An hour of teleprompter-reading won't erase Trump's terrible 2017

An hour of teleprompter-reading won't erase Trump's terrible 2017
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPossible GOP challenger says Trump doesn't doesn't deserve reelection, but would vote for him over Democrat O'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms MORE will give his first State of the Union speech Tuesday night. The White House is touting a positive, unifying speech that will seek to reach out beyond Trump’s base. The word the White House is using is “conciliatory.” Give me a break.

There is no question that Trump will benefit from the phenomenon of extremely low expectations. If he is able to stick to the script, follow along with the teleprompter and not veer off into "Trump-speak," then the spin will be that Trump can be presidential, and we will hear a collective sigh of relief coming from Republicans.

Not so fast.


Just because Trump may be able to get through an hour-long speech without insulting Latinos, women, Muslims, POWs, Gold-Star families, people with disabilities, immigrants, nursing mothers, our allies and non-white countries does not mean he is suddenly presidential and deserves kudos.


An hour of reading off a teleprompter does not erase a year’s worth of complete chaos, offensive and divisive behavior and rhetoric and governing through fear, fabrications and falsehoods.

We must demand better from the president of the United States.

Let’s remember that even if Trump does deliver an hour’s worth of decent rhetoric on Tuesday night, it not only does not nullify his past indecencies and unfit behavior, but we can all set a timer to see just how long the mirage of a “more presidential” Trump will last.

We can be certain that a tweet unraveling all that he faked during the speech will come as soon as he feels disrespected, insulted and otherwise taken for granted by the post-commentary and press coverage.

"Trump the Unfit" will once again be laid bare before our eyes. Once again, Americans will be left yearning for so much better. As they should.

The first year of Trump as president has been anything but successful. I don’t think one can describe a year of a presidency as anything other than a failure when millions of constituents live in fear from the hurtful attacks and detrimental policies coming from the White House. There's a reason Trump enjoys the lowest approval ratings on record for a president in his first year.

Even on the economic scale, he has not delivered what he promised. He touts the lowest unemployment rate in years. But we were already headed in that direction thanks the President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Forget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE’s tough decisions and effective policies that he implemented during his eight years as president.

In fact, there was better and more robust job creation during Obama’s last year than in the first year of Donald Trump.

Ironically, Trump’s economic policies thus far have actually betrayed the majority of his blue-collar, non-college-educated base. When Trump wanted to repeal and replace ObamaCare, study after study indicated that the majority of the negative impacts of that repeal would be for people in the counties that Trump won in 2016.

The tax cuts that Trump will undoubtedly tout in the SOTU speech overwhelmingly benefit Trump’s millionaire and billionaire friends, not working-class and middle-class families.

Trump’s attacks on women’s health will typically take a toll on those lower down on the economic scale who cannot afford shopping around for doctors or health plans that offer the reproductive care that their families need.

The rolling back of environmental standards at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will disproportionately hurt low-income communities who live in places more directly impacted by lax laws that will no longer guarantee clean air and clean water.




Trump’s failure to fix our broken immigration system hurts all Americans and our economy in the long run.

We also are told that Trump’s SOTU address Tuesday night will seek to make a hard pitch to the American people on Trump’s Trojan Horse of an immigration plan.

His proposal seeks to offer 1.8 million "Dreamers" a pathway to citizenship, but it is coupled with $25 billion for a border wall; slashing legal immigration by 50 percent; getting rid of the visa lottery; and doing away with protections that prevent immediate deportations of undocumented immigrants encountered anywhere in the U.S.

Let’s be clear: These changes would alter our core American values by shutting the doors to millions seeking to come to America’s shores to contribute to our economy. To Ronald Reagan’s chagrin, it would shut down the "Shining City on a Hill."

It would also be downright stupid from an economic standpoint. Most economists and demographers agree on one thing: We need more immigration as millions of baby boomers retire and expect Social Security and Medicare to be available to them.

Who will pay into these coffers if we are not growing our workforce with immigrant labor? The native-born birthrate of Americans will surely not keep pace with the additional workers the U.S. will need to make up for the loss of those workers due to retirement.

On so many levels, Trump’s speech will indicate where his advisors want him to go and what they want him to achieve during his second year. But his tweets that will follow and his offhand comments in the days to come will tell us what the real Trump thinks and feels. Thus far, that has not been good for the country or the world.

If Trump is to succeed on Tuesday night and convince Americans he and the Republicans can govern for the good of the majority of the country, it will take so much more than an hour of reading off a teleprompter.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.