Trump praised for State of the Union address

Chris Cillizza writes:

US President delivered a strong speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, an address sure to embolden both the chief executive and Congressional Republicans who support him.

Here are some notes on the best and the worst of the night that was.

WINNERS

• Donald Trump: This was the best “big” speech he has given as president. It may well have been the best speech Trump has given since he entered politics way back in June 2015. Trump didn’t walk away from his decidedly dark vision of the current state of the country but his overall tone was more conciliatory and optimistic than I’ve ever heard him.

Trump hit a few very nice notes: His condemnation of threats against Jewish community centres at the start of the speech was a very nice grace note and his honouring of the widow of the Navy SEAL killed in the recent Yemen raid was remarkably powerful moment.

The tribute to the Navy SEAL and interaction with his widow was incredibly moving.

• Steve Bannon and Ivanka Trump: If you are looking for the two biggest influencers in terms of what Trump said and how he said it, look no further than Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and Ivanka, the president’s eldest daughter. The unapologetic nationalism and indictment of the political system was pure Bannon. The push for paid family leave and focus on education was all Ivanka.

An unlikely combination.

LOSERS

• The devilish details of replacing Obamacare: In the runup to the Trump speech, Republican members of Congress voiced hopes that Trump might give them guidance about how he’d like to replace Obamacare. What Trump did talk about – lowering the price of prescription drugs, keeping the pre-existing conditions provision – are widely popular idea. The issue, of course, is how to pay for all of this if you strip out the rest of the elements of Obamacare.

• People rooting for Trump’s imminent demise: He’s not going anywhere, folks. And that speech suggests he might have more upside than almost anyone thought.

He’s here for 202 more weeks or even 410.

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