Ethics Observations On Speaker Pelosi’s “Suggestion” The The President Skip The State Of The Union Message

Nancy Pelosi delivered an unprecedented and thinly-veiled insult to President Trump by urging him in a public letter to either reschedule the January 29 State of the Union Message or deliver it in writing to Congress because of “security concerns.”


  • Is it ever wise to be so transparently disingenuous? Nobody can possibly believe that the motive behind the (jaw-droppingly stupid) letter is the President’s security. It is just more border wall stand-off theater, as well as part of a continuing pattern of disrespect by Democrats regarding this President. I think my favorite part of the letter is Pelosi’s “argument” that a SOTU had never been given during a so-called government shutdown.

The address has also never been delivered during a hailstorm, an eclipse of the moon, or a national sports mascot strike, to name three other things that have nothing to do with the event.

  • As the tradition has evolved, what was once a mandatory nuts-and-bolts report to Congress (which, as Pelosi also notes irrelevantly, was only delivered in written form until  1913, when Woodrow Wilson gave his assessment orally to both Houses) has deteriorated into bad and predictable political theater, with Presidents and members of Congress showboating with various symbolic invitees, and partisan applause lines. The most memorable moments in recent addresses have been unscripted, like Rep. Joe Wilson shouting “You lie!” at President Obama, or Justice Alito muttering “Not true!” as Obama deliberately misrepresented the Citizens United decision.

Nevertheless, the State of the Union is an opportunity for the President of the United States to present his agenda going forward and an assessment of the nation’s status in a high profile address to the nation, and every single President for a hundred years has been accorded that opportunity.

  • Pelosi’s letter is one more in a long line of destructive partisan attacks on the institution of the Presidency itself by a party that will not accept responsibility for losing the 2016 election by betraying its duty to nominate a strong, qualified and ethical candidate.

That’s what it is.

  • It’s hard picking a winner, but I think my choice for the most brazenly hypocritical false narrative about the Trump Presidency is that he has dangerously varied from the traditional norms that give our democracy strength and continuity. Meanwhile, Democrats have boycotted his Inauguration, used school days rumors to justify rejecting a qualified Supreme Court nominee, and now threaten to disinvite the President from delivering the State of the Union Message in the Capitol.

The “norms” accusation is smoking gun proof that the academic or pundit leveling it is a partisan hack.

  • In addition to the obvious insult it constitutes, Pelosi’s tactic is an effort to try to silence the President of the United States because she doesn’t like what he is going to say, and prevail in the ongoing border wall debate by trying to strangle it.

I find it hard to believe that most Americans will respond positively to such an undemocratic means to an end, but Pelosi is an ethics corruptor, and the public has disappointed me before.

  • I would love to write Trump’s State of the Union Address, but he is such a wretched speaker when scripted that it would probably be futile.

He should follow the example of Gerald Ford and say that the State of the Union is not good. He should lay the blame for that at the feet of the Democrats who have worked for two years to divide and weaken the country while destroying public faith in its institutions and taking unprecedented measures to interfere with the elected President’s  ability to govern. He should note that even with such outrageous and dangerous interference, his Administration has still achieved many of its goals, with a stronger economy, and progress on multiple fronts in foreign policy. He should also make the case for enforcing our borders, while also making the case that Democrats are actively undermining enforcement, and why. He should offer a compromise measure on the spot that will sound reasonable to all but those who want to just open the gates.

And he should give the address in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.


19 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On Speaker Pelosi’s “Suggestion” The The President Skip The State Of The Union Message

  1. My gut tells me that early on the shutdown publicity favors the Democrats because shutdowns seems so ominous but that as time goes on and average Americans recognize that America goes on even when the government doesn’t (Thank You Founding Fathers), the shutdown publicity favors Trump as Americans wonder what exactly did all these expensive bureaucrats and civil service employees actually do. (make no mistake, I feel for those going without paychecks who, even the best bugdeted of them will shortly be squeezed. Yet, if this shut down demonstrates that we really don’t need the bloated civil service, then I’m sorry, but that just means a ton of jobs are essentially self-licking ice cream cones and make-work programs.)

    And of course Pelosi wants to halt the State of the Union ONLY because she knows Trump is going to rake her and the Democrats over the coals.

    • What is interesting is that if Trump changes the venue, perhaps delivering address from the oval office, what will Pelosi do to respond if she is so concerned about security? If she goes on the air she will acknowledge that her security concerns were specious and partisan.
      I doubt seriously if the Democrats would be willing to forego any rebuttal.

      • She’ll complain (and the media will back her up) that the President feared being confronted by Congress, that he made the SoTU all about him, that he’s breaking tradition….pick one, any of them will do.

  2. This is just like the Presidential Address the networks didn’t want to cover. Pelosi is trying to deny the President a forum to present his ideas. If Democrats really cared about federal workers, they would be willing to compromise on border security funds.

  3. Jack, you wrote: “I would love to write Trump’s State of the Union Address, but he is such a wretched speaker when scripted that it would probably be futile.” I agree President Trump could botch a scripted Address, but I disagree your efforts to write it would be futile. Your writing style, along with the “substance” you would include and the public needs to hear, would be memorable to the millions who need to hear our President give an Address regarding our Union. Nancy can stay home. And the Smithsonian National Museum of American History would be perfect (the “People’s Museum”) !! (at least attempt to join the WH speechwriting team)

  4. I took it as a hint that if he didn’t skip the speech, she would have him assassinated. I took it as a veiled threat. How many other Democrats have made threats against him and have so lost touch with reality that they don’t realize it is wrong to do so?

      • With respect, I’d think hard about that. “The Speech That X Should Have Given” articles have been done many times before, and it’s very easy for them to fail. The one about the speech Obama should have given in Hiroshima was extra and specially a failure, and came off as just a pacifist’s daydream. Plus there’s the danger of being accused of hubris, i.e. “who is this guy, thinking he can tell the president what he should have said?”

  5. Snub the politicians entirely.

    Book a large stadium, 100,000 seats or so, televise and stream the SoTU as a YUGE Trump style rally. Slow roast the Democrats (and associated swamp creatures) with stats and facts about border security, with multimedia clips showing Democrats favor border security until it was Trump’s goal.

  6. And in the meantime, for those who missed it, Trump just parried by cancelling her military flight to Europe and the Middle East one hour before scheduled departure, citing the shutdown. He graciously pointed out that she’s welcome to fly commercial.

    Funny but wrong, of course. Still, very, very funny. Whatever else you want to say about the guy – and I’m not saying this as a compliment, because Presidents should be above that sort of thing – he may be the most talented troll ever to hit the Interwebs.

    • Epic! Never engage in tit-for-tat with someone more power (and less ethical) than yourself.

      Remember the Princess Bride’s Classic Blunders? Getting in a land war in Asia, going against a Sicilian with death on the line, Invading Russia in winter, and so on?

      Tit-for-tat is raised to the level of Classic Blunder when you engage Trump as your opponent (Has Pelosi never seen The Apprentice? Lived under a rock the past three years? Watched the man tweet? Seriously!)

      Think Trump, in the most powerful seat on the planet, would lose such a contest?


  7. This strikes me as a sound and thorough post. I’m not as personally worked up about it as the author though, what with being an outsider and all, but maybe that gives me a better critical perspective from not having a dog in the fight.

    I know this risks sounding like the “Captain came on bridge sober” joke, when I am trying to come over a bit more positive than I often convey, so I apologise if I’m still striking the wrong note.

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