Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address Tuesday night hit all the right buttons that work for the president: the economy, national security, and honoring American patriots.
He also carefully avoided pressing buttons that would set off possible explosions in the House Chamber and throughout the nation.
Conspicuously absent from the president’s 90-minute address were any references to the recent government shutdown and to his long-hinted-at declaration of a national emergency to build a border along the Mexican border without congressional approval.
“The economy is the president's strong suit so he was right to talk about it,” Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told Newsmax. “There were some lovely moments in the speech but I doubt he made any converts.”
Bowman’s view was seconded by Marc Rotterman, a veteran North Carolina Republican consultant.
“The president has a great story to tell on the economy and he delivered a CEO-like report to the country,” Rotterman told Newsmax. “He challenged the Democrats to aspire to greatness and to end gridlock. He got no takers.”
Regarding Trump’s underscoring of his hardline on illegal immigration, Rotterman said the president “went over the heads of the elites and spoke directly to the American people, highlighting ‘angel families,’ and the Border Patrol. In making the case for American sovereignty, he made the issue a fight between the elites and blue collar workers.”
Rotterman predicted that the president’s comment, “Walls work and walls save lives,” will be a slogan in in the 2020 race.
Prof. G. Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College, widely considered the premier pollster in Pennsylvania, considered Trump’s call for unity “uniformly popular, but less so his call for greatness among Democrats. Democrats were unmoved by his review of economic progress. No applause. Republicans cheered loudly.”
Trump drew bipartisan applause, Madonna told us, “When he reviewed the bipartisan measures passed by Congress last session. But Democrats clearly showed their opposition to the president’s position on immigration. He threw down his challenge: He will build the wall.”
“You can disagree with the president, but this was one of his more persuasive speeches,” said Madonna. “He stuck to his positions, but had many areas where he reached out to Democrats. He interspersed them with things they don’t like.
“However, this speech is not likely to change the toxic environment. Don’t look for the division and rancor to disappear.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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