As it turns out, President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton have something in common. Both men delivered the State of the Union address after being impeached and while in the throes of a Senate impeachment trial. Neither president made mention of his impeachment trial in his address.
The theme of Trump’s speech was “The Great American Comeback,” but there were several missing lawmakers from the audience who didn’t hear that message firsthand.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, tweeted, “…I will not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct and subversion of the Constitution. None of this is normal, and I will not legitimize it...”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, tweeted, “To think that I would attend the #SOTU to hear the message of an IMPEACHED president is a thought that in no way would be consistent w/ my fight and struggle against this dishonorable president. I will certainly NOT be there!”
Several other Democrats opted to skip the debate. There was room for others who want to be there, like the proud Americans in the gallery.
In total, Trump and the first lady Melania Trump invited eight groups of Americans to be their guests for the president’s third address.
Janiyah Davis, a fourth-grader from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded an opportunity scholarship to attend the school of her choice. Previously, Janiyah was placed in under-performing schools after Pennsylvania’s governor vetoed legislation to broaden school choice. Trump called on Congress to pass and send him the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act.
Kelli and Gage Hake, from Oklahoma, were also guests of the president. Kelli’s husband and Gage’s father, Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Hake was killed by roadside bomb from the Iran terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani. One month ago the president ordered Soleimani’s killing.
In a controversial and political move, Melania Trump awarded radio personality Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Limbaugh recently announced he has lung cancer.
Perhaps the most heartwarming moment of the evening came when Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams returned home from Afghanistan to his wife and two children, who were seated—and surprised—in the gallery.
The president only mentioned farmers and ranchers once, with regard to the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.
Let’s be honest. People do not tune in to hear about the state of the union. They tune in for entertainment. Folks got what they came for.
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.