In his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Donald Trump proclaimed a “new American moment.” Unlike the annual address’s typical, forward-thinking framing, that moment, the president told us, is not near, close, or upon us—it is now. According to our ever-circumspect commander-in-chief, the Trump presidency has ushered in a new golden age in just one year. It will apparently not, however, contain any policy prescriptions or legislative initiatives. The speech was long on celebration but almost entirely devoid of new ideas. President Trump appears to have no agenda for his moment other than to bask in it.
Empty thought it may have been, the speech was a fitting capstone for the administration’s first year of restructuring the Republican Party. Trump boasted about a soaring stock market and large corporate tax cuts (populism!) while once again framing the immigration crisis as one of murderous Latino gangs roving suburbia’s sidewalks. Moments before calling for unity, he impliedly chastised black celebrities for not standing for the national anthem. It was a clear marker of where his administration now stands. Trump is a plutocrat happy to hand his less fortunate supporters the figment of control that is white supremacy. Continue reading