01:49 - Source: CNN
Trump touts achievements, hits Obamacare
(CNN) —  

CNN asked commentators for views on President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the authors. View more opinion articles on CNN.

Ana Navarro: Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde

Ana Navarro
Ana Navarro

President Donald Trump’s speech tonight was like watching Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde give the State of the Union. If you had been in a coma for the last three years, and suddenly awoke in time to hear just the opening minutes and closing minutes, you would think Trump was a unifying, bipartisan, gracious leader.

But alas, we have seen, heard, and read the tweets of the unscripted Trump. Just a few hours before this speech, he hosted a lunch with TV anchors where he, according to a New York Times report, attacked Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and John McCain – a national hero who has been dead for over five months.

Then there was the part during the speech where he railed against illegal immigration, which he said results in lower wages for the American working class. Has he no shame? Just in recent weeks, the Trump Organization had to fire many undocumented employees who’ve worked in at least five of his properties for years. Some of those workers were sitting in the audience.

Dr. Jekyll found some common ground and points of unity – criminal justice reform, lowering the price of drugs, celebrating the achievements of women, celebrating little Grace Eline’s fight against cancer. But at times, Mr. Hyde took over. He demonized immigrants, fanned the flames of hysteria over a caravan carrying migrants and wrongly claimed Democrats want open borders.

Bottom line: Though there were moments of unity and optimism, we’ve all seen this movie before. Tomorrow, Trump will be back to using “Executive time” to watch cable news, tweet attacks at his political foes and the free press while eating “hamberders.” Some things never change.

Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist and CNN political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @ananavarro.

SE Cupp: Trump and the women in white

SE Cupp
SE Cupp

Among the many remarkable moments at tonight’s State of the Union, one stood out to me. President Donald Trump’s seeming magnanimity in a spontaneous moment was full of intriguing layers.

When the President boasted about creating new jobs, 58% of which he said had gone to women, many of the newly elected women Democrats in the House looked around at each other as if to say, “Yeah — like us!”

They stood and clapped, earning the applause of the room, and indeed the President, who joked, “You weren’t supposed to do that.”

As he went on, saying that “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before,” he told them not to sit down yet — they would like the next part.

“Exactly one century after Congress passed the Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than ever before.”

After more applause, the President congratulated those women — Democrats, many of whom had sat with crossed arms and puckered faces throughout most of Trump’s speech.

One way to view this is with pleasant surprise — that in an unscripted moment in which Trump’s detractors were stealing the spotlight away from him, he reacted with atypical poise, good humor and graciousness. As opposed to the alternative, which we’ve all witnessed at his rallies and on Twitter, this was certainly preferable.

Another way to view this, more cynically, is to wonder aloud if the President doesn’t realize or perhaps doesn’t believe that many of those Democratic women were elected as a direct response to his own first two years in office. They were, in fact, in that very building on this very night for the first time because enough voters — significantly suburban women — decided to turn out in support of Democrats instead of Republicans, or to simply stay home.

More importantly, though, their presence reflected the wresting away from Republicans the majority control of Congress, Trump’s autonomy, and his near-unilateral influence over policy over the past two years. It is because of them, the women he gamely congratulated, that he will now face oversight and investigations into accusations of corruption , that he’s been denied a victory on his signature policy proposal, and that he will likely face continued obstacles to advancing his agenda.

Whether Trump doesn’t equate the two things — his presidency with the women’s midterm election wins — or whether he’s simply accepted defeat is something only he knows. But it made for some truly remarkable theater.

SE Cupp is a CNN political commentator and the host of “SE Cupp Unfiltered.”

Errol Louis: A sunny speech turned sour

Errol Louis
Errol Louis

While President Trump’s speech at the State of the Union address promised and pleaded for cooperation between Republicans and Democrats, his core message often veered into areas where little common ground exists. That bodes ill for the chances of resolving the current standoff over immigration policy generally and Trump’s proposed southern border wall in particular.

What began as a sunny, confident speech about America’s surging economy – “We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs,” Trump said – turned sour when he brought up the issue of immigration.

“No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration,” said Trump. “Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards. Meanwhile, working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration – reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.”

An audible chorus of groans and murmurs by members of Congress signaled the fight that lies ahead.

And Trump waded into the always-bitter abortion debate by attacking a recently-passed New York law that allows for the termination of pregnancies at any point to protect the mother’s health. Trump called it “legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth” and asked Congress to pass a law overturning it.

Toward the end of his speech, Trump offered more healing oratory: “We must choose whether we are defined by our differences – or whether we dare to transcend them.”

But the spell was broken by then.

Those who hoped the State of the Union speech might unify America’s warring tribes went home disappointed. As the battle continues, the prospect of another government shutdown looms. Trump has suggested he might close the government again if he doesn’t get funding for a border wall.

Given an opportunity to walk back the threat, Trump chose to dig in deeper during the State of the Union. Federal workers, and the rest of us, should be worried.

Errol Louis is the host of “Inside City Hall,” a nightly political show on NY1, a New York all-news channel.

Mark Bauerlein: The truth Democrats didn’t want to hear

Mark Bauerlein
Courtesy Mark Bauerlein
Mark Bauerlein

Liberals think Stacey Abrams is the perfect foil for Donald Trump, that it’s right to follow a rich white male who, they might allege, colluded his way into office with a thoughtful black female who was “cheated” out of office – and whose response to his State of the Union address was largely one long complaint. And the women in Congress who donned white to connect Mr. Trump’s failings with women to a movement that ended 100 years ago – more empty symbolism.

By contrast, the President said, “Choose greatness … America is winning each and every day … Walls work, and walls save lives … four beautiful words: Made in the USA …” It’s nice to hear good things about the country instead of endless accusations of racism, transphobia etc. Unemployment is down, manufacturing up, the US is now the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world.

The discussion of immigration was tense. It would have been hard for the Democrats to point at the ICE officer whom Mr. Trump praised as he stood and call him a demon. Harder still to brand the wall an outrage when an “Angel Family” rose and Mr. Trump described the murder of their parents. Hard for Republicans, too, to gainsay “Great nations do not fight endless wars.”

The fact is that the economic trends validate the working class, “America First” vision of the President. We’re tired of foreign half-wars, too, and we want borders. And we want to “keep faith in America’s destiny,” to find the truth of it in the Holocaust survivor’s memory of when he was rescued: “It’s the Americans!”

Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory University, senior editor of the journal “First Things” and author of “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future; Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30.”

David Gergen: Is it too late for Trump to rebrand himself?

David Gergen
David Gergen

Had his inaugural address or his past speeches to a Joint Session of Congress been in the tenor and tone of the speech Donald Trump delivered Tuesday night, he might now enjoy broader support in the country. Sure this State of the Union once again had plenty of red meat for his base; sure he again made some outrageous arguments (e.g., his claim that had he not been elected, we would now be at war with North Korea). But this speech for the first time tried hard to reach out beyond his base and showed some heart.

When have we ever heard Trump so fully embrace paid family leave? A serious effort to end HIV-AIDS in the next 10 years? Call to conquer childhood cancer? Or revive his commitment to lowering drug prices and renewing our infrastructure?

Did it work? That is a tougher question. This effort to rebrand himself comes very late. Millions of Americans have now made up their minds about Trump, believing he is unfit for the presidency. Many will see the speech as an exercise in cynicism coming from a soulless leader who will say and do whatever is needed to keep a firm grip on power. This was a night of the Big Lie, they will say — just wait and see his tweets in the next several days.

Trump kept arguing that it was up to others to choose greatness. The truth is that it is really up to him to persuade voters of who he truly is.

David Gergen has been a White House adviser to four presidents and is a senior political analyst at CNN. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he is a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Aaron David Miller: On Syria and Afghanistan, a President headed for the exits

Aaron David Miller
Courtesy Aaron David Miller
Aaron David Miller

If there is a consistent theme in an otherwise disjointed Trump foreign policy, it’s the President’s risk-aversion when it comes to getting America involved in new trillion dollar nation-building exercises, and his desire to get out of old ones. And this was on display again Tuesday night with a bumper sticker takeaway on Syria and Afghanistan. ”Great nations do not fight endless wars.”

In appearing to praise the Taliban (“In Afghanistan, my administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban,”) – with no similar nod to the Afghan government – Trump seemed to suggest not only did the Taliban want to negotiate but desired peace too.

While this trope brings him perilously close to being unfavorably compared to his risk-averse predecessor, Barack Obama, it plays well with a base that sees little value in expanding US commitments abroad. And with an eye on 2020, Trump countered any charges of Obama-like weakness by claiming credit for nearly destroying ISIS and toughening up Iran policy by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, imposing sanctions and pledging “not to avert our eyes from a regime that chants Death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people.” But even on Iran, he called cautiously for more watching than confronting.

And further to his self-proclaimed desire to avoid a new war, Trump claimed that had he not been elected President, the US would have already have been at war rather than negotiating with North Korea.

Clearly, committing to withdraw from endless wars is a bold commitment to make in a State of the Union address, especially for a country that prides itself on engagement and leadership abroad. And there’s significant opposition in the Senate, which only last week–in a stinging rebuke–passed a resolution hammering Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan.

Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton are also uncomfortable with the President’s desire to draw down quickly, particularly in Syria where both would like to use US leverage to constrain and ultimately push Iran out of Syria.

And they will look for ways to ensure the withdrawals are well-organized, structured and, if possible, conditions-based. But make no mistake, based on his performance tonight, this President seems determined to draw down American forces in Syria and Afghanistan and head for the exits.

Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East analyst at the State Department and adviser in Republican and Democratic administrations, is a vice president and director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Roxanne Jones: Donald Trump was speaking into a world of whiteness

Roxanne Jones
Roxanne Jones

Overwhelming whiteness, that’s what I saw when I watched President Trump’s State of the Union speech. And from the moment he spoke, I understood – again – that Trump’s America does not include me. If not for the rebuttal address by Stacey Abrams, who spoke of our nation’s diversity and unity, I would not have recognized the America Trump spoke of last night.

In Trump’s fantasy world, white men are the heroes. They have single-handedly built this nation, won our wars, built our economy. They’ve even been compassionate, handing out second chances to former black inmates who’ve spent decades in prison for nonviolent, minor crimes. They protect us from evil immigrants who are coming to kill us and take our jobs.

How nice, except it’s all one big lie.

Let’s not forget that those former inmates were imprisoned by an unequal justice system — created by those benevolent white men to systemically mass incarcerate black and brown bodies. According to the NAACP, though blacks and Hispanics were roughly 32% of the US population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015. This systemic racism is why prison reform is necessary today.

And the immigrants fleeing Central America Trump wants us to fear? Don’t fall for it. Do we need immigration reform? Yes, but as for me, it’s not immigrants I fear when I think of my personal safety – it’s irresponsible, unstable American gun owners. Any quick search of US homicide rates will tell you that gun-crazed American citizens – not violent immigrants – are doing a fine job killing one another all by themselves.

So, Mr. President, I reject your whitewashed world. Take a tip from Abrams: next time you address America, please include me.

Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN, has been a producer, reporter and editor at the New York Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Jones is co-author of “Say it Loud: An Illustrated History of the Black Athlete.” She talks politics, sports and culture weekly on Philadelphia’s Praise 107.9 FM.

Alice Stewart: Trump’s message of greatness over gridlock

Alice Stewart
Alice Stewart

Trump’s State of the Union address will be remembered as a speech of policy and passion. With a hint of 2020 on the horizon, the President spoke to a divided Congress about his economic successes while driving home the need to choose greatness over gridlock.

He reiterated his case for building a wall to secure our southern border, re-enforced his commitment to the sanctity of life and touted his progress in rebuilding our military. The President raised a few Democratic eyebrows when he said America will never be a socialist country.

Passion often trumps policy in grandiose speeches. It was evident when Republicans chanted “USA! USA!” in response to the President declaring that “the state of our union is strong.” Democrats followed suit upon hearing there are “more women in Congress than ever before.”

Like it or not, Trump is a leader who evokes intense emotions. His State of the Union address is a perfect example. The challenge now – for both sides - is on the follow-through.

Alice Stewart is a CNN political commentator and former communications director for Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner: The women of America aren’t falling for Trump’s lies

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

I sat there in the chamber last night watching the State of the Union and my stomach dropped as President Trump dropped lie after misleading lie. He dangerously lied about women’s health. He lied about immigrant families. He lied about the State of OUR Union.

Walking out, women who were watching together in the galley above talked in whispers out of deference to the venue, “Did you hear that? He lied.” Others whispered back, “He did.” And then the murmur slowly built as details were shared.

These lies are dangerous. Because Trump’s words have real world impacts. Hate crimes are rising under his leadership, children are being separated from their parents, lives and basic human rights are being lost.

But forget about all the lies for a moment.

There are two very real top takeaways from the State of the Union.

First, the women of America aren’t falling for Trump’s lies, instead we’re fact checking him in real time – and we are talking above whispers, marching in the streets and in the US Capitol, rising to protect our national economy, families, and communities.

Second: Momentum is on our side. We are greater than the fear that Trump is spreading and we are united. Visual proof of this last night was in the sea of Congressional women – many newly elected in a wave of change – listening to the State of the Union from so many backgrounds and communities all wearing white dresses, white blazers, white suits, and white shirts with Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the helm as Trump spoke. And then Stacey Abrams had the exact right words at the right time to keep the momentum going as the official responder to the State of the Union for the Democrats.

We are coming out to town halls, we’re making calls to leaders, we’re speaking out to our elected officials, more of us are running for office (and winning!), we’re marching, and we know that our country is much better than the country that Trump has been projecting.

Make no mistake, Trump’s State of the Union was horrifying and wrong, but the rise of women’s leadership is a beacon of hope that together we can make our nation a place where freedom and community are for everyone. No exceptions.

The State of OUR union is strong.

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is executive director and co-founder of MomsRising.org, a nonprofit national organization that supports policies to improve family economic security. She is the author of “Keep Marching: How Every Woman Can Take Action and Change Our World.

Julian Zelizer: Trump’s words of unity: take a picture

Julian Zelizer
Julian Zelizer

The State of the Union is not good, to borrow a phrase from President Gerald Ford, and we should not pretend that things are about to get better.

The drama over tonight’s speech ignores the realities of this presidency.

President Trump is a divider, he is a fierce partisan, and he has repeatedly said things that are not true. He consistently plays to the nation’s fears, not its hopes.

Before the pundits speculate about a possible pivot, with Trump telling the nation that “we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution,” it is worth remembering that just today, during a lunch with TV anchors, the President reportedly insulted former Vice President Joe Biden, saying he was “dumb” and he dismissed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as a “nasty son of a bitch,” according to a report in the New York Times, citing the accounts of multiple people in the room.

During Tuesday night’s speech, he quickly abandoned an opening theme of unity to issue a dire warning over a “caravan” of immigrants surging to America’s southern border – a manufactured crisis that has stoked nativist sentiment and been the centerpiece of his drive for a multi-billion dollar wall.

To give any weight to those portions of the speech that included messages of unity is to be blind to the clear patterns that we have seen from this White House every day. There is almost no evidence to support the possibility of true bipartisanship or his putting aside the politics of anger.

The President’s address must be seen as political theater put on by a Commander-in-Chief who faces historically low approval ratings and who is trying to restore a modicum of strength after his party was battered in the midterms and soundly defeated in the recent battle over the budget.

Trump wanted to present an image that is at odds with who he is, but convenient for the moment. Most Democrats, after two years of brutal partisan attacks and disinformation, cannot trust this President in any kind of serious alliance.

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and the author, with Kevin Kruse, of the new book “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974.”

Tara Setmayer: Teleprompter Trump delivers some touching moments

Tara Setmayer
Jeremy Freeman
Tara Setmayer

You never quite know what you’re going to get when Donald Trump gets behind a podium. He often breaks from presidential norms in cringeworthy ways. However, his State of the Union speeches have operated within relatively normal boundaries. And Tuesday night bore that out.

Of course there were some ad-libs and a laundry list of self-promotional claims that had to be fact checked in real time. And the speech was not well delivered. It felt disjointed, low energy, contradictory. Teleprompter Trump is never as entertaining as Twitter Trump or Rally Trump.

On the other hand ,there were touching, powerful moments. The fierce partisan divide, often spearheaded by Trump himself, melted away as the chamber honored a Holocaust survivor and celebrated his liberation by American soldiers; sympathized with a brave young cancer survivor; and recognized the lives put back together as a result of bipartisan support for criminal justice reform. It was refreshing to see, even if it was only for a few minutes.

But there were also times throughout the speech where Trump threw catnip to his base by demagoguing issues like immigration, border security and the investigation of his campaign and administration at the expense of the bipartisan unity he claimed he sought in the earlier portions of the speech.

Trump’s SOTU remarks may have included a few overtures of bipartisanship but this was just one night. His ad hominem attacks, Twitter rantings and falsehoods thus far during his presidency have been closer to “Art of the Con man” than “Art of the Deal.” He has given us no reason to think that will change when tomorrow comes.

Tara Setmayer, a CNN political commentator, is the host of the “Honestly Speaking With Tara” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @tarasetmayer.

Scott Jennings: A speech in search of swing voters

Scott Jennings
courtesy of Scott Jennings
Scott Jennings

I was watching the State of the Union Tuesday night through a political lens, as this event effectively kicked off the President’s two-year campaign for reelection and Democratic challengers have been joining the race. And what was particularly interesting was how President Trump presented himself as above the political fray, framing his solutions to “problems neglected by leaders of both parties over many decades.” He argued his agenda is that “of the American people,” and not owned by one party or the other. He said that “victory is not winning for our party, victory is winning for our country,” a clear smack at what he sees as partisan Democrats who are trying to effectively end his presidency through intransigence and investigations.

That construct – portraying himself as something of an independent who stands against the “swamp” no matter which alligators are in charge – could work for him in 2020 as he seeks to regain trust from middle class swing voters who voted for him in 2016 but swung against him in the 2018 midterm. Tackling drug prices will work for the President politically, especially if he can churn out results. As he did in last year’s State of the Union, the President struck a mostly unifying tone.

While there were likely no receptive Democratic ears in the room, perhaps there were a few watching at home who feel their party is lunging too far into a fringe culture war and not enough toward finding areas of agreement with a President who is talking about policies that appeal to working class Americans (infrastructure, health care, and border security). People do want politicians to cooperate, so Trump casting himself as willing to work cooperatively puts the onus on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reciprocate (which she is unlikely to do). This opens a good line of messaging for the President’s campaign in 2020.

I also noticed a clear attempt to speak to women voters tonight, which must be in response to the midterm results. Trump will need to stay with that for the next two years; one speech won’t cut it, but I was heartened by the beginning of a pivot on that front. Finally, I liked that President Trump brought up abortion, as Democrats have overplayed their hand as of late and appear hellbent on going outside the political mainstream on late-term abortions.

Scott Jennings, a CNN contributor, is a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and former campaign adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnell. He is a partner at RunSwitch Public Relations in Louisville, Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @ScottJenningsKY

Peter Bergen: On foreign policy, a link between Trump and Obama

Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen

If there was an underlying theme in President Trump’s State of the Union about America’s engagement in the world you could sum it up in one word: Withdrawal.

Trump pointed to the nearly 7,000 American servicemen killed in the United States’ long post-9/11 wars and the more than 50,000 who have been badly wounded. He also asserted an exaggerated figure that the US has “spent more than 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East.”

The President said that some 2,000 US soldiers in Syria are being withdrawn now that ISIS has been largely been evicted from the territory it held there.

Trump also confirmed that his administration “is holding constructive talks with…the Taliban.” Progress in those negotiations, Trump said, would enable a drawdown of the estimated 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, leaving some kind of residual force to focus on “counterterrorism.”

All of this is consistent with what Trump said during the presidential campaign when he repeatedly complained about the trillion of dollars that the US. had spent on its post-9/11 wars in the greater Middle East.

Even before he started campaigning, Trump had tweeted in 2013, “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.”

Once you get past their rhetorically quite different styles this is an important commonality between President Barack Obama and Trump: Both saw them themselves as elected to get the United States out of the seemingly endless, expensive post-9/11 wars.

Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America and professor of practice at Arizona State University. He has reported from Afghanistan for two and a half decades and is the co-editor of “Talibanistan: Negotiating the Borders Between Terror, Politics, and Religion.”

Carrie Sheffield: A country at the crossroads

Carrie Sheffield
Peter Cooper
Carrie Sheffield

President Donald Trump was compassionate and strong in Tuesday’s State of The Union address. He spoke of a shared desire for cooperation, compromise and the common good. In laying out his work on job creation, regulatory reform, repealing an onerous Obamacare individual mandate, praising America’s new position as a net exporter of energy, standing up to China, decimating ISIS, combating socialism and more, the President reminded us why he won.

In speaking out against pro-choice governors in New York and Virginia, President Trump reminded conservatives why they overwhelmingly support his administration’s pro-life agenda to protect innocent life and the dreams of unborn children. President Trump also called out congressional Democrats for their intransigence in moving judicial and administration nominees and stood firm against Iran’s threats of genocide against the Jewish people.

The President spoke movingly of the case of Alice Johnson, sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender. She became a face for bipartisan criminal justice reforms signed into law last year in the First Step Act.

In her SOTU response, I applaud Democrat Stacey Abrams for saying she didn’t want President Trump to fail – this basic sentiment has been lost among many of her congressional Democratic colleagues.

The President laid out our country’s crossroads: “Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make.”

Carrie Sheffield, a conservative commentator, is the founder of Bold, a digital news network committed to bipartisan dialogue. She is also national editor for Accuracy in Media, a citizens’ media watchdog whose mission is to promote accuracy, fairness and balance in news reporting.

Michael D’Antonio: A speech that distorted reality on immigration

Michael D'Antonio
Toni Raiten-D'Antonio.
Michael D'Antonio

The would-be border wall builder wants to construct bridges. The wounder-in-chief, who calls football player “sons-of-bitches” and puts asylum-seeking children in pens, wants to be a healer. The man determined to take us back to the imaginary past of his youth wants us to “unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future.”

President Trump’s State of the Union speech included much bragging about the economy and some ordinary calls for unity, but was most notable for his demonizing of undocumented immigrants and his anti-abortion extremism. For example, he distorted the reality of conditions on the border with Mexico. No matter how often Trump says it—and as real-time fact-checkers pointed out Tuesday night–no new state of emergency exists there, and no crisis justifies his demand for huge sums to build a wall there.

Just as familiar was Trump’s whining about the troubles he faces as Congress joins prosecutors in investigating whether there was collusion between Russian operatives and Trump associates during the presidential campaign and transition, as well as other matters. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he said, echoing Richard Nixon’s 1974 complaint about investigations into the Watergate burglary and coverup.

A more generous observer, or one who hasn’t been paying close attention, might credit warm notes he struck about the number of women in Congress and bipartisan cooperation on criminal justice reform. However, criminal justice reform was the exception not the rule amid the extreme partisanship in Washington, and most of the new women in Congress were elected to stand up to him.

Tough opposition, culminating in the shellacking he experienced at the polls last November, have left Trump weakened. This means the state of the union, which is much more than its economy, is strong. With little thanks to him.

Michael D’Antonio is the author of the book “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” and co-author with Peter Eisner of “The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence.”