State of the Union: Trump under pressure?

US President Donald Trump has held his second speech on the State of the Union - before a Congress no longer dominated by the Republicans. Prompted no doubt by the fact that the Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives in November, Trump's speech writers incorporated signals of compromise. But commentators are unconvinced.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

Feigned willingness to compromise

Trump's desire to cooperate with the Democrats is feigned, US correspondent Federico Rampini writes in La Repubblica:

“This president does nothing but curry favour with the voters who gave him an unexpected victory - with three million fewer votes than his rival and a series of small but decisive majorities in a few key states of the old industrial America. Trump didn't even try to win votes among the rival camp, or seek consensus in a bid to secure backing. Typically, he insisted stubbornly on the wall along the Mexican border. ... In so doing he's forgetting that such a wall already exists, that it was started by Bill Clinton and extended to 1,000 km by George W. Bush with the blessing of the Democrats. It was Trump's decision not to try to come to terms with the Democrats.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Speech of a powerless leader

The speech illustrates Trump's powerlessness, Jutarnji list concludes:

“The analysts all concur: it doesn't matter what Trump says in Congress because his advisers will have forced him to say it. What he really thinks and will do we read in his tweets after the speech in Congress. This year's speech on the State of the Union is a classic example of a president who doesn't understand politics, who couldn't show even a hint of willingness to compromise to his own advantage. The information that most Republican organisations are currently preparing for the primaries is at the end of the day further proof of his weakness. Because they too realise that Trump was a very, very serious mistake.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

US must go back to its roots

In a commentary piece for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung German Green politician Jürgen Trittin discusses the crisis in transatlantic relations:

“The outcome will not just depend on Europe giving an independent, joint response. It will mainly be decided in the US. If white, rural, right-wing America prevails, these conflicts will escalate. On the other hand, if women, minorities and democratic America find a majority, the existing transatlantic conflicts will not disappear - but they will become solvable again. It would be a return to the roots of democracy found in the US and French constitutions - and belatedly in the German constitution. It's an American dream.”