State of the Union reflects Trump's presidency: Dishonest and chaotic

State of the Union reflects Trump's presidency: Dishonest and chaotic
© Getty

The State of the Union speech was chaotic. It was full of dissonance, contradictions and lies, sprinkled with feel-good one-liners, a couple of emotional moments, plenty of platitudes and even a rhyme. 

But did it work? Not to achieve unity or bipartisanship, which is how the White House had wanted to position the speech early in the day on Tuesday.  

ADVERTISEMENT

It also did not work to move Democrats and Republicans closer to getting a deal done in the next 10 days on border security and avoid another government shutdown, which was already a dismal experience for the president, his party and the country. 

But what struck me the most was that right after the president declared that he would lay out an pro-American agenda — rather than a pro-Republican agenda — he proceeded with a speech full of  untruths about the situation on the border, which he uses to justify his unneeded border wall. 

He described MS-13 gang members pouring across the border, children and women being abducted for trafficking, and drugs coming across as if through osmosis, when the reality is that the majority of drugs come through ports of entry, women with their own children are giving themselves up to Border Patrol Agents as they flee violent homelands, and border towns are safer than ever before

In his riff about how walls work, Trump mentioned how crime in El Paso was at an all-time low thanks to the wall they had built. But a quick fact check tells us that crime in El Paso diminished years before any wall was built and in fact spiked upward when the wall was built before settling into a low rate again. But facts are pesky things, especially for this president.  

The speech was also full of contradictions. Trump introduced some of the "angel families," whose children or loved ones had been murdered by undocumented immigrants, while proclaiming his quest for a border wall is part of an effort to protect innocent children.  

Who doesn’t want to protect innocent children? The issue is, coming from this president, whose own policies have ripped babies from the arms of their mothers and put kids in cages, that sentiment falls flat.  

His focus on murders by undocumented immigrants is always a ploy to demonize all immigrants. But let's remember that native-born Americans are arrested at a higher rate than immigrants, legal or undocumented. 

On a positive note, he beautifully paid tribute to a young girl who had survived cancer and was a guest of first lady Melania Trump, as he stated his budget request for $500 million over 10 years to fight and eradicate childhood cancer.  

Eradicating childhood cancer? I'm all for it! In fact, let’s give him $5 billion for this instead of the ineffective wall.

The focus on children however, also highlighted the lack of any mention of the many school shootings that have occurred in recent years, the latest being in Parkland, Fla., which sparked civil protests from the kids themselves.

One of the Parkland students was a guest last night. But did President Trump offer up any solutions to keep guns out of shooters’ hands? Of course not. 

In further calling for an end to illegal immigration, Trump criticized “wealthy politicians and donors (who) push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.” 

No Democrat is pushing for open borders. Period. Furthermore, given that the Trump organization had to recently fire at least 18 undocumented immigrants, his hypocrisy reeks to high heaven. 

After calling for bipartisanship and saying he wants to find compromise to solve problems together, he attacked Democrats for promoting socialism, declaring America will never become a socialist country.

Recall that Trump has cozied up to Vladimir Putin, the head of the former socialist superpower. Trump himself made millions in his business by taking advantage of government grants and subsidies in his real estate business. Who has benefited more than him from government aid?

He also continued to parrot the Republican hypocrisy surrounding a woman’s reproductive rights while distorting the truth on reproductive freedom bills in New York and Virginia, describing ghoulish, untrue situations the bills would allow.  

Republicans — and Trump since he became a Republican — are quick to defend individual freedom to the ends of the earth, unless it means the right to decide the fate of a woman’s body. Then they think that mostly male politicians, legislators, judges and courts know better than women, their doctors and their families.  

ADVERTISEMENT

There are many more examples of Trump's misguided statements, untruths, exaggerations and hypocrisies, but one deserves to be underscored because it was in a category all of its own. 

Trump threatened that there “could not be peace or legislation if there was war and investigation.” The weird rhyme aside, it was a threat that if Democrats did not cease to exercise their constitutional oversight duties, he would refuse to sign legislation.  

The White House wanted the State of the Union speech to be unifying. Sadly, the state of the State of the Union speech was exactly what this administration has unleashed on this country for the last two years: chaos. 

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.