Delivering good news

Delivering good news

President Donald Trump delivered a successful State of the Union address. Now if he can only not step on his message.

Showing a sunny side that is a welcome contrast to his often-combative style, Trump delivered an uplifting State of the Union address Monday that recounted his successes and promised even brighter days ahead.

During his long address, the president recited a litany of benefits from the continued economic expansion while promising to work in a bipartisan manner on a proposed $1.5 trillion infrastructure construction program and a fix of the illegal immigration problem.

"Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve," he said.

Given the mood in the U.S. House chamber, it appeared highly unlikely Trump's offer will be accepted by embittered Democrats who view him as an illegitimate president better suited for a Senate impeachment trial than a seat behind the desk in the Oval Office.

Just as Republicans often did during former President Barack Obama's addresses, Democrats sat quietly unenthused, mostly scowling but occasionally applauding.

One did not need mind-reading skills to judge their reactions to be almost uniformly negative.

If that reaction disappointed President Trump, it certainly did not deter him from using his sales skills to put the best face on his first year in office.

But while touting the benefits of tax cuts, job growth, stock market expansion and general prosperity, President Trump also emphasized the challenges posed by North Korea's nuclear ambitions, continued danger in the Middle East and domestic threats posed by violent street gang and long-wolf terrorists.

"My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities and their right to the American dream. Because Americans are dreamers, too," he said.

American presidents, since the days of Ronald Reagan, have made it a practice to bring special guests to State of the Union addresses and introduce them to the American people.

Trump's roster of luminaries was compelling, ranging from a New Mexico police officer and his wife who adopted a baby whose health was threatened by a drug-addicted mother to the parents of the American student, Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea, where he was, in effect, beaten to death. There were others, too numerous to mention here, their courage and accomplishments awe-inspiring.

Of course, in anything involving President Trump, there are always two sides. There is the good (his State of the Union persona) and the bad (his penchant for starting fights and feuds over issues that are beneath the dignity of his high office).

One would have to be naive to expect him to abandon a lifelong habit of responding aggressively to every provocation, no matter how minor. But one can always hope that he'll learn his actions are not in his ultimate best interests, that they crowd more positive stories of his administration's performance off the front page.

Indeed, if past is prologue, it won't be long before President Trump dilutes the positive impression he made Monday night with another ill-advised tweet, insult or overstated claim that will dominate the 24-hour news cycle.

Whatever the future holds, Monday was President Trump's night — the reviews mostly positive because what he had to report, from his point of view and those of his supporters, is mostly positive. The opposition party wasn't pleased, but then opposition parties never are.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion