3. Michael Wear
Michael Wear, chief strategist for The AND Campaign, told CP in an email that there were some positive moments in the State of the Union address.
"The opening appeal to American greatness and the honor he gave to WWII veterans was moving. President Trump’s graciousness in acknowledging that we have the most women serving in Congress in American history —most of them Democrats — reflected a level of decency he has rarely reached before," Wear, a pro-life Christian Democrat who directed faith outreach for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, explained.
"He was right to run a victory lap on the bipartisan passage of The FIRST STEP Act — when you sign bipartisan legislation, you have the right to claim bipartisan progress," Wear continued. "His expressed support for ending HIV/AIDS in America, and advancing paid family leave suggest new potential bipartisan achievements moving forward."
However, Wear asserted that there were also "troubling aspects" of Trump's speech.
"President Trump continued to defend his unjust border policies with rhetoric that was littered with misdirection and outright lies," Wear explained. "His policies at the border remain a stain on his presidency, and on the moral history of our country. He claimed to support legal immigration, but his administration has drastically cut legal immigration and admittance of refugees, including significant cuts to the number of Christian refugees that have been granted asylum."
On foreign policy, Wear said that Trump "opened the door to a 21st century arms race."
"It is unfortunate that, in the mind of this president, 'America’s interest' so often precludes American values," Wear argued. "The central, inescapable problem of this State of the Union was the man giving it. He called for an end to a politics of 'vengeance,' but he has been the chief purveyor of vindictiveness in our politics. He made a moral appeal on late-term abortion, but he is a man who has flaunted his immorality."
Wear believes that Trump's reputation undermines many of the appealing aspects from his address.
"I am sure many of President Trump’s supporters will praise his promotion of bipartisanship and a politics of cooperation, but now they must hold him to the standard of his own rhetoric," Wear wrote. "I believe Democrats should be open to working with the President on shared goals for the good of the country, and that the American people should be willing to support this president when he is right. But we would be right to be skeptical that the president is capable of bringing the American people together."
On Twitter, Wear warned Democrats that although Trump is “unprincipled” and “constrained” by his own reputation, they “better not count Trump out in 2020.”
“I know this is a matter of debate, but I think Democrats need to make a big push for comprehensive immigration reform,” Wear stressed in a Tweet Tuesday night.
“They need to do what they can to expand the immigration debate beyond border security," Wear wrote. "Also, we need comprehensive immigration reform. Let Trump/GOP say no.”
Wear also criticized the way in which Democrats responded to Trump’s remarks on late-term abortion.
Wear warned that there is a “level of tone deafness” that is reminiscent of former Democrat nominee Michael Dukakis in the second presidential debate in 1988 “when Democrats respond to Trump's rhetoric about late-term abortion with standard pro-choice talking points.”