This week saw President Trump, the unhappy love child of a month-old satsuma and a poorly fitted suit, deliver his third State of the Union address to Congress. At the beginning of every year the sitting President is invited to address a joint session of congress to lay out his intended legislative agenda for the year ahead, although in reality it is mostly used for political posturing and Trump is never one to miss out on a chance to posture. It normally takes place in late January but had to be pushed back into February this year under the direction of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and Democrat, whose role it is to invite the President to speak. This, of course, infuriated Trump no end but Pelosi had a good enough reason as the government was still in shutdown under the direction of Trump himself and therefore Congress could not pay for the appropriate security staff to host the President. Checkmate Mr President.
Illustration by Rhiannon Powell
With the business of government resumed, Trump was able to deliver his speech on Tuesday night and it was filled with the usual jargon. Encouragement for Democrats and Republicans to work together to resolve his Mexican wall mess, a run down of his ‘greatest hits’ so far with a focus on the booming American economy (all heavily laden with the subtext of his impending re-election campaign), and then the dreaded foreign policy section that reminds us all that he really does hold the nuclear codes in his pocket. Trump appeared optimistic about the upcoming second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un but warned Russia that unless an agreement could be reached on the Cold War era arms treaty that Putin pulled out of last week, then the US would "outspend and out-innovate" all others when it comes to nuclear weapons - I hope you’re all sleeping well at night.
My attention was drawn away from Trump’s brinkmanship to the people he had personally invited to DC to hear the speech in person. Specifically, Joshua Trump, no relation… and that’s rather the point. You see, poor 11-year-old Joshua has, according to his parents, been bullied at school since 2015 when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for The White House. His unfortunate last name has resulted in enough abuse that his parents pulled him out of elementary school for a year until he went back into middle school where the alleged bullying recommenced. However, I fear the personal invitation from Trump (Donald) may have done more harm than good to Trump (Joshua). This poor lad his probably spent the last three years trying to convince his schoolmates that he has nothing to do with the President so the last thing he would want is then to be personally invited by the very source of his ridicule to attend the State of the Union. I’m sure Joshua’s new close relationship with Donald will only make things worse.
Speaking of things only getting worse we now go to Brexit. Whilst the issue continues to stagnate in Westminster, Brussels turned to diabolical terms to describe the situation. At a press conference alongside Irish leader Leo Varadkar, EU council President Donald Tusk suggested that there must be a “special place in Hell” for “those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely”. This Dantean language may suggest that the flip-flopping of the UK government is nothing more than a divine comedy to EU officials. But don’t worry, the EU’s press office was quick to make Tusk’s statement clear, they told the BBC that the special place in Hell referred to by the Council President would be for when those responsible were dead and “not right now.” Afterwards another high-ranking EU official tweeted "Well, I doubt Lucifer would welcome them, as after what they did to Britain, they would even manage to divide hell." All this talk of the devilish activity summoned Jacob Rees-Mogg who responded claiming someone of his own generation, Saint Thomas Aquinas, was a far better theologian then any the EU could put forward. Maybe we should have a referendum on it?
When the UK began negotiations to leave the EU we expected them to be tough, but we didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition!