV, then the 24-hour news channels, and then the internet/social media/texting revolutions greatly reduced the degree to which printed products (especially newspapers and therefore those rich enough to own a printing press) controlled the news megaphone.

The portion of the public that nowadays gets its news from something that just rolled off a printing press is quite small, now, by comparison. And the ranks of those who may reach an audience larger than their friends and family is expanded to anyone with a Twitter or Facebook account.

I’m sure there are both good and bad aspects to those changes. And I’m pretty sure the Cult of Trump, which relies heavily on all those new forms of media and hardly at all on the printing press, would not have thrived under the old system, when the big media organizations were sometimes described as “gatekeepers” between possible news and the mass audience. The gates are open and the keepers are gone.

But poor, pitiful, persecuted President Trump can use and does all those new media to whine  directly to his millions of followers that that mean shrew Nancy Pelosi will not let him speak. And yet, speak he will, about the state of our union. By some miracle, or act of surrender, or perhaps some brilliant act of very-big-brain strength that he showed by caving in on the showdown, the current incumbent will, on Tuesday, at the invitation of the shrew herself — and broadcast by the very mainstream media who won’t let him speak — he will, like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” do what?

SPEAK. Yes. The POTUS has found a way to express himself, in prime time Tuesday night, to the assembled leaders of all three branches of the federal government PLUS a national broadcast audience, on TV and radio. And, unfiltered and unchained, he will give his take on State of the Union!

OK. Forgive me. I got a little sarcastic there. But if you are not a recipient of the emails that Trump has been sending to his followers, you may not be aware of how hard he has been pushing the line that no one, especially Nancy, will let him speak.

A friend of mine, for reasons not clear to him, receives the emails, often more than one a day, that go out to the mass membership of the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee.” And said friend passes some of the good ones on to me. They run the gamut from hilarious to scary, often at the same time, but without passing through sane or logical. And recently, this effort to silence him has been the big theme. Here a sample:

“On February 5th, I will stand before YOU, the citizens of this great nation, and give my second Official State of the Union Address as President.

Nancy & Chuck don’t want me to speak, Mainstream Media outlets don’t want me to speak. The Hollywood Elites don’t want me to speak. But I know, [Your Name Here] wants me to speak.”

Yes, that’s right. Donald Trump, who has been so effectively silenced over recent history, is finally going to get to tell us what’s on his mind, his version of who shut down the government, explain clearly why it was worth it, advocate for a border wall (although if you prefer to call it a barrier, he’s OK with that) and otherwise elucidate upon the state of his, and their, and our union.

In addition to sharing his doleful, one might say self-pitiful feelings over how Chuck and Nancy have treated him, the POTUS asked his followers to help him prepare for the speech by answering a few questions so he can take their thoughts and feelings into account in preparing his remarks.

There were 30 questions, so I won’t copy the whole survey, but here are a few from what the email called the “official State of the Union Prep Survey.” I list them out of order to put some of my favorite questions at the top:

“Do you think the media did a proper job of blaming Democrats for the Shutdown?

“Are you pleased that under President Trump, the U.S. is no longer shipping pallets of cash to the Iranian regime?

“Do you approve of the job done by President Donald J. Trump?

“Do you feel the mainstream media is actively working against the Trump Administration?

“Do you agree with President Trump that the U.S. must renegotiate trade deals that hurt Americans?

“In regards to the Shutdown, do you believe Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer care about the safety of you and your family?”

The whole survey is viewable here.

Comments (43)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/05/2019 - 08:58 am.

    The only fair comment that comes to mind about “Trump” is “The Dictators Playbook”

    • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 02/06/2019 - 08:18 am.

      Yes, and if you think PBS is airing that series by chance, think again.

      PBS’s goal of linking Trump with Dictatorship seems to be working.

      • Submitted by ian wade on 02/06/2019 - 12:51 pm.

        I believe last week the Mussolini episode was aired. The parallels to Trump were striking. I just hope it ends the same way.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/05/2019 - 09:59 am.

    Classic push poll.
    What are the odds that Trump himself penned any of it?
    Hint: while it has Trump’s classic cockamamie Capitalization, I didn’t see any spelling errors.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 02/05/2019 - 10:55 am.

    Trump’s State of the Union speech will be another of his jokes. Trump can’t seriously give a speech asking for “Unity” and expect positive results when he is the great divider. He will be able to claim he asked for “Unity”, but he will not have any plan on how to accomplish “Unity”. Trump wants us to listen and filter out the lies from the half truths. The SOTU speech will be a total waste of time. In reality a man who calls himself president is only president for a small portion of the country. Some of the more moderate Republicans are still hanging on by their fingernails, but they are getting very nervous with 2020 staring at them. I think the SOTU should be abolished because it is nothing but an embarrassment for the country. Trump’s juvenile speech presentation will amplify the embarrassment. The SOTU platform gives the president the chance to make comments, written by someone else, designed for applause. Half of the room will sit on their hands, and the other half will go into faux celebration. He will feel the need to denigrate “Chuck” and “Nancy”, push for his vanity wall using made up claims, remind us how good he is, go off script, and make a fool of himself. Everyone knows Trump is the personification of political Kabuki. Not much of a democracy example for the rest of the world. A total waste of time.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/05/2019 - 11:47 am.

      Well, of course watching Trump deliver the SOTU would be a waste of time. More consequently, it would be morally degrading. You’re not considering watching it, are you?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/05/2019 - 12:21 pm.

        Speaking for myself, I have far more interesting things to do tonight. For example, I could sit by myself in a dark room with my hands folded.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 02/05/2019 - 02:36 pm.

          I’ll be busy watching my boots dry.
          Besides, the only thing Trump could ever say that would be worthwhile would be “I resign the presidency effective immediately.”

      • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 02/05/2019 - 12:32 pm.

        Nope. Going to the horse barn to clean up – you know what. Easier shoveled than listened to.

      • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 02/05/2019 - 02:53 pm.

        No more of a waste of time than watching the Democrats response to it.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 02/05/2019 - 08:58 pm.

      My wife and I have gotten to the point where we come close to feeling physically ill watching this pompous ass of a president for even a few minutes, so we wouldn’t last long trying to watch the SOTU speech.

      And as Tom and others have said, I’m pretty sure even the moderate Republicans in the chamber and in the audience will surely see the unbelieveable irony in this ultra-divisive and polarizing president talking on a theme promoting “unity”. Really??

      This is pretty much on the same scale of disconnect as Hitler giving a speech championing racial equality!!

      It just doesn’t fly, and I’d be surprised if the orange-haired buffoon doesn’t send out some some very, very “disuniting” tweets later this evening or early tomorrow morning – that’s the real Trump, not the facade his written-for-him SOTU speech will be trying to portray…

      Does he really think the American public will see anything but sad irony in him talking about ‘unity’ when virtually every day he demonstrates his belief in disunity and conflict?

      Sure, most presidents hire speech-writers, but I don’t think any of us have ever seen a speech given that seemed as totally disassociated with the man giving this speech as Trump’s SOTU speech was last year, and if the theme is ‘unity’, the amazing discrepancy between the speech and the actual beliefs of the speaker will probably be even more pronounced this year.

      As so many others have said – a total waste of time to watch.

      I’ll read a few paragraphs about the highlights tommorow and spare myself the nausea.

  4. Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/05/2019 - 11:03 am.

    Eric, your columns just keep getting worse and worse.

  5. Submitted by Misty Martin on 02/05/2019 - 11:44 am.


    Sounds like a good night to curl up with a good book, or take a walk . . . or
    clip my toenails, or basically anything other than listen to the P.O.T.U.S., wouldn’t you agree?

    • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 02/05/2019 - 12:16 pm.

      I agree completely. No one is forcing any of us to turn on our tvs or other devices. Indeed, the sooner we turn everything off–and especially the cameras–the sooner Trump will whither and fade away. He LIVES for attention, therefore we must give him none.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/05/2019 - 11:49 am.

    It’s kind of funny to watch these Republican extremist play their debate games now and then. One debate game tactic has always been to adopt the rhetoric of your opponent and try to “turn the table” as it were.

    A few years ago we Republicans trying to claim that: “you can have your own opinions but not your own facts” as if they hadn’t spent decades manufacturing fact. Now we see them referencing MSM or the “mainstream media” which was a term progressive used to use back in the 80’s and early 90’s to describe a consensus driven corporate media that constrains discourse rather than exploring topics.

    Of course the problem is when you treat intellectual discourse as-if it’s mere rhetoric your disingenuity is obvious. When those who rely on FOX try to claim that everyone ELSE is bias and unreliable they just end up looking silly.

    So now Trump is trying to pretend that the media who broadcast him and hang on his every tweet don’t want anyone to hear what he has to say. And that Pelosi et. al who invited him to come and speak… doesn’t want him to speak… what an idiot.

    Of course they want him to speak… every time the guy opens his mouth or keys in a tweet, he strengthens his opposition and alienates more Americans. This speech is being billed as a “unifying” attempt, but the guy’s existentially divisive, as this e-mail demonstrates.

    On the other hand… fewer and fewer American’s are listening to Trump, I predict this will be one of the lowest rated SOTU in television history.

  7. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 02/05/2019 - 12:05 pm.

    Trump is due for a Road to Damascus epiphany. Something like this. “The State of the Union is sad. We have never been more divided. The cause – me. I was not cut out to be President and would rather be golfing and making business deals. So I am doing the right thing and resigning immediately. As they say in the Life cereal, let little Mikey try it.”

    Of course, the likelihood of Trump having such an epiphany or even knowing the word is small, but it is fun to think how shocking people would find it to be. Almost Biblical.

  8. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/05/2019 - 12:34 pm.

    In keeping with the general tone here, I highly endorse leftists turning off and tuning out.

    There is nothing being said or proposed that will impact your lives, or that you can really have any effect upon; plus, it will be a trigger rich environment. Relax and pet your cats.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/05/2019 - 01:21 pm.

      In other words, Trump is not even going to try to speak to all Americans. It’s just for his fans.

      What a great way for the President of a diverse nation to behave!

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/05/2019 - 02:18 pm.

        On a big stage like this, Don trump will try to look Presidential. Unlike MinnPost readers, most folks don’t follow politics everyday. They just catch the really big events, so Don Trump will try to be the adult in the room.

        But when he’s back on Twitter at 3AM, he’ll know it’s back to just his base tuning in, and it’ll be the usual red meat.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/05/2019 - 02:52 pm.

          He will read his prepared speech with all the vocal inflection and range of an eight-year old forced to read a note of apology to the whole class (“And I’m sorry I wrote ‘Teacher is a stinky head’ on the board and that was very disrespectful and I didn’t mean it and I shouldn’t have done it.”).

          Ginning up the base with his 3:00 Twitters is the best he can do. It’s about applause and devotion, not leadership. Individual-1 has no more idea of what it would take to look presidential than he knows how to fly.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/05/2019 - 07:17 pm.

        He will be speaking to the 1/2 of the country that have not assuaged their hurt feelz for the past 2 years by rhetorically spitting on him and those that approve of his achievements.

        “Pet your cats” is good advice that will keep many leftists in a better, healthier, untriggered mental state tonight. Baby steps.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 02/05/2019 - 01:35 pm.

      You would miss us. Who would you have for a foil then. It’s hard to argue with yourself.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/05/2019 - 02:17 pm.

      Of course, ‘leftists’ are the 65% of the population who think that Trump is doing a poor job.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 02/05/2019 - 09:13 pm.

        Good one Paul 😉

        Hell, even Ann Coulter has gotten around to the point of now calling him a ‘lunatic’, and confessed to Bill Maher that “she wasn’t a very bright girl” for taking this long to realizing he’s just a con-man.

        I actually feel pretty sorry for anyone out there who after all the exposure to this nut job for 2 years still strongly believes this guy is presidential material.

        He doesn’t have the qualities required to be a good major of a town of 100 people.

        And that should be clear now to everyone I’d say by now, regardless of whether their political views are to the left, to the right or firmly in the center.

        It’s not about left/right/center so much as the lack of character and lack of the characteristics required for good leadership , which are really missing in him.

        That’s why some of his harshest critics are conservatives who understand that he’s the antithesis of most of the republican party’s beliefs and principles going back 50 or more years.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/06/2019 - 11:44 am.

        82% of independents approved of his speech, according to a CBS news poll.

        You missed that one, bigly.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/06/2019 - 09:42 am.

      I second Curtis’s endorsement. Let Trump and his base bounce around in their echo chamber until they’re out of power. The other 70+% of us can focus on more productive things.

  9. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/05/2019 - 02:55 pm.

    Somehow a year ago, I got a Trump-staff “alert” urging me to watch the new, fabulous MAGA TV extravaganza: the Trump State of the Union address!

    The push ad explained carefully what this thing was (the POTUS folks assuming that their “base” is pretty ignorant of national political proceedings). Then it told me when and where to watch, especially because the mainstream media was unreliable and wouldn’t promote it.

    .I am SO BORED of Donald J Trump! He will only do his horrendously wooden reading of a teleprompted speech that was written for him mainly by that master of stirring “dark prose” Steve Miller. He will lie and misrepresent stuff an incredible number of times during that speech, he will make empty promises that he will contradict on whim within a day or a week. He will show his misogynistic streak by disrespecting the woman who is second in line to the Presidency at the moment.

    Trump’s political team is pushing his “base” to watch this performance, so he can cite numbers about how huge his audience was. I’m not interested.

    He’s also determined not to be my president, at any moment or on any issue. His choice.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/05/2019 - 03:57 pm.

      CS, well we would be shocked if your prognostication came out wrong, but given we have seen and heard the performance reinforced for what 2+ years W/the primaries on top, suspicion is you will be 100% accurate, So the real question is; will water going down the river fall over the dam, or do we need to watch and listen if that will really happen again tonight?

  10. Submitted by Gary Fredrickson on 02/06/2019 - 12:05 am.

    Well the State of the union speech is over and it was awesome!

    President Trump [ I still love saying that] listed some of the great accomplishments of the past two years and called for working together as Americans instead of Republicans or Democrats. I’m sure everyone here is happy about that. The only people that should not like that speech are the Socialists he called out. What a great leader.

    President Trump talks like an ordinary blue collar guy.and I find that quite refreshing. I understand that others prefer someone who pronounces the “P” in corpsmen and pronounces Pakistan [ Pah-kee-stahn] but hey, to each his own.

    See Eric, You were concerned about nothing.
    #Walk away

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 02/06/2019 - 08:43 am.

      Wait for it. You do know none of what he said was written by him. You still have to wait for the tweets coming out in the next day or so to find out what he really meant. He’ll find some way to lower the bar further yet. he just can’t help himself.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/06/2019 - 09:32 am.

      GF, blue collar must have changed since I was a kid, they were folks of hard work, honesty, humility, few words, good ethics, good economics, and fair play demeanor, Nothing oi which pertains to the present in inhabitant. And explain how a billionaire elite from NY, that’s probably never done a day’s worth of manual labor understand the world of a blue collar?

    • Submitted by ian wade on 02/06/2019 - 12:54 pm.

      GF just put my irony meter into the red.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/07/2019 - 09:23 am.

      The voice of the 25% that believes everything Trump says.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/07/2019 - 09:41 am.

    “82% of independents approved of his speech, according to a CBS news poll.You missed that one, bigly.”

    Let’s run the numbers quickly: 48 million watched Trump’s SOTU, which was the smallest number in 26 years. That means 14% of the country watched, and of those 30% were “independents”. So that’s 14 million, and of those 82% approved of the speech- which is 12 million. That works out to 3.7% of Americans. If you add the Republicans and their “approval” you could claim that 8% approved. Yep, Trump certainly has a mandate.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/07/2019 - 10:08 am.

      Actually, Trump didn’t even do THIS well, I mistakenly made my calculations using 48 milion viewers… he actually only had 46 million.

  12. Submitted by Joe Musich on 02/08/2019 - 07:42 pm.

    My suspicion is that we will not see a STOU delivered by the same person next year. The filth surrounding all of it is becoming too high and is rising. The chain of indictments grows longer and broader. Every time he opens his mouth it is further grounds for another investigation. My greatest concern is the local affect of the agenda of he and his saddle partners. Employment is coming to a standstill, farming production is in storage, the BWCA is threatened by mining of a foreign company, healthcare coverage shrink and expenses grow. And the list goes on. The masses are beginning to show major discontent. Threading Congress will not work.

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