Spotlight: Trump's SOTU address displays more showmanship than substance

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-31 21:37:19|Editor: Lifang
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by Xinhua Writer Yang Dingdu

BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump's first State of the Union (SOTU) address on Wednesday brushed over many important issues, making the speech appear more like a show than a serious statement of national priorities.

For example, Trump proudly talked about "beautiful, clean coal", and senators and congressmen rose up and gave a big round of applause.

One wonders what's so beautiful and clean about coal, and why his words deserved such applause.


Dramatic as usual, Trump's 80-minute speech received a lot of clapping and even some tears.

He was interrupted by 115 rounds of applause, which, according to U.S. media, was almost record-breaking, second only to former President Bill Clinton's speech in 2000.

To add some human touch to his high-spirited speech, Trump told a few tragic stories in between. He introduced two black families who lost their daughters at the hands of a street gang of illegal immigrants. The mothers burst into tears at his words.

He also told stories of American heroism, heartbreaks and tragedies in his emotionally charged address.

"What he didn't detail were solutions to the crises ahead," wrote Associated Press in a report titled "Trump's speech put emotion ahead of problem solving."


Besides taking credit for the tax cut and economic resurgence in the United States, or the "new American moment," Trump's speech involved veteran welfare, government accountability, boosting the energy and auto industries, medicine prices, trade, infrastructure, immigration, drug abuse, terrorism and so on.

Among all these issues, he proposed concrete measures only on immigration -- the "four pillar" plan of offering citizenship to immigrants who entered at a young age, securing the border, ending the visa lottery, and ending chain migration.

Other issues, which seemed to have been randomly stuffed into the speech, were mostly slogans such as "America is a nation of builders," and "The era of economic surrender is over."

Trump had vowed to bring dramatic changes to U.S. policies, especially in terms of foreign policy. He had complained about allies, trade and nuclear crises, and called for improving ties with Russia. None has followed though, at least in his first year.

On matters of foreign policy, reality speaks louder than rhetoric. Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard University, wrote in an article for Foreign Policy that Trump may have promised to "shake the rust off of U.S. foreign policy," but he has for the most part stuck with the status quo. Enditem