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Trump’s big Oval Office speech was a disaster

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Tuesday, shortly before the speech

I was glad Trump decided to give his first national address from the Oval Office. He’s not an inspirational speaker, and I suspected and hoped he would come across as clumsy and ill-informed. Yes, he’s good on the stump, in front of friendly redneck crowds for whom the chant “Lock her up!” is their idea of good governance. But there’s a reason why, in two years, Trump has never used the Oval Office platform: he knows he sucks at it.

Nonetheless it is a big platform. As soon as I heard the news, on Monday, I knew the Democrats had to have a rebuttal. But who to deliver it? My first thought was AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Why not? She’s on top of the issue, has proven herself to be a compelling public speaker, possesses tons of charisma, and has the huevos (!!) to call out Trump’s lies.

But yesterday morning, when the news was announced that the rebuttal would be by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, I was glad. Democrats went for the party’s leaders. AOC will get her turn: tonight, we have to play the heavyweight Pelosi-Schumer card to balance the Trump card.Normally I can’t stand to watch Trump’s ugly face on TV or even to hear his voice. My late mom felt the same way about George W. Bush, although I have to say I never hated him the way she did, or the way I hate Trump. He just repels me, in an automatic, visceral way. But I will force myself to watch his address tonight. He’s going to say a lot of stupid stuff and a lot of fake stuff, and it won’t be pretty to see the President of the United States make a complete ass of himself in front of the entire world. But then, it will be fun to ridicule him later.

Tuesday evening, after the speech

It was a disaster, and it is easy to ridicule. All over the map, with Trump pretending his wall is meant for humanitarian reasons. That’s rich! When he talked about grieving mothers and grief-stricken fathers I wanted to puke. This sociopath, who has no feeling for anyone except perhaps his children, pretending to be emotionally moved by the plight of the Central Americans whose children he throws in jail. Nobody believes that, especially the racists at Breitbart, who want these brown people to suffer.

Mercifully, his crap was short. When it was over, I couldn’t wait for the Chuck and Nancy show. Nancy cleverly began with “this shutdown,” a topic Trump avoided, since people blame him for it. Clever, too, for her to stay on the shutdown: Trump “holding America hostage” is a great line and so is “manufactured crisis.” She made mincemeat of all his lies about drugs, mules, rapists, terrorists and criminals.

Chuck too started out with the shutdown. Trump is “Pounding the table,” Trump throws “temper tantrums”…great phrases that remind Americans of Trump’s immaturity. More references to “manufactured crisis” and “stoking fear.”

Both Leaders were reassuring, calm, reasonable. They correctly emphasized ending the shutdown. Now.

I can’t wait to see the polls over the next few days. My strong hunch is that the American people will rebel against Trump for his stupid stubbornness, and for this insult to their intelligence. People are going to blame him more and more for the shutdown, and as tales of no paychecks, problems with air control, and generalized suffering become widespread, the people’s resentment of Trump will hit epic proportions.

I make the following statement with the utmost certainty: This speech was the most catastrophic of any president in my long lifetime. Trump’s purpose was to drum up support for the wall. He failed. The speech utterly backfired. Congressional Republicans tonight must be freaking out. Good.

  1. Bob Henry says:

    One opinion:

    “Shutdowns Always Backfire — Especially on Republicans”
    By Brian Riedl
    The Daily Beast – posted December 25, 2018



    “President Trump and House Republicans have shut down part of the government in hopes of forcing Senate Democrats to accept $5 billion in border wall funding.

    “This mistake will almost surely backfire on the GOP.

    “I say this not as a gleeful liberal, but rather as A CONSERVATIVE FEDERAL BUDGET ECONOMIST who has spent the past 17 years in the Washington DC trenches FIGHTING FOR SPENDING RESTRAINT.

    “This is the fourth significant government shutdown in 25 years. During the three previous shutdowns, the party that held government funding legislation hostage to additional demands experienced a nasty public backlash that inevitably led to a humiliating surrender.

    “. . . shutdowns backfire for four reasons:”

    [CAPITALIZATION used for emphasis. ~~ Bob]

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