Written by Joey Slusher
Tuesday the 5th, President Trump gave the annual State of the Union address. This State of the Union is set in a particularly consequential time for the country. We currently are in the midst of a three week government funding period that came after one government shutdown, and with only nine days left and little bi-partisan progress, we will most likely see another shutdown. We are also in the middle of seventeen separate federal and state investigations surrounding the president.
So why is this shutdown thing so important? This past shutdown marked the longest in US history having lasted thirty-five days. It cost the government 11 billion dollars and had a personal cost for furloughed workers due to the fact that they missed one or two of their paychecks with little to no chance of getting the money they lost back. It started due to President Trump’s request to Congress that they pass a bill for 5.7 billion dollars for a wall on our southern border. Many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were opposed to the idea and supported bills that would fund the wall with less money or funding for other programs and agencies to strengthen border security. The President categorically said no to any bill that would not contain the amount he asked for, and the Republican party leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, followed suit and refused to allow votes on many of the funding bills that came forward. The President failed to even acknowledge the shutdown and those affected in his speech Tuesday, other than to threaten another one.
What about these investigations? The President did happen to mention these in his speech stating, “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.” as a sort of rhyming threat of holding the government hostage if the Democrats and external groups don’t call it all off. These comments come as more and more indictments of President Trump’s campaign officials come each week.
What does all this have to do with the State of the Union? Well, many political pundits think while the president attempted to create a strong message in his speech most of America will forget a lot of what he had to say by the end of the week. This isn’t due to a lack of attention, but more due to the fact that there are bigger things coming on the horizon. If things go wrong for the president and another shutdown comes (which as it stands now this is likely the case), or one of the seventeen investigations finds that the president did some wrong then all the successes he pointed out on Tuesday are likely to be forgotten. The president’s promises of new programs fighting HIV/AIDS and cancer won’t mean much if he is fighting for the funding of a wall and the government is stalled, or he’s being indicted by Robert Mueller.