CNN’s Michael Smerconish: Here's how Trump used his 2020 State of the Union speech to craft 'a reality TV moment'

CNN’s Michael Smerconish: Here's how Trump used his 2020 State of the Union speech to craft 'a reality TV moment'
Image via CNN.
The Right Wing

When President Donald Trump was giving his 2020 State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, February 4, he spent much of the time catering to his base. And CNN’s Michael Smerconish, appearing on “New Day” the following morning, described the speech as a “reality TV moment” that emphasized “visuals” designed to fire up his hardcore supporters.


The Philadelphia-based Smerconish, a conservative/libertarian pundit who has often been critical of Trump, told “New Day” hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, “It was all visual…. Say what you will about Donald Trump, but he is a master of the visual. It was a reality TV moment for 78 minutes long.”

Smerconish compared Trump’s speech to a 2020 campaign rally, noting that the “visuals” were clearly designed to excite his MAGA base — for example, giving talk radio host Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. But Smerconish also lamented the bitter political divisions between Democrats and Republicans that were evident during Trump’s speech.

Smerconish asserted, “I am one who believes that there are certain moments on all our calendars that demand that we put aside our partisan differences…. I would put the State of the Union in that category.”

Smerconish noted that in past decades, Democrats and Republicans found some common ground during State of the Union speeches — whereas during Trump’s speech, the bitterness was impossible to miss. Smerconish was seemingly referring to Trump's refusal to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hand and Pelosi tearing up a copy of the president’s speech after he was done. And both Trump’s supporters and opponents, Smerconish added, will use the speech to rally their bases.

“I think that politically speaking, they each consider it to their advantage to continue this fight,” Smerconish told Camerota.

Smerconish himself has felt the wrath of the far right. When he announced, during the 2008 presidential election, that he would be voting for Democratic nominee Barack Obama rather than GOP nominee John McCain, Smerconish —who had supported President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 — was lambasted in right-wing media. Fox News’ Sean Hannity said that although he knew Smerconish and liked him as a person, he was quite disappointed to see him supporting Obama.

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