President Trump’s State of the Union speech wasn’t complicated—rather, it was a straightforward reinforcement of his long-held extremist views. Journalists Norman Solomon, Phyllis Bennis and Max Blumenthal all agree that Trump’s Tuesday night address satisfied his base and will mobilize extremists into taking action. They discuss the speech on a “The Real News Network” segment hosted by Sharmini Peries.

“This was a speech designed to placate his base,” Bennis, a writer and a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, declares. “This was very much an announcement that the extremism of his policies are going to continue, that the positions that he has staked out so far are not going to change.”

Blumenthal agrees and lambasts mainstream media for labeling the speech as a “normal” State of the Union address. “That was one of the most atrocious State of the Unions I’ve seen. Trump’s delivery was lethargic and lugubrious. It was basically a reality show with Trump narrating the heroic stories of various American archetypes held together with a Kulturkampf, with a culture-war demagoguery on nativism like we’ve seen from no other president,” Blumenthal argues. “This is a display of a declining empire, and Trump really serves as its embodiment, and he, as Phyllis and Norman said, is catering to essentially less than 30 percent of the country. So it was significant in that regard, and it was absolutely not a normal State of the Union address.”

Solomon also adds that the mainstream media should be criticized on “the distraction quality,” like focusing on Trump’s tweets. “What Trump is doing … is to drag the baseline further and further downward, and then he does these high jumps over the low standards and expectations that he and his handlers have created, so that when he can read a teleprompter without overtly insulting people,” Solomon says, “then you can bet that for the next day, we’ll be subjected to enormous media praise for his restraint. Well there’s no restraint to be found in what this administration is doing.”

Watch the full segment in the player above.

–Posted by Emma Niles


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