Dems react to Trump’s economic achievements with stone faces and eye rolls – Will they ever grow up?

I’ve never seen a group of Washington lawmakers visibly upset to hear that America is back at work. But Tuesday night, I watched in genuine confusion and disappointment as Democrats scowled, eye-rolled, head-shook, and grumbled at President Trump’s economic remarks during the State of the Union address.

Particularly striking were the dozens of Democratic women newly-elected to the House and Senate, donning white outfits to “unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century.” So-called progressives love a good symbolic gesture.

President Trump took a big victory lap on the economy, and it was well-deserved. Since Trump took office, more than 5 million jobs have been created, including 600,000 manufacturing jobs. There were 304,000 new jobs created in January 2019 alone. Unemployment is at the lowest rate in almost half a century.


These numbers were met by Democrats with stone faces and eye rolls.

President Trump’s pro-growth policies have raised the standard of living for real people and families. Nearly 5 million Americans have left the food stamp program since President Trump took office, with African-American and Hispanic-American poverty rates reaching record lows in 2017 at 21.2 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively.

This year’s State of the Union address presented House Democrats with a choice. They can come to the table and govern like grown-ups, or they can continue to divide and destroy. They can root for Donald Trump to lose, or they can root for the American economy to win.

This progress was met by Democrats with side comments and head shakes.

There are plenty of other economic victories worth bragging about in President Trump’s first term. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 3 percent over the last four quarters and began the year at 3.4 percent. For the first time in 65 years, the U.S. has become a net exporter of energy.

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” will save American households an average of $ 1,200 per year on their taxes. Businesses across the country will benefit from Trump eliminating 22 regulations for every new one created in 2017, and 12 regulations for every new one created in 2018.

If the economic victories of the last two years were accomplished by President Obama, without a doubt, these Democratic eye rolls would have been applause lines, and likely standing ovations.

This year’s State of the Union address presented House Democrats with a choice. They can come to the table and govern like grown-ups, or they can continue to divide and destroy. They can root for Donald Trump to lose, or they can root for the American economy to win.


President Trump finally broke the ice with the “Women in White” when he mentioned there are more women in the workforce and serving in Congress than ever before.

Apparently, the only jobs the rising generation of Democrats believe are worth applauding for are their own.


Schumer: Trump’s address was ‘political, divisive, calculating, even nasty at times’

Schumer on SOTU: Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


    Schumer on SOTU: Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


Schumer on SOTU: Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 01:52

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address was “political, divisive, calculating, even nasty at times,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday.

“Well, there’s very little nice to say about it,” Schumer told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.” “I think (the Democratic response from) Stacey Abrams showed the President what real leadership was last night. She was thoughtful, caring.”
“You know, you can’t talk about comity and working together and give a speech that is so divisive — that just doesn’t fly,” the New York Democrat added.
The President’s speech, given Tuesday night in the House chamber before a divided Congress, focused on a litany of policy areas that he hoped to work with Congress on, including his proposed border wall, prescription drug prices and the country’s infrastructure. On Wednesday, however, Schumer shrugged off Trump’s hopes of working with congressional Democrats on the issues he highlighted.
    “So in the areas where he tried to reach out, you know — drug prices, transportation, infrastructure — there was no meat, there was no enthusiasm. All the enthusiasm was for the divisive parts like immigration, abortion, things like that. So it was not a good speech,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe Trump is able to “give a truly bipartisan speech and start working with us.”
    Schumer said congressional Democrats did want to work with their Republican counterparts to create a deal on border security that would please both sides, a task that is currently being worked on by negotiators from both parties ahead of another possible government shutdown when current funding for parts of the government runs out in mid-February.
      “We’re willing to do border security, we always have. We offered border security to the President. So we have always tried to be bipartisan, we have tried to work with our Republican colleagues. And in fact, when the President stays out of it we get it done,” he said.
      “I believe, John, if the President stays out of it, we will get a deal, a good deal that every — that Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, can support. It’s when the President weighs in with his heavy hand, his unrealistic heavy hand — he doesn’t know how to negotiate — that things get messed up. So if he stays out of it, yes, I believe the odds are very high, we will get a deal,” Schumer said.

      Gayle King says Trump’s State of the Union was ‘pretty tame,’ calls immigration remarks ‘disturbing’

      The co-hosts of “CBS This Morning” appeared on “The Late Show” to react to President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address.


      Gayle King began by calling the speech “pretty tame” and that the president tried to “extend an olive branch” to the Democrats, pointing to his congratulatory message to the newly-elected Democratic congresswomen. Norah O’Donnell accused the president of “trying to take credit” for there being more women in the workforce as well as in Congress, something former “Face The Nation” moderator John Dickerson thought Trump “has every right to take credit” since many of the congresswomen ran against him.

      O’Donnell pointed out a “key line” from President Trump’s address, calling it a “threat to Congress.”


      “He said ‘If there’s going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.’ That was a threat,” O’Donnell told “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert.


      King later pivoted to Trump’s remarks on immigration.

      “I always find it disturbing though, Stephen, when he talks about the wall. You would think that there were marauding immigrants and migrant workers who are coming into this country who are going to murder us while we’re sleeping in our beds,” King said. “I was at Texas at the border. When you see these people and you talk to these people, just think what it’s like- you have to leave your own country to come to a country where you’re not welcomed but you still think that it’s better to be here than there. They’re fleeing for their lives, they’re trying to support their families, they’re really trying to save their lives.


      “You’re separating these children from their parents. These people are coming because they want a better life, they’re just trying to live,” King continued. “Sure, there are some outliers, but that is not the majority of the people.”

      Democrats unmoved by Trump’s State of the Union bid to break gridlock on border security

      Top Democrats signaled on Tuesday that President Trump’s State of the Union address did little to convince them that a legislative compromise to construct his proposed border wall is possible, as another potential partial federal government shutdown over the White House’s long-promised project looms.

      In his remarks, Trump made no mention of an emergency declaration to fund the wall, which his administration has floated as a possibility. But the president made clear that, one way or the other, the structure will eventually be completed, declaring: “I will build it.”

      “I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country,” Trump said, in a speech that variously referred to both “walls” and “barriers” at the border.

      “Simply put, walls work and walls save lives,” Trump added. “So let’s work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe. … This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier –not just a simple concrete wall.”

      But with the current temporary spending bill funding portions of the government set to expire Feb. 15, several progressives in Congress — both before and after Trump’s speech — registered sharp disapproval of Trump’s comments. New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, did not applaud even as Trump discussed the need to end human trafficking at the border, and she later compared the event to a “campaign rally.”

      Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, listens as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

      Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, listens as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

      “I think that the president was unprepared,” Ocasio-Cortez said later Tuesday in an interview with MSNBC. “I don’t think that he did his homework.”

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, told Fox News she was “saddened” Trump had not discussed gun violence in his speech, and she condemned what she called his “fearmongering” on illegal immigrants.


      “I’m optimistic about what the appropriators are doing,” Pelosi said, when asked how she felt Trump’s address would impact ongoing bipartisan negotiations in Congress on border wall funding. “The only problem is if he would stand in the way of that path.”

      Still, there were moments Tuesday night in which Pelosi appeared to warm to some of Trump’s statements. At one point during the address, Pelosi waived off Democrats who began to groan audibly when Trump mentioned an approaching migrant “caravan” at the border. And the House Speaker applauded briefly when Trump asserted that the U.S. would never become a socialist country, even as many Democrats remained expressionless.

      Also speaking to Fox News, Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons called for more substance from the White House.

      “There were a number of potentially engaging proposals,” Coons said. Nevertheless, he added, “They lacked details.”

      New York Democratic Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand, who has announced she is planning a White House bid, spotlighted her displeasure with the address on social media, tweeting out C-SPAN video of her eye roll reaction GIF and asking for campaign donations.

      Gillibrand, once a moderate when she represented upstate New York in Congress, is now one of the most outspoken advocates for eliminating Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She admitted in 2009 when she was appointed to the Senate that she would have to change her views because she now represented “the whole state,” rather than a traditionally conservative enclave.

      Perhaps most notably, Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate, blamed Trump for the recently concluded partial federal government shutdown in the Democratic Party’s official response to the State of the Union.

      The remarks by Abrams, a rising Democratic star who made history Tuesday night as the first African-American woman to deliver a formal State of the Union response, suggested Democrats are confident that any future shutdown can similarly be blamed on the White House — and that compromise may not be necessary.

      “Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers,” Abrams said. “They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn’t received a paycheck in weeks. “Making their livelihoods a pawn for political games is a disgrace.”

      Abrams continued: “The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people–but our values.”

      President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vice President Mike Pence, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks on, as he arrives in the House chamber before giving his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 at the Capitol in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

      President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vice President Mike Pence, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks on, as he arrives in the House chamber before giving his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 at the Capitol in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)


      Abrams delivered her speech in the metro Atlanta area, surrounded by Georgia activists, labor leaders, health care professionals, educators, entrepreneurs, voters and her family, after Trump delivers his message. Abrams has said she accepts that Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp defeated her in last year’s election, but she has repeatedly suggested he is not the state’s “legitimate” governor — insinuations she repeated again on Tuesday.

      “Let’s be clear: voter suppression is real,” Abrams said. “From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls to moving and closing polling places to rejecting lawful ballots, we can no longer ignore these threats to democracy. While I acknowledged the results of the 2018 election here in Georgia – I did not and we cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote.”

      President Donald Trump acknowledges women in Congress as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., watch, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

      President Donald Trump acknowledges women in Congress as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., watch, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

      In his statement, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez implied the White House has lost its moral authority on illegal immigration.

      “Separating families does not unify our nation,” Perez said, referring to Trump administration’s increased enforcement of existing immigration law, which resulted in more illegal immigrant parents being detained even though their children could not be similarly incarcerated. “Taking away people’s health care does not unify us. Blocking access to the ballot box does not unify us. Shutting down the government does not unify us. Building walls does not unify us.”


      Separately, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, charged that Trump had “leaned on falsehoods and fear to obscure the reality of a presidency lacking in leadership and harmful to America’s future.”

      Hoyer, who has previously told Fox News that border walls “obviously” can work in some cases, vowed to press ahead with legislation designed to benefit so-called “Dreamers,” or illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.

      Trump announced last month that he was prepared to back a three-year extension of protections for 700,000 such immigrants, who were were shielded from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But in exchange, Trump demanded $ 5.7 billion for border wall and security funding — making the proposal a nonstarter with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called such a wall an “immorality.”

      “We will bring forward measures to … protect DREAMers,” Hoyer said Tuesday. Hoyer earlier told Fox News he disagrees with Pelosi that walls are necessarily immoral.

      “A wall is — that protects people is not immoral,” Hoyer told Fox News’ Bret Baier in January. “The debate ought to be not on morality or racism.”

      Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Chad Pergram, and Jason Donner contributed to this report.

      Hollywood reacts to Trump’s State of the Union address

      Hollywood stars on the left and right chimed in during President Trump‘s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

      The president covered topics from immigration, abortion and railed against “the politics of revenge” and “partisan investigations” from the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill.

      Here’s what Hollywood had to say:

      Van Jones calls Trump’s SOTU ‘psychotically incoherent’ with ‘cookies and dog poop’

      CNN host Van Jones had some harsh criticism for President Donald Trump over his State of the Union address.

      During a panel discussion, Jones disagreed with former GOP senator Rick Santorum that Trump’s address was an attempt to reach out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and other congressional Democrats.


      “I saw this very differently. I saw this as a psychotically incoherent speech with cookies and dog poop.  He tries to put together in the same speech these warm, kind things about humanitarianism and caring about children. At the same time, he is demonizing people who are immigrants in a way that is appalling,” Jones said.

      “I saw this very differently. I saw this as a psychotically incoherent speech with cookies and dog poop.”

      — Van Jones, CNN host

      Santorum pushed back, telling Jones that Trump was “demonizing child trafficking.” The former Obama official doubled down.


      “There were people in that gallery who were children who have been torn away from their mothers at the border. He did not mention them. There were soldiers who were transgender who have been thrown out of the military. He didn’t mention them,” Jones continued. “There are veterans who he has thrown out of this country who are DREAMers. He did not mention them. And he did not say one positive thing- Listen, if you want to talk about the people he could have mentioned…”


      “So not mentioning is a bad speech?” Santorum asked. “So he has to mention everybody you want him to mention?”

      “If you’re gonna talk about immigration, you gonna talk about undocumented people… then talk about the one who drowned saving people in Houston after the storm. Talk about the people who have given their lives for this country. You guys see this very differently,” the CNN host responded.

      Women in white at State of the Union celebrate Trump’s job creation statistic

      President Trump was surprised by the response he received by women in Congress — primarily Democrats — when he discussed during his State of the Union address Tuesday how much the gender is prospering in our current economy.

      “No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year,” Trump said as Vice President Mike Pence stood up to applaud for females in the crowd.

      Cameras in the House Chamber quickly panned to several rows of female lawmakers all donning white in tribute to the women’s suffrage movement who were in their seats exchanging looks. One lawmaker then started pointing at herself, giving props to her female colleagues as those around her laughed.


      One by one, women started rising to their feet — and within seconds, the lawmakers paused to have a “dance party” and “raise the roof.”

      The audience roared with applause as both men and women in Congress began pumping their fists in the air to celebrate.

      Trump nodded as the women eventually took their seats.

      “You weren’t supposed to do that,” the president joked. “Thank you very much. Thank you very much.”


      People watching the address at home were quick to take to Twitter to celebrate the moment.

      “#SOTU He literally just got all the women in Congress, dressed in the same themed white outfits and dance for him multiple times on command. That just happened,” one Twitter user commented.

      “Pres. Trump during #SOTU2019 gets Democrats wearing #suffragettewhite to stand, applaud when he says women have filled 58 percent of the jobs created last year, centennial passing of #19thAmendment and the record number elected to #Congress. Earlier pic of Dem women,” another shared.

      “All the newly-elected ladies in white on the House side raise the roof,” one Twitter user chimed in.

      Another woman said she “loved” the moment, adding it was the “light part of the night.”

      Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., invited women from both sides of the aisle to wear the symbolic attire last week.

      “Now that we’re the majority, we feel like women put us there: they organized, they voted for us, they marched, and so forth,” Frankel, the chairwoman of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, explained to Refinery 29. “When the president looks out at us, we wanted him to see a wave of white that really represents our message — not just to him, but to the nation and the world — that we’re here as part of the Democrats [and] The People’s Agenda; that we must promote policies that will allow girls and women to fulfill their full potential.”

      This is the second time female lawmakers were encouraged to don white while watching the high-profile speech in person. After Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and the massive Women’s March on Washington that followed, Frankel decided to call on colleagues to show solidarity.

      Competing realities and conflicting reviews after Trump’s State of the Union

      New York (CNN Business)A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

      Late of the Union

      A month ago, in his prime time Oval Office address, President Trump urged "every citizen" to "CALL CONGRESS and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border." I never heard anything about a surge of calls. Did you? There's no evidence that anything Trump said that night had a lasting effect.
        So that's why I'm skeptical that Tuesday night's State of the Union will be any different. But here are Tuesday night's and Wednesday morning's headlines...

        Speech audience was most partisan since 2001

        Tuesday night's address "drew a deeply Republican audience which largely gave the President strong reviews for his address from the House chamber, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS," Jennifer Agiesta writes.
        Quoting from her story: "The audience had the largest partisan tilt measured in any CNN instant poll following a presidential address to Congress dating back to 2001. Viewers this year were roughly 17 points more likely than the general public to identify as Republicans and were largely fans of the President." We'll have some initial ratings info by midday Wednesday...

        Competing realities

        -- Van Jones on CNN: "A psychotically incoherent speech, with cookies and dog poop."
        -- Laura Ingraham on Fox: "There was a lot for people on both sides of the aisle to really love here."
        -- "He spent more time on the wall than any other single issue tonight," George Stephanopoulos said on ABC. "Despite the fact that 60% of Americans do not actually want this wall," Cecilia Vega added...
        -- Lou Dobbs tweeted: "The President just delivered the nation a hallelujah moment!"
        -- "This was not a particularly good speech," Stephen Colbert said on a live "Late Show." But "what it lacked in quality, it made up in length. This speech was like watching paint lie..."
        -- Sean Hannity agreed with Eric Trump, who said "It was his best speech he's ever given."
        --'s headline right now: "Trump calls for unity in speech that jabs Dems."

        Feeding "caravan" fears

        If you haven't been watching Fox or reading right-wing websites, you probably haven't heard about the new "caravan." But Trump has heard a LOT about it from his Fox friends. And he brought it up in Tuesday's address.
        Here's the context via my CNN Business story: Every morning for the past week, "Fox & Friends" hosts have been talking about a new "caravan" threat... and some of the migrants arrived at the border just in time for the SOTU.
        The result: Trump's frightening rhetoric about immigration rings true to Fox viewers, while it strikes many other Americans as extreme — and even a joke...

        Correcting Trump's false and misleading claims

        Dozens of CNNers are contributing to this detailed and ongoing fact-check of Tuesday night's claims. Check it out here. On TV, Jim Sciutto provided a post-SOTU fact-check about Trump's immigration claims...
        -- More: The Post's team says the SOTU was "chockful of stretched facts and dubious figures..." (WaPo)

        Trump never mentioned the shutdown...

        ...But Stacey Abrams brought it up in the Democratic response. Abrams seemed a lot more comfortable than most people tasked with a SOTU rebuttal. Her speech was well-received across all the major networks, from MSNBC to Fox...

        Lowry's take

        Brian Lowry emails: If SOTU is in part a battle of optics — complete with Oprah-worthy human-interest stories — it was remarkable how effective the white-clad Democratic congresswomen were as a silent but unavoidable rebuke when the camera panned the chamber. That was especially true when they turned Trump's boast about jobs into a reference to his role in the last election's Democratic wave that he seemed slow to grasp.
        >> Rachel Maddow immediately seized on the "peace and legislation"/"war and investigation" construction as the line that will likely linger, one that she likened to a bumper-sticker slogan...

        Coverage notes

        -- A remarkable interactive by CNN's Sam Petulla: "How Trump's State of the Union address compares with 100 years of speeches..."
        -- Trump ad-libbed here and there... mostly just adding a couple of words... but this addition was noteworthy. This part in all-caps was not in the prepared text: "I want people to come into our country, IN THE LARGEST NUMBERS EVER, but they have to come in legally."
        -- Fact-checker Daniel Dale's take: "You could feel which sections of the speech were authentically Trump and which ones were aides' attempts to get someone on TV to declare that today was the day Trump became president..."
        -- Erik Wemple tweeted about the lack of "fake news" barbs: "When was the last time President Trump spoke for nearly an hour without bashing the media?"
        -- Eric Bolling hosted post-SOTU coverage on BlazeTV from the lobby of the Trump International Hotel in DC... Katrina Pierson and Sean Spicer stopped by...

        About the Dems...

        AOC was interviewed live on NBC immediately after the speeches... Cory Booker was live on CBS afterward... Adam Schiff was on CNN... Amy Klobuchar was on MSNBC...
        → And Klobuchar announced that she'll be announcing her 2020 plans in Minneapolis on Sunday...

        The late-night comics get their turn

        "All in all, this was one of Trump's tamer speeches, believe it or not," Trevor Noah said on a live edition of "The Daily Show" afterward.
        He mock-applauded Trump's reading abilities: "I don't know if he's ready for a second term, but he's definitely ready for the second grade."
        And he called out one of Trump's "we have not yet begun to dream" line at the end: "In other words, the nightmare is just beginning," Noah said...

        What's next

        CBS says Jeff Glor will have an "exclusive interview" with VP Mike Pence on Wednesday's "CBS This Morning..."


        -- "The more symbolically important Trump's border fight gets, the more desperately he needs to build a literal wall," Dara Lind writes... (Vox)
        -- Peter Baker and Michael Grynbaum have details from Trump's off-the-record lunch with TV anchors on Tuesday... (NYT)
        -- One of the sad headlines from the NYT story: "Almost 170 days after John McCain died, Donald Trump takes another pot shot at the late senator..." (People)
        -- Bill O'Reilly is writing a "history book" about Trump. He spent part of last weekend "in the West Wing and on Air Force One with exclusive access to the president..." (Media Matters)
        -- A front-page story in Tuesday's Post: "Myanmar's Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi could release 2 jailed journalists. She has not." (WaPo)

        The big picture of Trump's troubles

        This graphic is from Tuesday's "Situation Room" on CNN:

        It lists six parts of Trumpworld that are under investigation by several different agencies. It's especially notable in light of Trump's SOTU line that "if there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."
        Norah O'Donnell's reaction on Colbert: "He threatened Congress." That line about investigations "was a threat."
        Many journalists pointed out that Richard Nixon similarly criticized Watergate investigations in his 1974 SOTU. But there are some big differences between then and now... CNN's Zachary B. Wolf has the details here...

        Lisa Napoli's book about the birth of CNN

        Coming soon: A new look at the creation of CNN and how it changed the world forever. Broadcaster and author Lisa Napoli is writing "Up All Night: CNN and the Birth of 24 Hour News..." Abrams Press is about to announce that it has acquired the book... And as someone who's known Napoli for 20 years, and now works at CNN, I can't wait to read it! Napoli started her career at CNN, BTW... Back when the channel was still derided as "Chicken Noodle News..." She's been working on the project for months, and wrote this Curbed piece about CNN's original home last summer...

        A groundbreaking hire for Axios

        Axios has hired Jess Szmajda as CTO -- she will oversee tech staffers and "help lead the media company's expansion into paid products," VF's Joe Pompeo reported Tuesday. "She'll also blaze a trail for other transgender leaders in the industry."
        From Pompeo's story: "Axios says it looked at the executive composition of more than 50 news companies, and none of them have a female C.T.O. Axios also says Szmajda will be the first female transgender C.T.O. of a notable media property. Szmajda, who transitioned in August 2017, hopes her hiring will be a step toward greater diversity within media corporate suites..."

        Matthew Ball's must-read about "Fortnite"

          "Fortnite" reportedly had 10 million concurrent users in virtual "attendance" for a Marshmello concert last weekend. The game has at least 200 million registered accounts. Matthew Ball says the game "likely represents the largest persistent media event in human history."
          He also says it's "uniquely positioned to be the start of the Metaverse." Don't wait, read his essay for REDEF here...

          Trump’s call for compromise is only on his own terms

          Trump: Border protection is a 'moral issue'

            JUST WATCHED

            Trump: Border protection is a ‘moral issue’

          MUST WATCH

          Trump: Border protection is a ‘moral issue’ 01:09

          Washington (CNN)The state of Donald Trump is unrepentant and defiant. And while he says he’s open to compromise and national unity — it must be on his terms.

          The President’s annual State of the Union address on Tuesday held up a mirror for millions of television viewers of the rancorous, apparently unbridgeable ideological divides that hold Washington hostage and stifle a latent yearning for national unity.
          In an often searing speech, Trump was who he was, is, and always will be: a sometimes awkward outsider, a disrupter and a President whose dominant leadership technique is to carve a political divide and pick a side.
          He deliberately stoked fresh tensions with Democrats over his border wall, using rhetoric that may make it more difficult to forge a compromise to defuse a standoff that is threatening to cause a second government shutdown.
            Yet at times, he offered a tantalizing promise of something more, conjuring moments of poignancy, as when he honored a World War II veteran and a Nazi concentration camp inmate the veteran helped liberate, together in the first lady’s box.
            In a speech in which rhetorical calls for common ground jarred with the rigidity of his policy positions, Trump did make an apparently genuine effort to bring Americans together. He tried to combine key themes from his 2016 campaign into a patriotic creed behind which everyone could unite.
            “I am asking you to choose greatness. No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must move go forward together. We must keep America first in our hearts,” Trump said.
            The question now is whether the President did anything to help his precarious political position or to narrow entrenched political battle lines.
            Apart from a pledge to work together on prescription drug prices, infrastructure and fighting cancer and HIV/AIDS, Trump offered few signs of flexibility on the political disputes that tear at national unity.
            He signaled no retreat on his most quintessential, and divisive, campaign pledge, saying, “walls work and walls save lives,” and raising the specter of “caravans” of migrants massing for a “tremendous onslaught” on the border.
            “I will get it built,” Trump said.
            After a day of White House spin about how the President meant to unify a divided nation, he sent a clear message: Compromise means everyone needs to line up behind him and embrace some of the most polarizing goals of his presidency at home and abroad.
            The calls for unity appeared oddly dissonant from the President’s fervent appeals to his base on immigration, abortion and a vow to make sure America never becomes a “socialist country.” And on foreign policy and immigration there were characteristic falsehoods sprinkled along the way.

            A glaring emotional contrast

            The contradiction underlying the speech — that is also a theme of Trump’s entire presidency — was evident midway through.
            Trump created a tableau of togetherness by pointing out Matthew Charles from Tennessee, an African-American man who was the first inmate freed from prison under a bipartisan criminal justice act passed last year.
            “Matthew, on behalf of all Americans: Welcome home,” Trump said.
            Yet the warmth from that special moment soon faded when the President pivoted directly to tales of “ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers and human traffickers” that recalled the racially charged rhetoric of his campaign.
            Time and again, the kind of national unity for which Trump’s scripted speech sometimes reached appeared on the verge of spontaneously breaking out.
            The chamber stood as one when Trump honored Judah Samet, a survivor of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and 10-year-old Grace Eline, who turned her cancer diagnosis into a spur to raise money for fellow sufferers.
            When Trump mentioned that 58% of newly created jobs had been filled by women, female Democratic lawmakers — wearing white in a show of equality — stood and cheered, effectively claiming the President’s applause line for themselves.
            “You weren’t meant to do that,” Trump said with a showman’s timing and in a gesture of generosity, reclaiming the moment.
            “Don’t sit yet. You’re going to like this,” he said, before adding: “And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time.”
            Trump came into the evening at one of the weakest moments of his presidency. He came off second best in his government shutdown showdown with Pelosi. He is in a box of his own making over the wall — and may be forced to trigger a constitutional conflagration by using executive power to get money to build it.
            In a sign of the darkening cloud of suspicion surrounding his life and presidency, CNN reported that New York prosecutors want to interview Trump Organization executives just hours before the address began. Special counsel Robert Mueller may soon approach the end of his Russia investigation, which has already won a string of convictions and guilty pleas against Trump associates.
            The President responded with a threat, warning that a flurry of investigations against him and even the congressional oversight he never faced from the Republican House could derail economic growth and threaten the best job creation in decades.
            “An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said.
            In an echo of President Richard Nixon who declared in 1974, that “one year of Watergate is enough,” Trump warned: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”

            An image of division

            Sciutto gives Trump's SOTU speech a reality check

            Sciutto gives Trump's SOTU speech a reality check

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            Sciutto gives Trump’s SOTU speech a reality check 03:32

            Lawmakers in the House of Representatives offered an eloquent picture of how his speech was likely to be received in the country.
            To Trump’s left, Republicans raucously cheered like a campaign trail crowd, sometimes chanting “USA, USA!”
            To his right, a larger block of Democrats, many newly elected women with some 2020 Democratic White House hopefuls sprinkled in, sat and mostly stared.
            There was much rolling of eyes, shaking of heads and looks of contempt and bafflement in the Democratic ranks. Behind Trump, Pelosi at times scoffed or chuckled as Trump hit his most inflammatory lines.
            At one point, as the address stretched well past the hour mark, Pelosi picked up her paper copy of the speech as if to see how much longer it would go on.
            The evening was a clear sign from Trump that for all the speculation that he could finally broaden his appeal and court all Americans, his political course — solidifying his base — is set and irreversible heading into the 2020 election.
            For most presidents, a scripted occasion like the State of the Union address is a blueprint for days of events and remarks hitting on the same narrative.
            That’s rarely the case for Trump. The most authentic version of the President is usually to be found on his Twitter feed or in spontaneous remarks so his behavior in the days ahead could well undermine his calls for unity.
            The President’s most poetic call for national unity came when he decried the toxic politics in Washington that jarred with his opening line that everyone was gathered “not as two parties but as one nation.”
              “We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution,” the President said.
              If he can live up to his own admonition, the unifying sentiments of his address may prove to be more resilient than the President’s own recent history suggests will be the case.

              5 key takeaways from Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech

              (CNN)President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night, a speech that was, in equal measure, surprisingly bipartisan and deeply divisive — reflective of the deep contradictions that sit at the heart of his presidency.

              Within just a few paragraphs, Trump swerved from calls for unity and shared victory to blasting Democrats on their opposition to his proposed border wall. In one breath, he touted the low unemployment rate. In the next, he insisted that if Democrats wanted peace and prosperity, then they could not carry on “partisan investigations.”
              It was vintage Trump — in all its incongruity, unpredictability, exaggeration and occasional moments of surprising grace.
                I watched the speech (all 82 minutes of it) and took notes. My initial takeaways are below.

                1. Trump started on a bipartisan note, but …

                In advance of the speech, administration officials pushed the idea that Trump would extend an olive branch to Democrats and urge the two warring parties to come together for the good of the country.
                And he started on just that note. “There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it,” the President said in the speech’s earlier moments. “Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.”
                Which is a great sentiment!
                The problem, of course, is that Trump is a deeply flawed messenger on the whole “unity” thing. A pitch like this one — “We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good” — could work if spoken by someone who, well, is not Trump.
                He literally turned the “politics of revenge, resistance and retribution” into an art form during the 2016 campaign. To turn suddenly and ask the assembled Congress to put aside nasty rhetoric and name-calling feels a little pot-calling-the-kettle-black-ish.
                And even as he called for unity, Trump repeatedly cast Democrats as obstructionists bent on open borders and unwilling to condemn voices within their party making extreme remarks on abortion.

                2. Peace ≠ “partisan investigations”

                The line likely to be quoted most — especially by Trump’s critics — from the speech was this one: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.”
                The logic here, while strained, goes like this: If you want economic prosperity, you can’t investigate the President. One doesn’t work with the other.
                It’s quite a line, given that Trump’s administration is in the midst of an investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, his company is in the midst of an investigation by the Southern District of New York and House Democrats are preparing a series of investigations into, among other things, Trump’s Cabinet, his taxes and the firing of FBI director James Comey.
                It’s also a line that evokes a less-than-ideal comparison for Trump. “I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end,” said then-President Richard Nixon in his 1974 State of the Union speech. “One year of Watergate is enough.”
                So, yeah.

                3. Women rule

                It was hard to miss the large number of Democratic women sitting together on the House floor wearing white in honor of the suffragette movement. (A record number of women were elected to Congress in the 2018 election.)
                And that group of women provided the most surprising — even for Trump — moment of the night. In touting his economic successes, Trump delivered these lines:
                “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before — and exactly one century after the Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.”
                He was repeatedly interrupted by cheers as the women — almost exclusively Democrats — slapped five and hugged to celebrate their momentous accomplishment. “You weren’t supposed to do that,” Trump joked.
                The celebration of the record number of women in Congress morphed into a “USA! USA!” cheer that — gasp — the entire chamber soon took up. Trump clearly loved every second of it — despite the fact that many of the women elected in 2018 were not only driven to run but spurred to victory by their opposition to him and his policies. “That’s great, really great,” he said. “And congratulations, that’s great.”
                It was a nice moment — for all parties. And a rare one, in both this speech and our broader politics.

                4. The case for a national emergency on the border was made

                Trump pointedly did not say that he would declare a national emergency on the southern border if Congress could not come to some sort of compromise before February 15.
                But he laid the groundwork for why his hand would be forced if and when the time comes. “The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans,” Trump said at one point. At another, he described the “very dangerous southern border.” At still another he painted a picture of cities in Mexico loading undocumented immigrants in trucks and buses to bring them closer to unsecured parts of the US border.
                To the extent there was any sort of unifying theme to this speech — and you really have to dig hard for one — it was Trump making the case that the country is under a grave threat from illegal immigration, and that if Congress won’t act, he will.
                “In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built,” Trump said. “I’ll get it built.”

                5. The reaction shot story

                Part of the SOTU is the reactions from the opposition party. And with Trump in the White House and the 2020 Democratic race already in full swing, it was prime season for reaction shots of Democrats deeply disgruntled about Trump’s pronouncements.
                  There was the eye roll from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D). The mouth-twisting dismay from California Sen. Kamala Harris (D). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s seeming expletive at a Trump claim. And then there was Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s golf clap for Trump — a slapping of hands together that has already become a meme.

                  For Democrats, these reactions will set off waves of elation. For Republicans, they will be seen as reflections of a party unwilling to ever give the President the benefit of the doubt. For the rest of us, it’s a reminder that a) one speech doesn’t change people’s views and b) the SOTU is one big TV show.