Donald Trump delivered an address to the joint houses of Congress last night. CNN has the complete transcript. I have Storified my live-tweeted commentary, for anyone who'd like to see it.
It was an entirely typical Trump-from-Teleprompter address: The usual white supremacist fearmongering about how America is a hellscape from which only he can rescue hardworking white folks, followed by vacuous calls for "unity," all of which was peppered with a steady stream of straight-up lies. Fifty-one of them in sixty-one minutes, by one count.
We've seen this Trump before. The "disciplined" Trump, who can manage to read one address of strung-together dogwhistles and appear, for that finite length of time, vaguely like someone who isn't a compulsively erratic despot.
Every time that Trump has shown up, he gets plaudits from the pundits, who aggressively compete for who can say the stupidest thing about Trump's "reset" or "pivot" or some loathsome variation thereof.
This time was no different. Brian Williams set the bar for grading Trump on the most colossal curve by immediately declaring it was the most "speech-like speech" Trump has ever given.
There was much complimenting of his "tone." He looked "presidential." Van Jones, continuing to be an utter disgrace, declared that, in honoring a Navy SEAL's widow, "He became President of the United States in that moment, period."
Never mind that SEAL died because the raid was a bungled mess, and that Trump spent the preceding hours of the day deflecting accountability and blaming President Obama and the military instead.
None of that matters, because the majority of our pundits have learned nothing from the election and continue to prioritize optics over substance. Facts are as irrelevant to these arrogant commentators as they are to Trump, and they refuse to care about his abundant lies—the biggest lie of all being his temporary projection of seriousness.
Which they buy hook, line, and sinker every damn time.
And discuss ad nauseum while diligently ignoring the content of each politely-delivered speech, pretending as though Trump's one-hour vacation from screaming outright bigotry and nonsense is evidence of a newfound "civility."
While everyone is busy praising Trump for not shitting himself at a podium last night, this is what his presidency actually looks like. https://t.co/FCDDcE8iLG— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) March 1, 2017
I'm absolutely disgusted by the ubiquitous punditry complimenting Trump's "tone." You are normalizing white supremacy.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) March 1, 2017
Who cares what tone he used to deliver a message of hot racist garbage full of demonstrable lies? Optics over substance created this mess.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) March 1, 2017
I have not the tiniest, infinitesimal trace of an urge to find something nice to say about Trump or his contemptible speech. There exists not a modicum of inclination within me to ignore the content of what this incredibly dangerous man said in order to normalize his presidency.
Maybe that's because I don't need to make myself feel better about having abetted his ascent in the first place.
Unlike most of our pundits.