- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2019

One of President Trump’s opponents in the 2020 campaign could well have been staring back at him from the House chamber floor Tuesday night — and they were not happy with what they saw.

As Mr. Trump cheered economic progress and fewer people on food stamps, they grimaced. The lowest unemployment rate in 50 years left some of them unmoved.

And from the glue that kept Sen. Kamala D. Harris in her seat to the sour look on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s face and the intense stare of Sen. Cory Booker, those pondering a run against Mr. Trump made clear they found his calls to action and bipartisanship less than inspiring.

Easy applause lines such as “Made in the USA” left Ms. Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown unmoved, while Sen. Jeff Merkley sat on his hands as Mr. Trump praised a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who has made a career of rescuing women snared by sex trafficking.

Mr. Trump’s vow to oppose any efforts to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement — a clarion call of the left — was even less popular, drawing applause only from Mr. Brown.



But Ms. Warren led the entire chamber in applause when Mr. Trump vowed that “great nations do not fight endless wars.”

While Mr. Trump didn’t often bring them to their feet, he did send some of them to their iPhones to live-tweet their reactions.

“Instead of using $5 billion toward a useless border wall or giving America’s top 1% more tax breaks, imagine how much of our country’s crumbling infrastructure we could rebuild,” Ms. Harris tweeted.

Mr. Merkley was particularly active during the speech, complaining online that Mr. Trump never mentioned the plight of the Rohingya in Burma, while spending too much time complimenting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and advocating for a troop withdrawal.

“We do need to push back against forever wars and bring troops home. But not in a disorganized and reckless way that cuts the legs out from our allies and empowers our adversaries,” he tweeted.

None of the Democratic presidential possibilities was as cold to the speech as Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat who is not running for president, but who still found almost nothing she felt worth applauding.

By contrast, Sen. Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat, found plenty to like, as did Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a freshman Democrat from Arizona who was often the only Democrat in the chamber to stand for applause lines.

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