- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Duty calls, and so does 2020.

President Trump will be in Texas next week for an event that serves as a reminder that a presidential race is indeed underway. Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign reveals he soon will host a “Make America Great Again” rally in El Paso — his seventh such rally in the Lone Star State since he began his quest for the White House almost four years ago. It is hard to believe that four years have raced by since the day Mr. Trump descended on an escalator into the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City as Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” serenaded an enthusiastic crowd — and a very curious news media.

The date was June 16, 2015, and Mr. Trump gave his signature thumbs up even then.

On Monday, Mr. Trump is off to El Paso. This may not be the equivalent of the now-famous escalator moment — but it is a good dress rehearsal.

“As the President continues his fight to secure our border, there’s no better place to demonstrate that walls work than in El Paso. President Trump looks forward to visiting with the patriots of Texas who are on the front lines of the struggle against open border Democrats who allow drugs, crime, and sex trafficking all along our border every day,” declares Michael Glassner, CEO of Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

It’s complicated though, as only politics 2019-style can be. The local folks are pleased with the visit, but appear irked at Mr. Trump’s fleeting suggestion during his State of the Union address that El Paso, population 683,000, was once one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.

“El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US. We’ve had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity. It is NOT the sole deterrent. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe,” tweeted El Paso Mayor Dee Margo in the aftermath.

“I think it’s a positive he’s coming here. I’ve been saying for months that I want to talk about the border and now he’s coming to El Paso. I hope he’ll allow me the chance to visit with him,” Mr. Margo later told The El Paso Times.

“This is an opportunity for him to see first hand that we are one of the safest cities in the U.S., thriving, and a model for how you create opportunity, jobs and hope on both sides of the border,” said Jon Barela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance, a nonprofit seeking economic development for a region that includes El Paso; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

THE ‘SUFFRAGETTE’ EFFECT

A South Carolina Republican has advice for the Democratic women who showed up at the State of the Union speech dressed in “suffragette” white, praised Tuesday night as a “wonderful sight” by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I’m a mom, a businesswoman and a state legislator serving South Carolina. At a young age, I was determined to forge my own path through life. And nearly 20 years ago, I became the first female graduate of The Citadel after following in my father’s footsteps. I also have experience starting my own business and in 2017 ran for — and won — a seat in the state legislature, on my own terms,” Rep. Nancy Mace wrote in a commentary published at her Facebook and Instagram pages.

“As women we make a fundamental mistake when we make our identity as women the whole story. The point of breaking glass ceilings is so that, after they are broken, it doesn’t matter anymore. The American experiment is built on the premise that if you set a goal, show up on time and work hard, then success is within reach. We can all achieve the American dream regardless of our gender,” Mrs. Mace said.

“The identity politics being overplayed by liberal women in Washington — on display last night during the president’s State of the Union address — further sets women back rather than advancing our futures. Acting like we just earned the right to vote and are held back strictly because of our gender is an enormous disservice to women everywhere. We don’t need to dress alike. We don’t need to think alike. We don’t need to act alike. We simply need to be present and be working for all of the people who elected us,” she concluded.

MR. ACOSTA HAS A SAY

The University of Virginia Center for Politics hosts CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta at a public forum titled “The Fourth Estate: Enemy of the People?” on Thursday. Longtime political analyst and center Director Larry Sabato will interview Mr. Acosta about his “experiences covering the Trump administration, including his confrontations with the administration, as well as the media’s larger role in public life.”

The forum is part of “Democracy in Perilous Times: Unprecedented Challenges and Controversies,” an ongoing series on the campus. Curious? The event will be live-streamed beginning at 6:30 p.m. at https://livestream.com/tavco/Acosta

Mr. Acosta, incidentally, has a book arriving in June, titled “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America,” which publisher Harper Books calls “an explosive, first-hand account of the dangers he faces reporting on the current White House while fighting on the front lines in President Trump’s war on truth.”

A FOXIFIED WIN

For the second year in a row, Fox News trounced the competition, drawing the most viewers during President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, according to Nielsen Media Research. It requires that we wade through many numbers — but they accurately reflect this competitive marketplace.

Fox News averaged 11.1 million viewers during the evening broadcast, which was co-anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

NBC was in second place with 7.1 million, followed CBS with 6.7 million and ABC with 5.9 million. MSNBC drew 3.8 million and CNN 3.4 million.

Fox News also led the pack when it came to the Democratic response following Mr. Trump’s address, with an audience of 6.4 million.

CNN was in second place 3.3 million, followed by MSNBC (4.7 million), ABC (4.6 million), NBC (5.4 million) and CBS (4.7 million).

Fox News tends to do well with major political programming. Consider that the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 5, 2016, was hosted by a Fox News team that included then-anchor Megyn Kelly. It drew an unprecedented 24 million viewers — emerging as the highest-rated cable news program in history.

POLL DU JOUR

76 percent of Americans approved of President Trump’s State of the Union address.

56 percent said the speech will “unite the country.

36 percent said it “won’t change things much.”

33 percent said the speech will prompt Mr. Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “work together more.”

8 percent said the speech will divide the country.

Source: A CBS News poll of 1,472 U.S. adults who watch the State of the Union address, conducted Tuesday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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