President Donald J. Trump just gave an impressive and unprecedented State of the Union address from the lawn of the White House…oh wait, it was his 2020 Republication nomination speech. It just felt like a quasi-imperial event.
The address was long, too long for an acceptance speech — coming in at over 6,000 words, it took more than an hour. Trump just always has to dwell on all his achievements. ‘I say very modestly that I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president,’ he said. That really is his idea of modesty.
The President hasn’t changed much after three and a half years in office. But he’s got much better at reading from a teleprompter, even as he still can’t resist the extemporaneous comic flourishes (‘I took on Big Pharma…you think that’s easy, it’s not’).
The speech lacked some of the wild energy of his campaign rallies, which led even some Fox News analysts to call it ‘flat’, but it also had many strong moments. Perhaps the most notable aspect was the sharpness of Trump’s direct attacks on his opponent. Trump has given up on teasing Joe Biden for not being ‘all there’ because it wasn’t working. Instead, he mocked Biden and the Democrats for their record in government.
‘In America, we do not turn to government to restore our souls,’ he said. ‘We put our faith in almighty God’ — a neat jab at the Democratic promise to ‘restore the soul’ of America.
At a later point he made another clever reference to Joe Biden’s big speech last week: ‘How can Joe Biden claim to be an ally of the light when his own party can’t even keep the lights on?’ Ho ho ho.
Then he went for the jugular, ‘Joe Biden is not a savior of America’s soul,’ he said.
‘He is the destroyer of America’s jobs, and if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of America’s greatness. For 47 years, Joe Biden took the donations of blue-collar workers, gave them hugs, and even kisses, and told them he felt their pain, and then he flew back to Washington and voted to ship our jobs to China and many other distant lands.
‘Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing their dreams and the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars, wars that never ended.’
Whereas Biden had spoken in rather vague and grandiose terms about the President’s not inconsiderable character flaws, Trump was more specific about all Biden’s political sins.
‘Biden’s record is a shameful roll call of the most catastrophic betrayals and blunders in our lifetime… He has spent his entire career on the wrong side of history. Biden voted for the NAFTA disaster, the single worst trade deal ever enacted. He supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, one of the greatest economic disasters of all time. After those Biden calamities, the United States lost one in four manufacturing jobs. We laid off workers in Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and many other states. They did not want to hear Biden’s hollow words of empathy. They wanted their jobs back.’
Biden only mentioned China once in his speech. Trump said the ‘C’ word 16 times. He called COVID-19 ‘the China virus’, natch, and said of Biden, ‘China would own our country if Joe Biden got elected. Unlike Biden, I will hold them fully accountable for the tragedy that they caused all over the world — they caused.’
And later, ‘Joe Biden’s agenda is Made in China. Mine is Made in the USA.’ Trump defended his record on COVID-19, widely seen as his weakest point in this election. He contrasted all his achievements with what he said Biden would do. He echoed the ‘Trojan horse for socialism’ theme which Mike Pence has touched on. Biden, he said, would not stand up to the ‘wild-eyed radicals’ and added that Biden would ‘abolish cash bail, immediately releasing 400,000 criminals onto the streets and into your neighborhoods. When asked if he supports cutting police funding, Joe Biden replied, “yes, absolutely“.’
Trump also pointed out that the Democrats had not mentioned ‘the rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-run cities’ in their convention. ‘Now, they are starting to mention it because their poll numbers are going down like a rock in water,’ he added.
After more jabs at Biden — ‘Joe Biden is weak’ etc. — and more attacks on political correctness and ‘cancel culture’, Trump tried to end on an uplifting note. Americans, he said, ‘build their future, we don’t tear down our past… For America, nothing is impossible.’
Afterwards, a massive fireworks display lit up the night sky. The name ‘Trump’ exploded red over Washington, as the ‘antifa’ agitators prepared for another night of anarchy below. Ivanka Trump had said before her father’s speech, ‘Dad, people attack you for being unconventional, but I love you for being real.’ It was a good line, but surreality accompanies everything the Trumps do.