- - Wednesday, February 5, 2020

There is a time that calls for the turning of the page. Ripping it to shreds instead betrays an inability to recognize the obligation of the moment. As President Trump delivers on his promises to lead the nation toward a hope-filled future, his political opponents are locked in a state of resentment, unable to free themselves from bitterness borne of his success. Each new day demands Americans to rise above their failures to start anew. Their leaders should do no less.

The president presented his annual State of the Union speech Tuesday before a House of Representatives that has impeached him and a Senate on the verge of acquitting him. “America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise and America’s future is blazing bright,” Mr. Trump proclaimed. “In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back.”

No words were heard in the packed House chamber pointing to the three-year struggle between the Republican chief executive and Democratic lawmakers who have refused to accept his presidency, but body language told the story in full: The president, either unaware or unwilling, failed to grasp House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s extended hand as he stepped up to the lectern to deliver a copy of his remarks. Once he had concluded his 78-minute address, the speaker angrily tore the pages in half as applause filled the room.

The president’s bright red tie might as well have played the matador’s ruddy cape, provoking the speaker and her fellow female Democrats garbed in white to act out the part of angry angels. Their furious faces, though, could not impeach clear facts the president presented about a nation on the rebound.

Mr. Trump ticked off a list of achievements that any president — Republican or Democrat — could only envy: Seven million jobs created; historic-low unemployment rates for African-Americans — both adults and young people — and similar record-low rates for Hispanics and Asians; 70-year jobless lows for women, who have scooped up 72 percent of newly-created jobs; 7 million fewer Americans on food stamps and 10 million fewer on welfare.

Most breathtaking are the economic benefits that are flowing down to citizens who need it the most, what the president called “a blue-collar boom.” Said Mr. Trump: “Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners has increased by 47 percent — three times faster than the increase for the top 1 percent.” That’s progress that Americans can take to the bank.

The president put human faces on his narrative of achievement. He pointed to one Tony Rankins of Cincinnati, a U.S. Army veteran who has fought back from drug addiction and homelessness to become a successful tradesman with the help of Opportunity Zones, a tax incentive plan that encourages businesses to invest in poor communities. Smartly suited and seated in the House gallery as the president’s guest, Mr. Rankins is what opportunity looks like.

Listing his administration’s efforts to uplift democracy around the world, Mr. Trump pointed out another seated guest — Venezuela’s President Juan Guaido — in describing what freedom looks like. The United States is leading a coalition seeking to remove strongman Nicolas Maduro, who has blocked the ascendancy of Mr. Guaido, elected president by Venezuela’s General Assembly in 2019. It is one policy on which Mr. Trump and his critics agree.

The rightful freedom to live without fear within their own communities has prompted the president to support Americans’ resistance to the sanctuary movement. Mr. Trump recounted the jarring 2018 case resulting from California’s sanctuary law: Despite five prior felonies, an illegal resident hijacked a truck and rammed numerous vehicles, shot up a convenience store, wounded two persons and killed another. “The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens,” said the president. Who, besides angry Never-Trumpers, could argue with that?

Rather than grumble over their failure to expel the president or match to his achievements, Democrats should inscribe the president’s words in their hearts: “Members of Congress, we must never forget that the only victories that matter in Washington are victories that deliver for the American people.”

It’s time to turn the page on impeachment and put America first.

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