West Wing it was not, although one person in the background looked quite like Carol the perpetually smiling and nonspeaking press assistant to Martin Sheen’s President.
Donald Trump is clearly not the kind of President that the creators of West Wing would have chosen.
The headlines were Trump’s apparent refusal to shake the hand of Democrat Congressional leader Nancy Pelosi and her unprecedented action in ripping up her copy of his speech on camera. American politics has never been so polarised.
Trump’s speech illustrated why this is so. He referred to the economic success of his administration, including the historically lowest rates of unemployment among black and Hispanic Americans.
He also devoted part of his speech to criminal reforms which have provided non violent offenders with the opportunity to have their sentences reduced under the First Step Act and referred specifically to Alice Johnson who was in the audience and whose sentence for drug offences he had commuted. Prison numbers have fallen for the first time in decades under the Trump administration.
The biggest ovation came during his reference to the restrictions on illegal immigration. Referring to the positive contribution of those who come to the United States legally he contrasted that to the exploitation and abuse conducted by the criminal gangs who control the illegal immigration which includes people trafficking.
His reference to the attitude of working class people to illegal immigration as opposed to those he described as members of the political class living behind gates drew the most negative reaction from the Democrats present. He also detailed the reality of crime committed by illegals and how measures taken to prevent it have turned formerly dangerous cities like El Paso around, It is an indication of why he is so popular and has tapped into a seam hostile to deracinated liberalism.
He is a brilliant orator and despite his enemies attempts to portray him as some sort of Troglodyte he wipes the floor with them in understanding how to connect with voters. The reaction of some of those in the audience like Occassio Cortez illustrated their confusion when Trump referred to the advancements of working class people, minorities and women. We all know that sort of liberal. They are the reason so many ordinary people have broken with traditional voting patterns.
Finally, Trump attacked those who celebrate late term abortion. He specifically referred to New York representatives who cheered their support for legislation that would allow for abortion up to the time of birth and asked Congress for its support for legislation that would ensure such barbarity is outlawed. In the unequal battle to overturn the decades-long results of the Roe versus Wade case that legalised abortion in the United States, pro-life advocates clearly see Trump as helping to light the long road back.
Trump is an enigmatic character but one who seems to be on the right side of the culture war. The US election campaign will be interesting.
Disturbing elected "leaders" within Congress conduct themselves like @SpeakerPelosi did tonight. She needs to be voted out of Office.
— ☀️Brandon Beckham (@BrandonBeckham_) February 5, 2020