Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press
The U.S. Capitol dome is shown, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, after President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address before the joint session of Congress.

SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address Tuesday night, and there were multiple opinions on Trump’s words, and the speech itself, in the immediate aftermath.

Trump focused on a number of topics in his speech, drifting from discussions on illegal immigration, the U.S. military, and plans to combat HIV and AIDS. He also made pointed remarks about abortion and how the U.S. will never be a socialist country. Trump also made a case for unity in his speech.

A number of columnists, opinion writers and editorial boards wrote about Trump’s speech. Here’s what they wrote.

Mark Lander of The New York Times wrote in an analysis piece that Trump called for bipartisanship but still hit out at Democrats.

  • “Save for the majesty of the setting, the president’s adherence to his script, and a single unscripted moment when Mr. Trump tipped his hat to the scores of Democratic women elected to Congress last November, parts of this State of the Union speech could have been drawn from one of his ‘Make America Great Again’ rallies.”

The New York Times opinion columnist Frank Bruni said Trump came out as a feminist in his speech.

  • “But most incongruous of all was his feminism, closeted until Tuesday night. He framed his concerns about illegal immigration in terms of migrant women being sexually assaulted on the way north to our border with Mexico or sold into prostitution by traffickers.
  • “And then there was the shout-out to women in the workforce. During it, female House members stood, and some pumped their fists in the air. He registered surprise at first, followed by satisfaction, as he seemed to realize that their moment could also be his moment; that he could, for this one instant, hallucinate mutual respect and pantomime common cause; that he could just slough off all his sins and latch on to a spurious grace.”

The New York Times’ editorial board said Trump delivered “a message of unity from an agent of discord.” However, the board remains skeptical about how long it’ll last.

  • “Mr. Trump’s soothing message, in short, was wholly at odds with the acrid reality of how he has governed. In that way, the entire spectacle — reflected in the vibrating hostility between the two sides trapped together in the House chamber — evinced the true state of the union: fractured, fractious, painfully dysfunctional.”

Eric Levitz of The Intelligencer, which comes from New York Magazine, called the State of the Union “delusion.”

  • “There was nothing exceptional in the mendacity of Trump’s State of the Union address. By now, we are quite used to the lies. But the spectacle of a shoddy con man stiltedly rehearsing a combination of his own willful delusions, and our nation’s — while a chamber of respectables hooted and hollered — proved that this president hasn’t lost the power to unnerve.”

Washington Post opinion writer Ed Rogers said the State of the Union was good for Trump.

  • “Calling out Democrats on their previous support of a wall was effective. And Trump even got the angry resistance clapping for him when he talked about the unprecedented number of women serving in Congress. At about 50 minutes into the speech, the Democrats seemed to yield and acknowledge that this was the president’s forum and this was his night. Trump’s presentation became more confident, and he seemed to lean in to the occasion. He knew that he had the room.”

Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin called the State of the Union “boring.”

  • “Most striking, his speech was shapeless and flabby, his delivery anemic. Non-memorable lines were uttered. Two years into his president, he’s become predictable and boring. Sad.”

The Washington Post editorial board said the speech “gave us the same old polarizing demagoguery — at great length.”

  • “Mr. Trump’s inconsistent negotiating style, ignorance of detail, short attention span and maximalist demands make such compromise more difficult. If there is going to be bipartisan accomplishment in this Congress — and, with Democrats now controlling the House, any accomplishment will have to be bipartisan — lawmakers will have to take the lead.”

CNN’s Chris Cillizza had five takeaways from the speech, including that Trump made it clear he will act on illegal immigration.

  • “To the extent there was any sort of unifying theme to this speech — and you really have to dig hard for one — it was Trump making the case that the country is under a grave threat from illegal immigration, and that if Congress won't act, he will.”

David N. Bossie wrote for Fox News that he feels optimistic that Trump will work with Democrats.

  • “Think of it. Even in the face of a permanent Democrat obstruction campaign and an onslaught of partisan investigations throughout his presidency, President Trump is choosing unity. President Trump made clear — once again – that he wants to work with Democrats on border security, health care and infrastructure. But it takes two to tango. This constitutional republic of ours cannot function if one side flat-out refuses to participate.”

USA Today's editorial board said Trump punted on the big issues.

20 comments on this story
  • "If Trump could act presidential more than one night a year, and the two parties stood for something more than gaining partisan advantage, these would be some of the topics we would hear more about in a State of the Union address. Instead, we have the sounds of the nation's biggest challenges being kicked down the road."

The editors at Bloomberg said Trump's speech was "almost good."

  • "Whatever the state of the union, the state of his administration leaves much to be desired. But hope springs eternal. If the next pointless government shutdown can be avoided after all, reckless optimism might anyway endure for one more week."