Hot Air

Pelosi trolls Trump: Youre invited to deliver the State of the Union on February 4; Update: Trump accepts

Given the timing, there’s no way to understand this except as a troll, right?

The only way it could have been more heavy-handed is if she’d made the invitation from the podium on Wednesday night after the impeachment votes. “By the power of this mighty impeachment gavel, you’re invited in February.”

I feel like he already delivered next year’s State of the Union a few days ago, and it was a humdinger.

Imagine that McConnell and Pelosi continue to wrangle over impeachment during the first few weeks of January, finally reach some sort of accommodation at the end of the month, and the trial is in session on February 4.

The Senate could spend the afternoon litigating whether Trump should be removed from office, then walk across the Capitol to the House and hear the president lambaste Democrats for an hour with Pelosi sitting right behind him.

I’m excited about this, though — not because of the potential for drama but because if ever there was a moment for a president to end this tedious garbage spectacle, this is it. The SOTU is the lamest, most enervating event on the American political calendar, an occasion marred by lackluster laundry-list speeches and more recently a penchant for virtue-signaling stunts by members of Congress who attend. Doubtless plenty of Democrats who show up this year will have on little pins or dress in a certain color to signal their support of impeachment; maybe Republicans will do the same to show solidarity with Trump. Everyone’s thinking that they might be the lucky recipient of a two-second cutaway reaction shot during Trump’s speech and they aim to be prepared.

In 2020 America, even the audience grandstands.

Trump should kill this event with fire. Symbolic fire, I mean: Tell Pelosi he won’t show, that it’s a stupid tradition made stupider this year by the intense bitterness of the impeachment process, and that she should consider the letter he sent her a few days ago to be the State of the Union in 2020. Start a bold new tradition of written SOTUs only. If he can’t bear to pass on an opportunity to be before the cameras, he could hold a big rally that night in Wisconsin and deliver a quasi-SOTU speech there instead.

Kill it. Don’t think twice. There’ll never be an opportunity sweeter than this.

If he chooses not to kill it, though, then the timing of the Senate process on impeachment will be compressed. Trump and McConnell will want to have the trial over before February 4 so that Trump can walk into the House and claim vindication with Pelosi sitting right behind him. Which makes me wonder: Is … that why Pelosi’s holding the articles of impeachment? I’ve been searching for the logic in that with no luck, but maybe the plan is to humiliate Trump by holding the articles until after the SOTU so that he has to give the speech without having been acquitted yet. I doubt McConnell would allow that, though; if Pelosi hasn’t moved by mid-January, he’ll start considering procedural gimmicks that would justify the Senate taking up the matter before the articles are delivered. And the Senate Democrats who are running for president — Sanders, Warren, and Klobuchar — will be highly irritated if the trial process bleeds into February, when they need to be on the trail giving it their all.

Trump should boycott. Do it for America.

Update: Damn it. The one time I wanted him not to be magnanimous:

President Donald Trump accepted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to deliver the annual State of the Union on Capitol Hill on Feb. 4, the White House said Friday.

The announcement came two days after the House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump, making him the third U.S. president to be impeached.

Well, we’re all teed up for the most awkward State of the Union in American history. And like I say, the pressure will really be on now to wrap up the trial before February 4. Trump wants to give this speech as a man who’s been vindicated on the charges filed against him by the person sitting over his left shoulder.

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