(New York Magazine) -- In the State of the Union, Donald Trump called for unity while taking many partisan shots. How do you determine the success of a speech like Trump’s?
Even looking at the 80-minute-plus laundry list from Trump’s point of view, the speech seems to have failed at every level.
If Trump’s number-one political goal was to get his wall built, he didn’t advance the cause but signaled his surrender. His incessantly repeated pre-speech threat that he might declare a “national emergency” to circumvent Congress and get his way evaporated entirely last night. Why? He’s a paper tiger. He’d only been blustering about declaring an emergency in the first place to drum up phony suspense that might draw viewers to tune in. Even he has figured out that too many Republicans in Congress are openly opposed to that legally dubious power grab for him to try it now. Nor will the GOP happily sign on to another politically self-immolating government shutdown. So when Trump declared “I’ll get it built” last night, that can be translated to mean: “I have surrendered and will claim that whatever compromise Congress puts forth by the February 15 deadline means ‘I got my wall.’” Nancy Pelosi has won.
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