When my wife told me this morning that Trump caved to Nancy Pelosi over the State of the Union address and wouldn't be giving it until after his shutdown was over, my first reaction was, "Naaaaah...that can't be right." Trump would never back down over something that public, especially to a, gasp. woman!
But that's exactly what he did.
Recognizing that the House chamber was no longer an option, the White House was left with either foregoing a live bipartisan audience in favor of an Oval Office address or further departing from protocol and recent history by delivering the speech from a location outside of Washington. A third option — delivering the speech from the other side of the Capitol, the Republican-controlled Senate — was deemed undesirable.
Ultimately, Trump said in a series of tweets shortly before midnight Thursday, an alternative location would not do and delaying the speech was simply the best option.
Delaying the speech? Trump has the self control of a mentally incapacitated five-year-old. He is incapable of delayed gratification. He wants that speech and the applause it will bring and it is intolerable that a woman is denying it to him. I half expected him to announce that he was going ahead with the address in the House and that he would have Pelosi arrested if she tried to stop him. The other half was expecting Trump to announce that he would hold the State of the Union in a stadium and it would be the biggest and bestest MAGA rally ever. Democrats not welcome.
Instead, he meekly backed down.
Republicans, for their part, have been exploding in indignation over Pelosi's violation of "political norms."
Naturally, Republicans have already forgotten about Judge Merrick Garland, the theft of a Supreme Court seat, and the annihilation of political norms by the GOP. Fortunately, the internet has been happily reminding them of this nonstop since they started whining about how mean Nancy Pelosi is.
It's really, really, hard to convince the public that the Democrats are the ones trampling political norms after you've spent the last 10 years running them with a 18 wheeler, dousing them in gasoline, and then setting them on fire. It wasn't a very good plan but at this point, it was the best they could come up with. C'est la vie.
But aside from this ongoing failure to win the messaging war, I have zero expectations that Trump will let Pelosi continue to dictate the timing of the SOTU address. He'll seem like a "loser" and his ego simply can't tolerate being outmaneuvered by a woman. After a few days of stewing in the White House, raging at his aides, being mocked on cable news by both the left and, more importantly, his puppet masters on Fox News, Trump is either going to declare that he has the authority to force Pelosi to let him have the address in the House or he'll just have MAGA rally, order the entire GOP to attend, and insist that it's even better than every State of the Union that's ever been given. The best ratings! The largest crowd!
It will be another in a long line of national embarrassments and Republicans will pretend it's the greatest thing to ever happen because that's how spineless they are. This isn't over by a long shot.
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