Politics

Trump used the State of the Union to threaten America, full stop. Democrats aren’t having it

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi answers questions during her weekly press conference on January 31, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pelosi answered a range of questions primarily relating to ongoing negotiations to fund the federal government beyond February 15. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump didn’t just threaten Democrats during Tuesday’s State of the Union address: He threatened the nation. Warning Democrats against launching “ridiculous partisan investigations” that might interrupt economic gains, Trump added:

“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”

That line went beyond being a jab at congressional Democrats, who are just getting started on administering serious oversight of the Trump administration. What Trump actually implied was that if the nation was going to experience peace, prosperity, and governance, Democrats would have to abandon their constitutional duties to serve as a check on the executive branch. Sure, it was an admonishment to Democrats, but the casualties of Trump’s admonition were clearly going to be the American people, who would be deprived of a functional government and a thriving republic.

“It was a threat. It was an all-out threat,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday morning. “He said he wasn’t going to cooperate unless we didn’t exercise our constitutional responsibility to oversight.”

Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer agreed with Pelosi’s assertion. “He seems to threaten everyone though. It’s a pattern for him,” Hoyer said, adding, “It’s certainly not going to have any impact.”

House Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York addressed Trump’s threat head-on. 

“We will not be bullied by the President of the United States,” Jeffries promised. “The days of the House functioning as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Trump Administration are over. That ended on January 3rd.” Jeffries observed that the “the best thing” that could be said about Trump’s speech was that “it’s over.”

“Donald Trump has left the building, and now we can get back to doing the business of fighting for the people,” he added.

In other words, Trump’s mere presence is a threat not just to governance, but to the well-being of the entire citizenry. That’s exactly right—and Trump made that perfectly clear in his own words on Tuesday night.




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