Top Moments from the State of the Union

Regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on, the State of the Union went pretty much exactly as you expected. Trump spent the first 10 minutes thanking exceptional Americans for heroic deeds done over the course of the past year. It wasn’t perfectly executed by any means, largely because even when Trump thanks someone he sounds like a dick, but it was a good opener. Everything afterwards, save for a few “across the aisle” pleas regarding things like paid family leave and inmate rehabilitation reform, was a right-wing pandering nightmare. Standing for the National Anthem? Check. Blaming undocumented immigration for violence? Check. Emphasizing “In God We Trust”? Check. I could go on, but I’m out of beer and I think you get the idea.

Any time Donald Trump talks for over an hour there are going to be highlights, but I’m here to give you the three best moments from the night in case you missed the excitement.

Trump claims black unemployment hits all-time low as exclusively white people stand and cheer

Has black unemployment in the United States hit an all-time low? According to a recent study, yes. Does Donald Trump have much to do with it. Eh, probably not.

The red line shows when Trump was elected. As you can see, it was already trending down for about six years. Hard to give him too much credit for what appears to have largely been Obama-era influenced. Regardless, this isn’t about that. It’s about the small black contingent in the chamber that sat together. This is them immediately after Trump claimed he was to thank for the decrease in black unemployment:

As you can see, they’re eternally grateful. It was a hilariously awkward moment and kudos to the camera guy for catching it so well. The largely white GOP side of the room, however? Ecstatic. Apparently they like when blacks have jobs, just so long as it isn’t the presidency.

Paul Ryan points to the sky

The winner for the most meme-worthy moment of the night goes to this:

I’m pretty sure a kid on my freshman football team did that after he scored a touchdown once and we made fun of him for like three years. And shockingly, that kid managed to look like less of an asshole while doing so. Also, why the weird finger wag? Was God moving around in a circle while Paul was making sure that everyone knew just how Christian he actually was. Had to stick to the moving target, Paul? The real loser here is Mike Pence who is gonna have to atone for looking less religious than Paul Ryan when he’s at the pearly gates someday. Chin up, Mike. Can’t wait to see these two battle this one out for a few more years.

Trump calls on Congress to only aid “friends of America”

This one should have seemed fairly benign. However, it was the context in which it happened that was the problem. Trump began by discussing his designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and immediately moved onto the United Nations condemnation of the act. Only after bitching about the nations who condemned the move (which was the entire developed world, btw), did he look into the camera and call on Congress to aid only our “friends” and not our “enemies.” Is every nation that doesn’t stand up for Israel our enemy now? That was the impression it gave me, at least. I want to see some more coverage on this one because maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but it definitely had an ominous vibe to it.

Overall, the speech was more about subtle pandering and and anti-immigration anecdotes than it was shocking, can’t miss moments. Still, the few mentioned above will likely be what folks are talking about around the water cooler tomorrow so if you need to pretend like you watched, there you go. Honestly, I expected it to be a little more wheels off than what we got. The only real lapse in decorum was when the GOP Congressmen gave us a “USA” chant that any college football student section would be proud of, but everyone held it together for the most part. Trump was clearly trying to walk a fine line between keeping his base happy but also reaching out a hand to more moderate Americans. On some topics like infrastructure and criminal justice reform, there may be something there. As far as Trump’s biggest battle of immigration, though? He was every bit as unrelenting as we’ve come to expect. It will be interesting to see if anything changes going forward from this one. Either way, the next year of Trump is probably going to be just exciting as the first.


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