Donald Trump Scorches NFL Protests In First State Of The Union; Praises Apple & Obamacare Repeal

Developing…refresh for more later: “We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare, the individual mandate is now gone, said Donald Trump tonight in his first official State of the Union to great Republican applause. We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year, forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans,” the President also said of his predecessor’s primary legislative achievement.

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“Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses, many of them thousands of dollars per worker,” POTUS said of his own big legislative get of his first year. “Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers,” he said from a well paced speech to the people’s representatives and the TV cameras.

Trump being Trump, even when he is trying to stay on script the President boisterously spoke of Americans sharing “the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.” If viewers didn’t pick up on his nod to his frequently articulated and tweeter distain for NFL players who take a knee or other form of protest during the playing of the national anthem at games, the President threw that red state red meat ball high and clear on Tuesday.

“Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem,” Trump virtually belted out in reference to 12-year old Preston Sharp and his flag planting efforts as his supporters took to their feet and clapped their hands. These remarks come less than a week before the Super Bowl sees the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles face off for football’s big trophy on February 4.

Immediately kicking off with memories of his first time at the podium in front of Congress last year and recalling that “a new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land,” a somewhat stiff and somber Trump also declared the “incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success” his administration has achieved since taking office. With a “I think they like you Steve” aside, Trump went off the teleprompter early as the Congress gave “the legend from Louisiana” Rep. Steve Scalise a round of applause after his near tragic shooting last June at a Congressional baseball practice. Otherwise, with some tame chest beating about the tax cuts bills and low unemployment rates among minorities, the speech started as fairly standard SOTU that almost any Democrat or Republican could have delivered.

After Trump’s successful and prompter adhering dalliances with the global elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Tuesday’s relatively low expectations speech comes as Washington DC swirls with more rumors that the former Celebrity Apprentice host will truly fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller as the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election deepens. The heavily partisan political and pundit scene also speculated that Trump would pull off a few surprises off such as overturning Barack Obama’s executive order to close the terrorist detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

Of course, this is not the first time the 45th POTUS has addressed a joint session of Congress but technically the February 28, 2017 speech was not a SOTU for the then very new Commander-in-Chief. The conventional wisdom is to expect a stark contrast to Obama’s pledges in his first State of the Union on January 27, 2010 to seek clean energy job creation, wrap the knuckles of the Supreme Court and hit “rescue, rebuild, restore” as his themes in the still troubled economic times. Number of standing ovations and other math comparisons to Obama’s first SOTU aside, the real comparison of Trump’s speech tonight may be Bill Clinton’s 1998 address to Congress as he faced a sex scandal that threatened to bring down his Presidency. Ignoring the elephant in the Republican dominated room, Clinton stayed away from the pending impeachment proceedings, stayed on an optimistic message and asserted that “the state of our union is strong.”

Then again this being the endless media tsunami and spectacle of the Trump administration, news was made before the late to leave the White House President even uttered a single word.

Notably absent from the Davos trip of last week after more revelations about her husband’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels were made public, Melania Trump is in the gallery for the speech. In an unusual move travelling separately from the President to Capital Hill The First Lady will sit with the usual telegenic well-chosen group of over a dozen special guests for POTUS to call on, as has been the case since the Reagan Era. Trump was giving shout outs to many of them from nearly the top of the speech. Not in the House chamber on Tuesday a record number of 14 Democrats including Rep. John Lewis and Rep Maxine Waters, who is scheduled to give a response of her own to Trump’s remarks on BET tonight. Drawing on a well-known family dynasty of their own, the Democrats have picked Robert Kennedy’s grandson and Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Kennedy III to deliver the official response to the SOTU.

Of special note perhaps to Kiefer Sutherland, this year’s designated survivor is Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The former Georgia Governor will be watching from a secure undisclosed location as the back-up if, as is the primary plot of the ABC drama, the rest of the line of succession is wiped out.

Something that even in fiction is too horrible to contemplate, no matter where on the political spectrum you stand.