It may have been a second the likes of which not even Ronald Reagan may have imagined or conceived.
At Tuesday night time’s State of the Union, President Trump stayed totally on script — factor for institution Republicans apprehensive he’d enterprise off into far-flung minefields involving “Rocket Males” and “shithole” international locations.
He supplied a imaginative and prescient that was sober but robust, predictably touting his financial successes and placing each our financial and political enemies on discover.
It was, as speeches go, protected. It was, as Trump speeches go, disciplined and subsequently fairly good.
However, maybe within the curiosity of creating few waves, he additionally didn’t seize a once-in-a-generation form of second that would have reset the course of his presidency and put even his fiercest critics again on their heels.
Contemplate what may have been. Trump walked into this yr’s SOTU with a novel and well timed benefit — a latest coverage proposal he introduced that would upstage the Democrats’ deliberate theatrics.
Democrats thought that they had him. On the State of the Union, they’d present up with Dreamers as their visitors. This was meant to place Trump on the spot, and illustrate for the hundreds of thousands watching that this President was towards these would-be Individuals, who’re liable to being ripped away from their households and the one nation they’ve ever identified if Trump and Republicans don’t discover a method to save them.
2018 State of Union tackle
They had been introduced there to be human grenades, personifications of the President’s intolerance and bigotry — and convincing ones at that, given a lot of his divisive rhetoric.
However that was earlier than saying his stunning immigration deal to legalize not simply 700,000 however 1.eight million Dreamers, whereas additionally giving them a pathway to citizenship they by no means earlier than had. This was, to place it in Trumpian language, the very best deal they’ve ever been supplied — even President Barack Obama didn’t suggest one thing this beneficiant or this everlasting.
That announcement final week modified every thing, or it may have.
Think about if Trump had walked into the Capitol, and after all of the greetings and official welcomes he mentioned:
“Earlier than I get to the speech, I need to welcome the Dreamers right here tonight. You’re patriots, all. You and I share one thing essential in frequent — a perception within the American Dream. I would like you to appreciate that dream, so I’m going to battle for one thing the earlier President didn’t. I would like you to return out of the shadows for good — not simply a few years in order that your futures can dangle within the stability of the following President. That’s why I’m proposing legalizing 1.eight million Dreamers and providing you a pathway to citizenship. If you’d like that, arise proper now. And inform the Democrats who introduced you to face up with you, in assist of this ground-breaking laws.”
Would they actually stay seated? After all not. In reality, the one individuals who may would have been hard-line Republicans who imagine that deal is akin to amnesty.
He’ll remind them later, after all, that the deal comes with different issues they fairly like, together with wall funding, elevated border safety, an finish to chain migration and the visa lottery program. In brief, they’ll recover from it.
Not solely would it not have sucked all the wind out of Democrats’ sails and turned their political stunt again round on them, it additionally would have reset the months of contentious discuss and divisive negotiations which have come to be an indicator of this nascent administration.
As an alternative, seemingly for worry of chipping away at his personal 38% approval score, which is supplied largely by his devoted however dwindling base, he opted for extra of the identical nationalist fear-tactics he’s used to speak about immigration since his announcement to run for President.
“For many years,” he mentioned, “open borders have allowed medication and gangs to pour into our most weak communities. They’ve allowed hundreds of thousands of low-wage staff to compete for jobs and wages towards the poorest Individuals. Most tragically, they’ve prompted the lack of many harmless lives.”
And one line specifically made clear he had no real interest in the “unifying” message he’d promised: “Individuals are dreamers, too.”
Trump has not one of the optimism of Reagan, or the magnanimity of George W. Bush, the pure charisma of Invoice Clinton or the eloquence of Obama, so admittedly this second wouldn’t have come simply to him. Nevertheless, he does have an unparalleled and uncanny knack for showmanship, which is why it’s equally gorgeous and disappointing that he didn’t see this reward wanting him within the face.
Contact Cupp at thesecupp.com.