As some mainstream media rushed to genuinely fact-check US President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, others jumped straight to the fault-finding.
In an article hot on the heels of the address, Huffington Post’s Akbar Shahid Ahmed accused Trump of letting Russia off too easy. The president only mentioned Russia once in his speech (as he did with China), merely referring to it as a rival, not a sworn enemy hell-bent on America’s downfall.
Comparing Trump’s wording to his predecessor’s, it is easy to see what upset the Huffington Post writer so much. As Barack Obama’s presidency wore on, he started placing Russia ahead of even Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) on the list of challenges facing the US. Against that backdrop, Trump’s humble “rivals… that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values,” may indeed seem mild.
Trump is taken to task for calling his “authoritarian” Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin – who is at the end of his third presidential term and still enjoys high approval ratings – “a strong leader.” The Kremlin’s supposed “interference in the 2016 election to improve Trump’s odds,” much decried but never backed by any public evidence, gets an honorable mention as well.
While that line of attack is hardly surprising, veteran liberal journalist Joy-Ann Reid of MSNBC took another approach, sharing with her million-odd Twitter followers her disdain over Trump’s love of what many see as traditional American values.
Church … family … police … military … the national anthem … Trump trying to call on all the tropes of 1950s-era nationalism. The goal of this speech appears to be to force the normalization of Trump on the terms of the bygone era his supporters are nostalgic for. #SOTU
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 31, 2018
Church, family, police and military are all dismissed here as attributes of a “bygone era,” good only to try and “force the normalization of Trump” – which, as Joy reveals in the comments to her tweet, is “anything but normal.”
Commenters alternate between slamming Reid as an “America-hater” and “out-of-touch liberal,” and attacking Trump as “Hitler reincarnate” with “literal Nazis” for advisers.
The president also “ignored the ugliest part of his first year in office,” Vox journalist Alexia Campbell tweeted, referring to the dire situation in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Trump did mention Puerto Rico once when he was speaking about those “still recovering” from natural disasters across the US.
However, this was not apparently enough for Puerto Rico, according to Campbell.
Trump’s State of the Union speech ignored the ugliest part of his first year in office https://t.co/p4fH8sZYZT
— Alexia Fernández Campbell (@AlexiaCampbell) January 31, 2018