Enmity flares up at US State of the Union

Published February 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

When United States President Donald Trump came to deliver his  State of the Union message before a joint session of the US Congress last Wednesday,  Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended her hand in welcome, but the President ignored it, refusing  to shake hands with her.   That marked the start of the annual presidential address that turned out to be most divisive.

Over an  hour  later, as Trump ended  his  speech, and Senate President Mike Pence stood up to join the applause, Speaker Pelosi tore up her copy  of the president’s speech and tossed it aside.

It was a show of open enmity between the two leaders of America’s two major  political parties—the Republicans and the Democrats – and it looks like that same  enmity will govern the coming election campaign leading to the presidential election in November.

The President used the speech to claim notable achievements in increased American manufacturing, new lows in unemployment, and the benefits gained in the trade war with China. The Republican legislators   repeatedly stood up to applaud  their president, while the Democrats mostly sat quietly on their side of the hall.

Some of the lawmakers put on a show of bipartisanship. And about two dozen of them  wore purple coats — purple being the mixture of red, the Republican color, and blue, the Democratic color. But the dominating  images  of this year’s State of the Union affair  were President Trump ignoring Speaker Pelosi’s extended hand of welcome, followed over an hour  later by the speaker tearing up her copy of the  speech. “It was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives,” she explained later.

There will be little courtesy in  the coming presidential election campaign, whoever the Democrats  finally chose to be their presidential candidate. They will be choosing from among several aspirants in a series of state conventions and caucuses.

So many  have come out to seek the nomination, an indication of the intensity of their desire to fight Trump, with former Vice President Joe Biden,  Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren,  Pete Buttigigue, and Michael Bloomberg  among the more prominent ones.

There has been much hostility in the Democratic intramurals at times, but they should all be together when the final one is chosen to face  the  Republicans’ Trump in an election campaign that could be bitter and divisive for the nation.