Chris Cillizza vs. Jonathan Chait on Tonight’s Trump Speech
In the early returns at least Trump’s speech tonight snowed a lot of pundits. No surprise. Let me focus on what I can praise in Trump’s speech-as it’s not much. I give him credit for-finally-condemning the waive of threats and attacks on Jewish schools and institutions and finally acknowledging the vile, racist murder of an Indian man in India last week.
Of course, Trump took back twice as much with the other hand by draping himself with the crime victims of-only-illegal immigrants. He even talked about a department that keeps track of crime by illegal immigrants. All of this is very nasty and gives the false impression that undocumented immigrants commit more crime than others.
But no doubt, Trump worked on his ‘tone’ tonight and many pundits can’t see beyond that. This is not Chris Cillizza’s media for nothing.
"Trump spoke in complete sentences and didn't use the n-word, therefore he's presidential."
– Every pundit on CNN, in 30 minutes.
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) March 1, 2017
And yes, Cillizza was gushing.
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) March 1, 2017
“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 centers at the start of the speech was a very nice grace note and his honoring of the widow of the Navy SEAL killed in the recent Yemen raid was remarkably powerful moment.”
I acknowledged his condemnation of threats on Jewish community centers. But truthfully it took him way too long. Any other President would have done this right off the bat. If Hillary Clinton had condemned this-as she would have on the first day-Cillizza would not be impressed.
Of course, if she were President these threats wouldn’t be happening at this level of volume. For more on if Hillary Clinton were President-as she should be-see here.
I find his moment with the widow a very powerful moment in the sense of being so highly and grossly manipulative. Trump is using her as a human shield while he refuses to take any responsibility for the very poorly planned raid that should not have happened. The slain Navy Seal’s father had the right idea: he refused to even shake Trump’s hand. But now the widow is there to make Trump look like some kind of hero when he’s the opposite of that.
But this is Chris Cillizza. He’d praise Hitler himself for good optics and a ‘nice touch.’
Jonathan Chait on the other hand gets it:
“A casual listener to President Trump’s speech to Congress might have the impression of a president who has endorsed a mix of raw nationalism and popular bipartisan goals. Repeatedly, Trump implored Democrats to join together to pass his agenda. (“On this and so many other things, Democrats and Republicans should get together and unite for the good of our country, and for the good of the American people.”)”
Of course, you don’t get a more ‘casual listener’ than Chris Cillizza-who again, thinks only optics matter. Who cares if nothing Trump says is true? Why quibble?
It takes some slight familiarity with the details to recognize how hollow his offer is, and how unlikely Democrats are to take it up.
“Trump promised “massive tax relief for the middle class.” In fact, his tax proposal overwhelmingly benefits the rich, and the plan being designed by his allies in Congress benefits the rich exclusively. He proposed subsidies for “private, charter, magnet, [or] religious” schools. There is Democratic support for public school choice, and evidence to support its effectiveness, but the private school vouchers Trump insists on subsidizing are a dismal failure. There’s no bipartisan support for an ideological crusade to divert resources to sectarian institutions. Trump proposed a plan “to make childcare accessible,” but that plan is a giveaway to the rich and does not help families that need help the most.”
Exactly. If you actually listen to what he said-rather than like Cillizza just how what he said sounds-it’s clear Dems aren’t going to bite. He wants to do infrastructure? Show us a substantive proposal, then we’ll talk. But until I see it, I don’t believe it. It’s likely a highway privatization scheme.
Like so much Trump says, his position on foreign policy is totally incoherent. He’s after NATO about paying their fair share. He claimed tonight that they are now paying or starting to pay because of his tough talk. Again, I take nothing he says on faith.
But allegedly the reason we need to demand NATO ‘pay its fair share’ is that we’re been overextended in foreign policy adventures. Yet Trump is also:
1. Calling for what he calls ‘One of the biggest increases in defense spending in US history.’
2. Calling to roll back spending on the State Department. Less diplomatic solutions means more being pushed into military adventurism.
He talks about all these roads and bridges which could have been built without all the foreign wars and yet he is calling for a huge increase in defense spending. Doesn’t add up. What else is new?
Chait sums it up nicely:
“On the whole, Trump’s agenda shows a president who has not departed from the plutocratic agenda that has dominated his party for a quarter century, but only added grotesque, cruel, racist, and deeply stupid selling points. He has nothing to offer a party not enamored of the opportunity to carry out a massive and historic upward redistribution of wealth.”
Just in case you think I’m too tough on Chris-he’s not that clueless:
"My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America." #Jointsession
— Tracy Jan (@TracyJan) March 1, 2017
This is a line lots of people — Democrats and Republicans — will applaud https://t.co/0C1SOvFOUL
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) March 1, 2017
Want to bet? What was great actually is after Trump talked about his fake infrastructure plan they showed Elizabeth Warren who couldn’t have looked more unimpressed.
Ditto Nancy Pelosi and Al Franken here.
— albertina rizzo (@albz) March 1, 2017
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