Donald Trump is a 15-year-old boy playing dress-up in daddy’s shoes. Only instead of wearing shiny loafers and carrying a briefcase, he’s wearing a flag pin and clutching a nuke.
Even with his administration refusing to give details of the speech beforehand, nobody really expected Trump’s first State of the Union to be a revelation. Though he addressed the Congressional sausage party with the usual unwarranted swagger, he also stuck to the teleprompter and avoided praising Nazis outright.
Behind him, Mike Pence and Paul Ryan nodded and smiled, relieved they had managed to stop Trump from spitting up on himself long enough to reiterate basic Republican talking points: bootstrap pulling, anti-immigration rhetoric, increased military spending and isolationist foreign policy, tax cuts and trickle-down economics.
But it was still The Donald. He praised “beautiful, clean coal” like it’s Stormy Daniels or Russian prostitutes with buckets of pee. He delivered the line “We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work” as though he hadn’t gotten his first millions from his father. He commended the “great, great people” of ICE and decried the “drugs and gangs” of “illegal immigrants.” It’s a small wonder he didn’t call them all rapists again.
It wasn’t until the end, however, that the true, chest-thumping Trump shone through. After clearing the boring legislative stuff, he was free to luxuriate in the fun part of being the prez: threatening other countries with the “unmatched power” of your nuclear arsenal.
Donald Trump believes he was born to threaten dictators. While his first year in office was light on accomplishments, the one he can brag about is his ongoing “campaign of maximum pressure” against North Korea. He spoke of United States military readiness with the love and affection he saves for his hot daughter and coal. He sported a truly maniacal smile when talking about the possibility of a nuclear stand-off.
He bragged that “Our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines and we no longer tell enemies our plans.” But that is simply because he has no timelines or plans, just reactionary dick-waving.
Trump doesn’t care about small business or the working man. He doesn’t care about veterans or the boy who lays flags on their graves. Who cares about infrastructure when you can tweet insults at foreign despots—and know they’ll hear you? He wasn’t even a Republican until he started running for President, now he’ll happily deliver any message the GOP wants so long as he can keep the nuclear launch codes. He’s a bully who has just been given access to the most deadly spit-wads in human history.
When George W. Bush was running for reelection, I joked that if his opponent won, it would mean a lot less humor on The Daily Show. Of course, he didn’t and I later ate that joke. Trump’s first year in office was marked by constant jokes about his impeachment, that he wouldn’t even last to his first State of the Union before some scandal finally knocked him out. Or that Congressional Republicans would oppose him along with the Democrats. Instead, we just get more and more proof that no scandal is too dirty and that Republicans hated Obama enough to unite around even Trump, to kill as many of the 44th president’s legacies as possible.
The fanfare is over. The hope that he’ll be out of office before his first term expires, is dead. Now Donald Trump is just … president.
Welcome to the next 3-7 years.