Tonight is Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech, a milestone that many of us weren't sure the angry, puffy man would reach. He is currently mired in multiple scandals of the sort that would define any other "presidency." His campaign team is being investigated for possible connections to a Russian intelligence operation aimed against the American elections. He himself is being investigated for potentially seeking to obstruct justice via various acts evidently intended to block that investigation. It has just been revealed that just before that campaign ended Trump paid "hush money" to a porn actress in exchange for concealing sexual encounters while wife Melania was home with newborn child. He continues to receive cash payments from foreign and corporate well-wishers seeking audience at Mar-a-Lago and other properties. Testimony to the House and Senate continues to suggest an empire brimming over with money-laundering schemes, perhaps with the now-president's approval and perhaps without it. Newspapers are awash with stories of his various private tantrums against his own staff, other government workers, and the people he sees on his television set. It is at this point taken as a given that any sentence that comes either from his mouth or from the White House's various spokespersons are, as likely as not, lies.
Against this background various media pundits are already writing up stories praising Trump's yet-to-be-given speech as, once again, the long-awaited pivot that will finally, at long last, suggest the shouting lout might at some future point be deemed presidential.
To do this, he will have to read words he didn't write from a teleprompter placed in front of him. That's it. The contents do not matter, although it would be considered slightly more presidential if the speech mostly dodges dwelling on the president's various perceived enemies. It need not be unifying, because unifying was a metric for measuring past leaders, not this one. It need not set concrete policy goals, because Trump will likely renounce them days or weeks later.
Finally, a certain class of pundits will say in editorials to go out the moment the prompters flick off, this is the Donald Trump we have been waiting for.
And it will last approximately three days, or until Trump begins tweeting again. Or perhaps two days, at which point a cheap and pathetic affair with another porn actress will be revealed. Or one day, after which a new leak will even more closely link Trump's inner circle with feverish attempts to shutter the inquiry into Russian election interference.
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