News & Politics

5 Times Democrats Should Have Stood and Clapped During Trump's State of the Union — But Didn't

When President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address last night, Democrats weren’t happy about it. It was a real shame, because Trump offered them many olive branches — libertarians would say he gave them too many.

Here are 5 times Democrats should have stood and clapped, but didn’t.

1. Black unemployment.

Early in the speech, President Trump noted that African-American unemployment has reached a record low. He declared, “Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.”

Black congressional Democrats were stone-faced.

Black Democrats stone faced as Trump hails low black unemployment.

YouTube screenshot of black congressional Democrats’ response to Trump on record low African-American unemployment.

Shouldn’t African-Americans celebrate low black unemployment?

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) credited former President Barack Obama, rather than Donald Trump, for the drop in black unemployment.

The data does suggest that the decline began under Obama, but continued under Trump.

Liberal commentator Jarrett Hill credited Obama — and made it seem like Democrats should stand and applaud at Trump’s mention of low black unemployment, because they’d really be clapping for Obama.

This suggests that Democrats can’t even celebrate a vitally good thing that began under Obama, just because Trump mentioned it in his State of the Union.

2. Paid family leave.

President Trump offered Democrats an olive branch with the issue of paid family leave. Democrats called for this issue throughout the 2016 election, and Obama mentioned it in his State of the Union last year.

Trump said, “And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.”

This came as a surprise, as it wasn’t in the prepared remarks.

While the president delivered this line, he gestured to the Democrats, inviting them to stand.

Democrats refused to stand and clap for this proposal, even though Trump took a rather large risk in supporting it.

Former Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), the posterb oy of libertarian conservatism, pointed out why mandatory paid family leave is a bad idea. The proposal involves wage and price control, by requiring employers to change the way they employ workers. Companies should perhaps be encouraged to offer this to employees, but a government mandate is a bad idea.

Even so, Ben Domenech wrote an op-ed for The New York Times suggesting Trump’s move is a good idea.

That Democrats would not applaud this huge move is rather telling.

3. Veterans.

President Trump has championed reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Last June, he signed a pivotal piece of legislation empowering VA Secretary David Shulkin to expedite the process of holding bad VA employees accountable. After years of VA scandals, this was extremely heartening.

The president brought up this achievement in his speech. “And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act,” he declared. “Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do.”

Democrats refused to stand and clap for this achievement. The Daily Caller fit this remarkable rejection into their video — toward the end.

While Trump championed veterans, Democrats were on their phones.

Meanwhile, Shulkin gave the president a standing ovation.

4. Infrastructure.

Trump also made infrastructure a priority in his outreach to Democrats.

“America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?” the president asked. “I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.”

Trump waxed eloquent declaring, “Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.”

When it came to Democrats, many of them grimaced at the president’s declaration that both parties should give Americans the infrastructure “our people deserve.” CNN captured the moment.

Infrastructure, even more so than paid family leave, has been a major goal for Democrats. Yet they grimace when Trump brings it up.

5. “USA!”

Toward the end of the speech, President Trump waxed eloquent on the U.S. Capitol Building. “And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people,” he said. Republicans shot up out of their chairs in applause, chanting “USA! USA! USA!” Democrats hesitated.

Slowly, they started getting up. As the camera panned to them, it revealed a rather unenthusiastic crowd. They stood, but they weren’t happy about it.

Did you catch that? Rep. Louis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) rushed out, in the middle of the “USA!” chants.

A spokesman insisted it wasn’t a protest.

Even so, Gutierrez released a scathing statement against Trump. “Even though I disagreed with almost everything he said, for Trump, the speech was clear and well-delivered. Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job,” he said.

“I was hoping for some sort of apology on Puerto Rico, but I heard nothing,” the congressman added. “Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how this President sees all Latinos and people of color: he does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings.”

His conclusion proved most damning. “I was born in 1953 in the U.S. when separate but equal was the law of the land. I am proud of the progress the United States has made as a nation on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and many other areas where we have advanced. I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American President, but my luck ran out.”

Perhaps Gutierrez rushing out was not a protest against “USA!” chants. Even so, some of the Democrats’ actions did suggest a rather lax patriotism. As Muslim reformer M. Zuhdi Jasser pointed out, “Dems sit on their hands as [Trump] calls for ‘merit based immigration for those who love and respect our country’!! Are Democrats apparently now ‘the Party for Foreign Insurgencies’??”

Sometimes they give Americans reason to wonder.

These were just five moments Democrats refused to stand and clap, but there were many more — so much so that conservatives joked about it.

Other times suggested Democrats don’t want Americans to try pre-approved drugs, even if their lives are in danger.

Linda Sarsour, the Muslim Women’s March leader, called for every single Democrat who stood during the speech to be voted out of office. It wasn’t enough for Sarsour to declare a “jihad” against Trump — she had to call for the scalp of any Democrat (and Republican, but does anyone on the Right listen to her?) who applauded any part of Trump’s speech.

CNN caught some of these silent protests, but they were too many to count.