Entertainment

Johanna Schneller: Trump’s State of the Union address shows U.S. is far from A-OK

U.S. president’s calmly provocative speech was bad, and then Jimmy Kimmel blew his chance to get any answers.

Adult film star Stormy Daniels spent her time on Jimmy Kimmel Live! sidestepping host Jimmy Kimmel's questions regarding Donald Trump.

Randy Holmes / ABC

Adult film star Stormy Daniels spent her time on Jimmy Kimmel Live! sidestepping host Jimmy Kimmel's questions regarding Donald Trump.

The Show: Donald Trump’s State of the Union address; CNN coverage; Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The Moment: Bizarro world

Speaking. Slowly. Trying to sound. Thoughtful. Donald Trump delivered. His first State of. The Union. Address. But as Van Jones noted on CNN immediately afterward, it was like candy laced with razor blades.

Trump’s line, “We proudly stand for the national anthem,” was a barb at peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters. “Americans are dreamers, too,” was a stick in the eye to immigrants. “Under chain migration, one person can bring in as many people as he likes,” was a flat-out lie.

Later, Jimmy Kimmel’s interview of Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who allegedly had sex with Trump, was an exercise in surreality. Normally I like Kimmel, but he bungled this one badly. While she giggled and refused to answer anything (“I may or may not have a non-disclosure agreement”), he showed her three carrots (enormous, small and tiny) and asked her to choose the most Trump-like one.

That we were openly discussing the penis of the president of the United States right after a major address only shows how far we’ve slid into weirdness. That Trump’s “soaring” rhetoric about American exceptionalism would not have won third prize in a Grade 6 patriotism essay shows how debased our standards have become.

But here’s where things sank to a truly disgusting level. After Trump spoke, Joseph Kennedy III delivered a very good rebuttal speech with polish and passion, describing the compassionate America he wanted. Right-wing pundits on CNN reacted to it by saying, “The best Democrats can offer is another Kennedy?” Shame on them. The Kennedys have devoted their lives to public service. Two of them died for it.

There’s no bottom with this presidency. But on Tuesday night, the U.S. found a new low.

Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments.

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