As a public service, we here at The Washington Post have prewritten responses to President Trump’s not-yet-delivered State of the Union address. Not-yet-actually-made-public, in fact. This is a marvelous age in which trivialities like “what the president said” need not be taken into consideration when opining on what the president said. Hence this article, which will hopefully free up some of your pontification time that you can then spend buying subscriptions to newspapers.


Middle-ground-seeking pundits

Suggested tweets:

  • Say what you will about the content of the speech, but Trump tonight conveyed the weight of the office. In a word: Presidential.
  • It is rare that we see a Trump who can stick to the script. Tonight, he did just that.
  • That is the best speech Trump has given since [other time he read from Teleprompter].

Lengthier response:

In his first State of the Union address, President Trump presented a vision for the country’s future that seems unlikely to be adopted by the members of his party on Capitol Hill who were in attendance. There was one unequivocal success: A president who, over the course of his first 12 months in that office, has often seemed unmoored or uncontrolled on Tuesday night offered a composed, deliberate vision of what his presidency could be.

He looked, for [one of the few times/the first time] of his presidency, like America’s president.

Having pledged to offer America a vision of the unity that has so far eluded him, Trump made a powerful case for the American Dream, anchoring it in his glowing evaluations of the economy. Pointing to growth in the stock market since the 2016 election, Trump made the argument that this success offered an opportunity for Americans to put petty disputes behind them. A strong economy, he argued, would lead to a strong America. [Add quotation marks to that sentence as needed.]

Perhaps his best moments came when he recognized [invited guest]. [Riff from here.]

Never-Trump Republicans

Suggested tweets:

  • Trump’s speech could have been given by most recent Republican presidents. Too bad he does not govern like them.
  • It is jarring to see Trump going through the motions of the things that an actual president does.
  • That speech seems to have been designed specifically to trigger a spasm of positive “he looked so presidential” reviews on cable news tomorrow.

Lengthier response:

Speaking from a lectern on the floor of the House of Representatives, Donald Trump — the man who would be presidential — outlined a vision for America’s future which certainly held some appeal for his audience. It was impossible, though, to separate out the promises from the man, to consider the proposals Trump offered outside of the context of Trump’s being the one to give them.

It was at times odd to see Trump embracing the auspices of an office he spends the other 364 days of the year undermining. Certainly his trumpeting of the economy and pledge to [favorite policy issue] earned deserved applause from the assembled members of Congress. Lingering unseen everywhere in the room were the unanswered questions about his relationship with Russia and about his efforts to undercut the symbolism of the American experiment itself.

Trump wasted little time in celebrating his appointment of a slew of far-right judges to the bench, the central value proposition of his presidency to conservatives. He justifiably celebrated his party’s tax bill — a bill for which his party certainly deserves most of the credit. It was often hard to suspend disbelief and fully accept Trump as the president that made these things happen.

One speech is not enough to stitch back together those mores Trump has torn apart. [Quote the Federalist Papers here.]

Enthusiastic Trump defenders

Suggested tweets:

  • THAT’s my president! #MAGA
  • In one hour, Trump made a better case for America than Obama [alt: Obummer] ever did in eight years.
  • Hey MSM: If you’re still confused why America loves our president, hopefully that speech helped you see why.

Lengthier response:

In a blistering, rousing speech, President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday presented his vision for America’s greatness, a vision untainted by the squeamishness of his party, unconcerned about the pitiable objections of the opposition and unrestrained by the ludicrous political correctness State of the Union addresses so often contain. For the first of his seven such speeches to come, Trump knocked it out of the park.

On issue after issue Trump presented a straightforward path to the American greatness he promised and has so often delivered. Immigration reform, boom. A superheated economy, boom. A new respect for the values that made America America, boom.

Trump demonstrated not only the inspiring vision we have come to expect, but he also delivered oratory worthy of the greatest statesmen in American history, often prompting extended rounds of applause from those on both sides of the aisle.

[Quote at length from the speech here.]

The Resistance

Suggested tweets:

  • STILL NOT MY PRESIDENT.
  • I challenge any pundit to call that train-wreck of a speech “presidential.”
  • Amazing. That was just an incredibly bleak vision of an America last seen in 1955.

Lengthier response:

President Trump brought his Trump-branded debasement of American politics down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol on Tuesday night, presenting a State of the Union address marked by anger, confused politics and a vision Americans rejected by nearly 3 million votes only 15 months ago.

At times seeming confused and rarely evoking more than a smattering of applause, Trump repeatedly claimed President Obama’s successes as his own, from stock prices to unemployment. He insisted he was advancing a message of unity even as he celebrated those policy positions that have done so much to tear America apart.

It was impossible, viewing the speech, not to imagine Robert S. Mueller III watching from somewhere nearby and thinking about what must be going through the special counsel’s mind. Trump could join elite company, after all: With all we have learned about the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian agents, it is easy to imagine Trump’s first State of the Union will be his last.

Perhaps his most cynical moment came when he recognized [invited guest]. [Riff from here.]