Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Editorial: Trump's State of the Union nothing but campaign speech fueling political divide

U.S. President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address before Congress on Feb. 4. As he entered the chamber, he was welcomed by Republican lawmakers' chants of "Four more years," calling for his re-election in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

During his speech, Trump, with Democratic presidential contenders' advocacy for a universal health insurance program in mind, pledged, "We will never let socialism destroy American health care."

No sooner had the president wrapped up his address than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- a Democrat -- stood up from her chair on the podium and tore the pages of her copy of Trump's speech in half in an apparent show of anger.

The sight was appalling and incredible, making us question if this is really happening in American politics, even considering the address came in the midst of Trump's impeachment trial in a divided Congress.

With the presidential poll set for November, his State of the Union address resembled a campaign speech, in which he kept blowing his own trumpet.

"Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again," Trump boasted.

Certainly, the U.S. economy is booming. Some economic indices did rise after Trump came into office. While some critics complain that the president overplayed his achievements, it is apparently a sitting president's advantage to underscore such positive results.

Meanwhile, Trump fiercely attacked the Democratic Party for its immigration policy and push for health insurance reform, in an apparent bid to better illustrate his showdown with the rival party.

However, the annual State of the Union address is for the president to present policy issues that need to be addressed and urge Congress to work on them. It is in no way for election campaigning.

Trump has adopted a fairly unusual political style. He has attached such extraordinary emphasis on his base while not listening to different opinions -- but rather condemning them and ruling them out. But in a deeply divided society, a national leader should strive to bridge the gap and reconcile antagonistic sentiment.

Yet not a single word was uttered by Trump to encourage cross-party cooperation. This has left us nothing but disappointed. As presidential campaigns unfold, the ruling and opposition parties will engage in a bitter war of words, possibly deepening the divide that already plagues the United States.

Amid the decline in the manufacturing sector and as issues concerning immigration and economic disparity grow, people are increasingly turning to the "America First" ideology to vent their smoldering frustrations.

Trump has hoisted the "America First" banner on the diplomatic front as well, adamantly sticking to his style of dismissing rules and norms.

During the speech, Trump boasted that "our strategy has worked" in the trade war with China, and called on U.S. allies to "pay their fair share." This may impact Japan, too, which is bracing for talks with Washington over Tokyo's contribution to the cost of hosting U.S. troops in Japan.

Also in The Mainichi

The Mainichi on social media