President Trump’s annual State of the Union address is now in need of an address. There’s a serious parting of ways between the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who insists there will be no address, and no site for the address until the federal government is reopened. Or something. Mr. Trump called this proclamation a “great blotch” on the nation and said the show must on. This one is a cliffhanger.
But wait. Let’s suppose Mr. Trump opts to go down to the southern U.S. border and make his address there. He could go aloft on Air Force One, or return to some swell local arena from his campaign days. Interesting ideas. But under such different circumstances, would the speech still be official?
“It is if the president says it is, to my understanding. If the president says, ‘This is the constitutionally mandated State of the Union message to Congress, even though I am delivering it in Albuquerque,’ it would still be the State of the Union. But it wouldn’t look or feel like States of the Union speeches of the past,” said CNBC’s Eamon Javers, who was asked about the possibilities by his peers at the network — and threw out the New Mexico city just as an example.
“I can’t remember anything like this ever happening before. It shows you just how off the norm we are here in Washington. He could go to the border, he could go to a friendly red state, he could go to suburban Virginia, outside of the Beltway,” Mr. Javers noted.
Or he could go to Raleigh, North Carolina. State Rep. Tim Moore has offered his own historic statehouse as a substitute site, advising the president that taking his message beyond “the nation’s gilded capital to a state government venue reflects the priorities of your administration, and those of our Congress.”
Mr. Trump also could deliver the address right in his own backyard, and on very friendly turf.
Lest we forget, the Trump International Hotel is three blocks from the White House, right there on Pennsylvania Avenue and within site of the Capitol. The grand site — built in 1891 and the second tallest structure in the city — also is known for the splendid ivory and gold Presidential Ballroom, spanning 13,200 square feet and the very largest of such venues in Washington, D.C.
So there’s always that.
A FREE SLICE OF SHUTDOWN
Z-Burger Tenleytown — an eatery in the northwest quadrant of the nation’s capital — is again offering free burger, fries and drink meals to furloughed federal workers feeling the pinch amid the partial government shutdown. There’s a free treat on Friday, when a second pay day could go by without cash.
The restaurant will include cake with the meal — portioned out from a giant “Let’s Make a Deal” cake that measures 6 feet by 4 feet and can feed 1,000. It features an image of President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shaking hands.
Z-Burger owner Peter Tabibian says he designed the cake himself “to encourage our politicians to get together and end this thing.”
AOC, THE POLITICAL BRAND
As far as political brands go, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears to be a fully realized entity only three weeks into the legislative session. The New York Democrat and socialist gets staggering amounts of press coverage, she is a master of social media, and she continues to have buzzworthy moments in the nation’s capital and elsewhere. This may or not be a good thing. There is the inevitable long march to consider, a given fact of life in the nation’s capital.
As a lawmaker, there’s also work to be done for her constituents and many protocols and skills to be mastered. There also has been chatter that establishment Democrats are nervous about the exuberant New Yorker, seen in a surprising caution by ABC’s “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg, who earlier this month warned Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to stop “pooping” on other Democrats and “sit still for a minute and learn the job.”
Well, maybe after the movie debuts.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, which has kind words to say about “Knock Down the House,” a new documentary on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s quest for election, along with the stories of three other women who also ran for office in 2018. It premieres at the influential Sundance Film Festival this weekend, and yes, the new lawmaker is expected to walk the red carpet and now represents “the most shocking political upset in recent American history,” the festival says in its promotion of the film.
Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter correspondent Marisa Guthrie asked Ms. Ocasio-Cortez why she thinks President Trump has not specifically “targeted” her in his tweets or daily commentaries.
“I’m not sure. I think as nuts as this guy is, one thing he does have [is] an expertise in is media and branding and marketing. And I think, I don’t know, maybe he thinks that he’s met his match,” she replied.
For the second week in a row, Fox News Channel is the most watched network across the entire cable TV spectrum — and continues to trump its news rivals, according to Nielsen Media Research. Fox News remains No. 1, drawing 2.3 million prime-time viewers, compared to 2 million for MSNBC and 1.4 million for the Hallmark Channel, in second and third place, respectively. CNN, which is in seventh place, garnered 1.1 million. Fox News’ “America’s News HQ” drew the most viewers of all on Saturday with 3.8 million viewers; remarks by President Trump were the big draw.
In addition, Fox Nation, the network’s on demand service, will debut “Hannity On Air,” featuring a live-stream monologue by prime-time kingpin Sean Hannity. The new programming begins Jan. 30.
“I am passionate about my monologues and can’t wait to give the people more,” says Mr. Hannity.
Fox Business Network also continues to rule the ratings, besting rival CNBC for the second consecutive week and also airing the top four business news programs on television, according to Nielsen.
POLL DU JOUR
•47 percent of U.S. voters have an unfavorable opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 33 percent have a favorable opinion, 12 percent “have heard of her but have no opinion,” 8 percent “have never heard” of her.
•39 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 22 percent have a favorable opinion, 21 percent have no opinion, 17 percent have never heard of him.
•35 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, 23 percent have a favorable opinion, 23 percent have no opinion; 19 percent have never heard of him.
•17 percent have an unfavorable opinion of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, 13 percent have a favorable opinion, 29 percent have no opinion, 41 percent have never heard of him.
Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,996 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 18-22.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
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