Elephants in the room: 7 things Trump didn't talk about

President Donald Trump spent the lion's share of his first formal State of the Union address running off a laundry li...

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 11:46 AM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 11:46 AM

President Donald Trump spent the lion's share of his first formal State of the Union address running off a laundry list of political victories, making the case for a massive new infrastructure project and, in a few brusque asides, trolling his liberal rivals.

His point-by-point list of demands for an immigration deal -- the first time Trump has articulated them, in his own voice, for the American public -- will likely have the most resonance moving forward. But there was also power in what he chose not to discuss during the 80-minute speech.

In that way, if not too many others, Trump has something in common with his predecessors. He mostly eschewed the promises he's so far failed to keep, steered clear of roiling issues that could threaten his standing, and skipped by complicated questions that, one year into his presidency, remain unanswered.

Here are a few notable absences:

Mueller and 'the memo'

We've either found the limits of Trumpian norm-smashing or just witnessed the handiwork of a convincing lawyer armed with an expensive red pen.

However it played out behind the scenes, special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and adjacent concerns like "the memo" were absent from Trump's speech. Whether he stays mum on the future of the FBI and his Justice Department's highest-profile (part-time?) employee much longer is quite another thing.

But for one night at least, Trump was able to keep from scratching that most tormenting itch.

China and Russia

Neither global frienemy went entirely absent from the speech. They just happened to share a lone sentence, lumped in with "rogue regimes" and "terrorist groups" that "challenge our interests, our economy and our values."

Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the sanctions his administration will not pursue were unsurprising snubs (the cost, one imagines, of leaving former FBI Director James Comey and Mueller out of the mix), but the absence of a sustained broadside against China -- he mentioned intellectual property and trade practices only in passing -- was a somewhat surprising omission.

Hillary

Hillary Clinton made news just a few minutes before Trump arrived on the big stage, responding -- again, and this time with a little more substance -- to a report last week that she chose not to fire an adviser accused of sexual harassment during her 2008 presidential campaign.

But her 2016 performance and, more to the point, Trump's, went without mention. For a President who so rarely finds occasion to not discuss his election night triumph, letting that piece of the past remain there felt something like an achievement in its own right.

#MeToo

This one was less of a surprise. The nationwide movement to root out sexual misconduct and harassment from the workplace and other prominent places (and positions) in American life did not make the cut on Tuesday night.

Trump, of course, has been accused of misconduct by multiple women and is now at the center of a controversy surrounding allegations his lawyer paid off a porn star to keep silent about a pre-presidential extramarital affair, leaving him with little opportunity here for political profit.

Still, by passing it off entirely, he further ceded the narrative - and the high ground -- to the Democrats, who can and likely will make hay of his ignoring such a vast and substantial issue on such a large stage.

Who is going to pay for the wall

The wall got a couple mentions, but mostly in the context of a potential immigration bargain with Democrats. Trump's campaign promise -- right up there among his most prominent -- that Mexico would pay for its construction did not garner a single mention.

What now for health care?

Trump lit up the Republican side of the room when he celebrated the demise of Obamacare's individual mandate. From there, though, he jumped right to the GOP's corporate tax cuts -- which kept House Speaker Paul Ryan and co. smiling but left the future of the health care system dangling.

After failing to gut Obamacare last year, then reaching back and taking a chunk out with their tax bill, Trump appears resolved to claim victory and move on from this particular fight. At least, that's the impression one got on Tuesday night.

Climate change

The closest Trump came to addressing anything to do with the environment came during his triumphal riff on the state of the energy economy, when he proudly claimed to have ended the war on "beautiful clean coal."

Apart from that, the speech didn't even include a sarcastic jab about global warming and the cold weather. And the only shores mentioned were those of Normandy, France. America's Gulf Coast and other potential drilling sites, the source of an ongoing dust-up with backyard-conscious governors, were pushed out to sea.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111322

Reported Deaths: 3202
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7751171
DeSoto663677
Harrison481181
Jackson431978
Rankin380886
Madison371792
Lee341379
Forrest295177
Jones283182
Washington251497
Lafayette241742
Lauderdale2344130
Lamar214938
Bolivar198075
Oktibbeha194654
Neshoba1806111
Lowndes173962
Panola165136
Leflore160086
Sunflower157449
Warren152154
Monroe144872
Pontotoc143519
Pike136455
Lincoln134854
Copiah134636
Marshall132626
Scott123229
Coahoma123136
Grenada120137
Simpson118148
Yazoo117233
Union113925
Holmes113260
Tate112739
Leake112239
Itawamba109024
Pearl River108256
Adams104342
Prentiss101619
Wayne98521
Alcorn95512
George93517
Marion93242
Covington91625
Tippah85120
Newton84227
Chickasaw82024
Tallahatchie81825
Winston81521
Tishomingo79040
Hancock76927
Attala76525
Clarke71448
Clay67221
Jasper66616
Walthall63327
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith58116
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence49514
Yalobusha48414
Perry48022
Carroll46012
Greene45317
Stone45014
Amite41513
Quitman4136
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39411
Webster36513
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31815
Benton3054
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26310
Franklin2303
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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