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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 247)

Assured of Impeachment Acquittal, Trump Makes Case for Second Term in State of the Union

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168403086_918c010d-991d-4138-8391-3da16a0fa979-facebookJumbo Assured of Impeachment Acquittal, Trump Makes Case for Second Term in State of the Union Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State of the Union Message (US) Iowa impeachment elections

WASHINGTON — The defendant finally showed up to have his say. President Trump never uttered the word impeachment, but in a 78-minute speech to the nation that combined a celebration of the American economy, hard-edge policy pronouncements and reality show-style surprises for the audience, he made the case for his presidency as only he could.

It was not a case that persuaded Democrats, who remained seated stonily during the applause lines, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes, but it was not meant to. Assured of acquittal in the Senate trial on Wednesday, Mr. Trump moved past preserving his first term and focused on securing a second with an argument aimed at both his political base and dubious suburban voters.

It had a surreal quality, a president on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors addressing lawmakers in the same House chamber where he was impeached just seven weeks ago. While Mr. Trump resisted the impulse to show up at the Senate trial to reject the charges against him over the last couple of weeks, he used his State of the Union address to present a different sort of defense without the burden of cross-examination, in effect arguing that the “great American comeback” he claimed credit for outweighed the allegations against him.

If Democrats were unmoved, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi ostentatiously ripped up her copy of his speech once it was done, making sure the cameras would catch the moment, Republicans embraced the president many of them once scorned. They welcomed him with hearty applause and even chanted, “Four more years! Four more years!” as if it were a campaign rally rather than an affair of state.

On its surface, the speech presented an optimistic assessment of the country and its progress, perhaps reflecting his sense of his own. “America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise, and America’s future is blazing bright,” Mr. Trump said.

But he also laid out a darker view of an America still plagued by “criminal aliens,” terrorized by Islamic radicals and threatened by budding socialists eager to take over the health care system.

Throughout his time in the chamber, the president seemed sullen, even gloomy, barely cracking a smile and making no attempts at humor. He refused to shake Ms. Pelosi’s hand when he handed her his speech and she refused to say it was a “distinct honor” to present him when she announced him, both abandoning custom.

All around Mr. Trump were reminders of his ordeal over the last several months. One of the members of the escort committee that brought him in, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, is part of the team of House Democrats prosecuting him. The president encountered Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the Senate trial and seemed intent on maintaining a studious neutral expression during their brief exchange.

While he made no mention of impeachment, Mr. Trump did single out Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader who has single-handedly ensured he would survive the trial without witnesses testifying against him. “Thank you, Mitch,” Mr. Trump said at one point, referring to the senator’s help confirming judges, but it would not be surprising if he were grateful for other reasons.

The president’s grim mood belied what was otherwise a good day for him. Aside from his coming acquittal and the chance to address the largest television audience of the year uninterrupted, Mr. Trump earlier in the day reveled in the Democratic dysfunction in the Iowa caucus and avidly sought to exploit it to promote suspicion among his rivals.

He and his sons and allies pumped out Twitter messages suggesting the botched Iowa count was an effort to rig the election for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and against Senator Bernie Sanders, the candidate the president would rather face in the fall.

“It’s a fiasco that just plays right into us,” the president told television network anchors during an off-the-record lunch earlier in the day, according to people in the room.

“What other people would look at as a moment of completely political meltdown for this president, it all appears to accrue to his benefit,” said Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union. “He actually looks like the adult in the room.”

Democrats acknowledged that the Iowa breakdown played to Mr. Trump’s advantage, at least in the short term.

“A fractious, divisive, and chaotic process inevitably takes focus away from Trump’s own failures, at least in the short term, and Trump obviously believes he has the opportunity to stir the pot against the Democrats in these circumstances,” said Geoff Garin, a prominent Democratic pollster. “All of this heightens the importance for Democrats to have a confident and united front as soon as possible.”

The Iowa debacle played out even as Gallup reported that Mr. Trump’s approval rating had climbed to 49 percent, its highest in that survey since his presidency began. While not a strong number historically, it is higher than either Barack Obama or Bill Clinton had going into their State of the Union speeches in the years they ultimately won re-election, though not as high as George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan had in theirs.

Not that he can necessarily count on any of this to last. The economy, while healthy, has slowed its growth and could take a hit from the China travel restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus outbreak. At some point, the Democrats will anoint a nominee who could unify the party against Mr. Trump. And John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, plans to publish a book next month that is expected to offer revelations about the president’s use of his office to further his own political interests.

Mr. Trump has shown a remarkable capacity for crossing lines and creating political problems for himself just when things appear to be better for him. Indeed, he placed the phone call to Ukraine’s president that got him impeached the day after testimony by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III made clear that he was out of political jeopardy as a result of the Russia investigation.

But for one night, at least, the president had the stage to himself and he made the most of it. With a mix of schmaltz and showmanship, he pulled one surprise after another on the audience.

At one point, he introduced Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host who just announced that he has advanced lung cancer, and seemed to stun the broadcaster by announcing that he would bestow on him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Rather than wait, the president then had Melania Trump pull the medal out and drape it around Mr. Limbaugh’s neck right there in the first lady’s box, surely the first time that has happened at a State of the Union address.

In another uplifting moment, he gave a scholarship to a fourth-grade girl also sitting in the box. At the same time, he introduced a variety of figures with tragic stories, the parents of a woman killed by the Islamic State, the widow and son of a soldier killed in Iraq, the brother of a man shot by an undocumented immigrant.

But he saved the most tear-jerking moment for the end, when he thanked the wife of an Army soldier deployed to Afghanistan — then announced that her husband in fact had returned to the country, as the soldier suddenly appeared in the box to her great surprise.

The president’s address took place just across the Capitol and hours after senators took to the floor to announce their vote in his trial — Republicans steadfastly pledging to acquit, Democrats resolutely vowing to convict, the two-thirds required by the Constitution for removal clearly nowhere in sight.

Chief Justice Roberts, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Jeffries and the rest will return to the Senate chamber at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to tally those votes, inevitable as they now seem, and to wrap up the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

Mr. Trump presumably will not show up in person. But he told the anchors in their lunch that he wanted to make a speech after the vote, another kind of speech, not so much a state of the union but a valedictory after months of battle — in his view, a comeback of a different sort.

Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni contributed reporting from Washington, and Michael M. Grynbaum from New York.

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Ivanka Trump: ‘For us not to come together as a nation and celebrate America’s success is not forgivable’

Westlake Legal Group image Ivanka Trump: 'For us not to come together as a nation and celebrate America's success is not forgivable' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc f7805297-d03c-59d5-8ba0-823162a84521 article

Adviser to the president and First daughter Ivanka Trump joined “Hannity” following her father’s State of the Union speech where she reacted to the Democrats’ reactions to the president.

“For us not to come together as a nation and celebrate America’s success is not forgivable,” Trump told host Sean Hannity. “And I think that’s why the viewers who were watching today and realizing and celebrating alongside the president, alongside the rest of this country, what is happening. Because we have completely changed the trajectory of this country.”

TRUMP SNUBS PELOSI AT STATE OF THE UNION, DOESN’T SHAKE HER HAND

“And the president is unabashed in being excited about it and celebrating it and just being a cheerleader for American excellence,” Trump added.

Before the speech, President Trump overlooked a handshake from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and during the speech’s conclusion Pelosi made it a point to rip apart a copy of the president’s speech in what became a purely partisan affair.

The First daughter told Hannity that the president’s primary goal was to “uplift” all Americans.

“What motivates this president and what motivates all of us who work for him is the desire to uplift all Americans, which is why it was so important to start at the beginning of the speech talking about how all Americans are benefiting from these policies,” Trump said, adding. “Especially blue-collar Americans and those who have been left behind.”

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Trump continued to tout her father’s accomplishments.

“The fact that of all the new jobs created last year, 73 percent of them went to Americans that were marginalized, that were on the sidelines of the economy, not even those that were unemployed, completely on the sidelines,” Trump said. “The fact that 10 million Americans have been lifted out of welfare. It is amazing. And he wants that for all Americans.”

Westlake Legal Group image Ivanka Trump: 'For us not to come together as a nation and celebrate America's success is not forgivable' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc f7805297-d03c-59d5-8ba0-823162a84521 article   Westlake Legal Group image Ivanka Trump: 'For us not to come together as a nation and celebrate America's success is not forgivable' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc f7805297-d03c-59d5-8ba0-823162a84521 article

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Six Takeaways from Trump’s 2020 State of the Union Speech

Westlake Legal Group 04dc-takeaway--facebookJumbo Six Takeaways from Trump's 2020 State of the Union Speech United States Politics and Government Presidential Election of 2020

Roughly two weeks after his impeachment trial began, President Trump claimed the Capitol Hill spotlight on his own terms Tuesday night, delivering his third State of the Union address in front of a Congress set to acquit him on Wednesday.

A partisan atmosphere loomed over the House floor from the very start of Mr. Trump’s speech, when Republican lawmakers chanted “four more years” after the president stepped up to the rostrum. The hostility carried through to the end, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of the address after he finished delivering it.

But Mr. Trump, who spoke at the same spot where Ms. Pelosi announced the articles of impeachment, made no mention of the news of the day. Instead, he proclaimed that the economy was setting records, that American enemies were on the defense, and that the American spirit had been renewed.

“In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny,” he said. “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago and we are never going back.”

Here are six key takeaways from Mr. Trump’s speech.

Mr. Trump dove into the state of the economy at the top of the speech, making broad declarations about tax cuts, deregulation and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the new version of which he signed into law last week.

He correctly pointed out that the unemployment rate was the lowest in half a century. But he incorrectly claimed that he had enacted “record-setting tax cuts,” that the economy was “the best it has ever been” and that stock markets have “soared 70 percent,” exaggerating the real percentage. He also took undue credit when he claimed that the United States had become the top producer of oil and natural gas in the world, thanks to a “bold regulatory reduction campaign.”

Mr. Trump’s boasts came at a time of surging economic optimism. Forty percent of Americans say they are now better off financially than they were at the same time last year, according to a survey conducted last month for The New York Times.

Yet the public attitude belies harsher truths: Economic improvement has slowed in blue-collar, “middle-wage” sectors. By most conventional measures, including wage growth for typical workers and the growth rate of the economy, the economy is far from the best ever, as Mr. Trump argued on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump addressed two pieces of potential health care legislation that remain a top priority for both parties in the coming months: surprise billing and prescription drugs.

He said that he had spoken with Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to urge him to pass legislation that lowers the price of prescription drugs.

“Get a bill on my desk, and I will sign it into law immediately,” Mr. Trump declared, as Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, looked in the direction of Democrats in the room.

Mr. Trump also mentioned an executive order he signed in June requiring “price transparency,” an attempt to curb the phenomenon of surprise billing at hospitals, when patients unexpectedly receive care from doctors outside of their insurance networks.

Rush Limbaugh, the pro-Trump conservative radio host who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, sat next to Melania Trump, the first lady, who bestowed a surprise award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mrs. Trump hung the medal around Mr. Limbaugh’s neck as Republicans gave him a standing ovation. Overwhelmed, Mr. Limbaugh clasped his hands and closed his eyes.

Sitting nearby was a collection of guests representative of some of Mr. Trump’s pet issues: a border patrol agent and the brother of a man killed by an undocumented immigrant.

He used their presence to rail against drug-smuggling at the United States-Mexico border and against “sanctuary cities,” calling for the enactment of legislation that would allow them to be sued by victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Trump also invited Carl and Marsha Mueller, the parents of Kayla Mueller, who was imprisoned and murdered by the Islamic State. Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots, was cheered by the room.

And then there was a made-for-TV moment — accompanied by chants of “U.S.A.” — when Mr. Trump reunited the wife and son and daughter of Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams, who is on his fourth deployment to the Middle East, with a surprise appearance by the sergeant in the first lady’s box.

On the floor, there were themed groups that offered a kind of visual confrontation to the president. The House Democratic managers in the impeachment trial, who concluded their arguments on Monday, sat together behind members of the House leadership. That bloc included Representatives Adam B. Schiff of California and Jerrold Nadler of New York.

Lawmakers who didn’t attend also drew notice, including a collection of House Democrats. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of those lawmakers, said she would use Instagram’s live video platform to chat with her New York constituents about Mr. Trump’s speech.

After signing an initial trade deal with China last month, Mr. Trump pointed on Tuesday to the tariffs he has imposed on the country in order to take on its “massive theft of America’s jobs.” He said that “our strategy has worked.” Economists, though, say the tariffs have weighed on the manufacturing sector he set out to help and have led to higher prices for consumers.

Mr. Trump’s attention on foreign policy later swung to the Middle East, when he highlighted two terrorists his administration killed in recent months: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, and Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the powerful Iranian commander.

More conflict, Mr. Trump asserted, would not extend to the war in Afghanistan, which he said he was eager to wind down by bringing American troops there home.

“I am not looking to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of them innocent,” he said.

Appealing to his “America First” credo, he added that it is “not our function to serve other nations as a law enforcement agency.”

Attacks on socialism have become regular talking points for Republicans ahead of the 2020 election, particularly in reference to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is near the top of the polls in the Democratic primary. Mr. Trump seized on the theme in his speech.

He claimed that 132 lawmakers “in this room” have endorsed a “socialist takeover” of health care, likely referring to bills that would create a “Medicare for all” system.

“To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American health care,” he said.

Mr. Trump also went after socialist politics abroad with help from a notable guest: Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s opposition leader, who received a standing ovation as Mr. Trump criticized the country’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro. “Socialism destroys nations,” Mr. Trump said. “But always remember, freedom unifies the soul.”

Mr. Trump never directly addressed impeachment, the story that still felt inescapable in the House chamber Tuesday, with Ms. Pelosi, its instigator, sitting directly behind him. But the tension between the speaker and her president was palpable throughout the night. As the president entered the room, he refused to shake the speaker’s hand after she extended hers. By the end, her copy of his speech was in pieces.

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One of America’s most prominent racists just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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One of America’s most prominent racists just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Democrats, Sanders rip Trump on economic boasts in State of the Union responses

Westlake Legal Group image Democrats, Sanders rip Trump on economic boasts in State of the Union responses fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox news fnc/politics fnc e0ed3e1f-0bab-5240-a29d-253226a5eb8d article Andrew O'Reilly

Democrats on Tuesday night offered a harsh rebuke to President Trump’s State of the Union address, slamming the president on issues ranging from the economy and health care to gun control and climate change.

Amid the backdrop of the approaching general election in November – and Trump’s recent impeachment in the House – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer drew a sharp contrast between Trump’s vision for the United States and the Democrats in her party’s official response to the president’s address.

“It doesn’t matter what the president says about the stock market,” Whitmer said during her speech from East Lansing High School. “What matters is that millions of people struggle to get by or don’t have enough money at the end of the month after paying for transportation, student loans, or prescription drugs.”

TRUMP GOES ON OFFENSIVE AGAINST SOCIALISM

Democrats’ selection of Whitmer underscored their determination to improve their performance in the Midwest in November’s elections. Trump won over enough working-class white voters there to also score slender victories in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and to win Ohio handily.

Whitmer added: “American workers are hurting.  In my own state. Our neighbors in Wisconsin. And Ohio. And Pennsylvania. All over the country. Wages have stagnated, while CEO pay has skyrocketed.”

Democrats won House control in 2018 by lambasting unsuccessful efforts by Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law. Democrats say they will concentrate on health care in this year’s campaign as well, including opposing an administration-backed federal lawsuit aimed at declaring former President Barack Obama’s statute unconstitutional.

“It’s pretty simple. Democrats are trying to make your health care better. Republicans in Washington are trying to take it away,” Whitmer said.

Trump captured Michigan in 2016 by fewer than 11,000 votes by appealing to lower-earning workers, winning a state that hadn’t voted for the GOP presidential candidate since 1988.

TRUMP SNUBS PELOSI AT STATE OF THE UNION, DOESN’T SHAKE HER HAND

Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, echoed Whitmer’s criticism about the president’s economic policies, which he touted during his address.

“President Trump’s economic policies have created inequality that is creating two Americas: one where the wealthiest 1 percent benefit and one that leaves too many farmers, businesses, and working families behind,” Escobar said in her speech from El Paso, Texas.

She added: “And at the same time, instead of investing in our children’s future and in opportunity, the President has exploded the debt by more than $3 trillion – all to give billion-dollar tax cuts to the wealthiest few.”

Escobar also focused on the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies, and referenced the mass shooting last summer in her hometown of El Paso, where the shooter specifically targeted Latinos.

“Just before [the shooter] began his killing spree, he posted his views online and used hateful language like the very words used by President Trump to describe immigrants and Latinos,” Escobar said.

Escobar also touched on Trump’s impeachment, saying that he’d jeopardized the next election and threatened national security with his efforts to pressure Ukraine, an ally fighting Russian-backed insurgents, to produce damaging information on political rival Joe Biden.

“We Democrats will continue to fight for truth and for what is right. No one is above the law,” Escobar said.

Along with the official Democratic responses, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont gave his own response to Trump’s address from New Hampshire.

Speaking just a day after the Iowa Caucus – and with results still trickling in – the 2020 presidential candidate lambasted Trump’s policies in what he said he hoped was the president’s “very last State of the Union address.”

Sanders spend most of his speech criticizing Trump’s boosts about the economy and arguing that the White House’s current policies only benefit wealthy Americans.

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President Trump has told the American people that the economy today is booming today like it has never boomed before,” Sanders said. “For Trump and his billionaire friends, he is right. The economy is really booming for them.”

Sanders added: “We are now experiencing more income and wealth inequality now than any time in the last 100 years… This what Trump really means when he talks about a booming economy.”

Sanders also ripped Trump for failing to mention mention climate change or gun violence in his State of the Union speech.

“In the year 2020, how can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change,” Sanders said. “The leading scientists in the world tell us that climate change is the leading existential threat facing humanity.”

Westlake Legal Group image Democrats, Sanders rip Trump on economic boasts in State of the Union responses fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox news fnc/politics fnc e0ed3e1f-0bab-5240-a29d-253226a5eb8d article Andrew O'Reilly   Westlake Legal Group image Democrats, Sanders rip Trump on economic boasts in State of the Union responses fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox news fnc/politics fnc e0ed3e1f-0bab-5240-a29d-253226a5eb8d article Andrew O'Reilly

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Hannity responds to Pelosi’s ripping of Trump’s address: ‘One of the most classless things ever done’

Westlake Legal Group image Hannity responds to Pelosi's ripping of Trump's address: 'One of the most classless things ever done' Yael Halon fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 025dd8db-eed0-512b-bbcc-aebfaf2ee0ae

Sean Hannity praised President Trump’s third State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday night — which drew groans from Democrats in attendance and prompted a furious House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to rip up her copy of Trump’s speech as soon as it concluded in a remarkable scene.

PELOSI TWEETS OUT TRUMP’S APPARENT HANDSHAKE SNUB

“I have seen a lot of State of the Unions over the years. Tonight, perhaps, by far the best I’ve ever seen,” Hannity moments after the president’s address concluded.

TRUMP TAKES ON ‘RADICAL LEFT’ IN DRAMATIC STATE OF THE UNION

“You saw the president tonight,” Hannity continued. “He is pushing prosperity, freedom, security and moments ago he delivered the most compelling, uplifting speech of his life, highlighting the groundbreaking success. Jobs in America booming. Income soaring. Poverty in America lowering.”

“We are highly respected all over the world,” the primetime host went on. “Tonight was about American greatness. It includes brave men and women who make this country the single greatest place God ever gave man.”

Hannity also responded to the somber expressions and audible murmurs from Democrats in the chamber at various points of  the president’s speech, comparing their reaction to a “Saturday Night Live skit.”

“They are clearly living tonight in a very different alternative reality. Another America that I don’t recognize,” he said.

GALLUP POLL SHOWS TRUMP, GOP APPROVAL HIT RECORD HIGHS AMID IMPEACHMENT

Taking aim at Pelosi for ripping up Trump’s speech upon the conclusion of his address, Hannity called the remarkable scene “one of the most classless things ever done in the history of the State of the Union.”

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“Despite the unyielding rage from the Democrats,” he concluded, “he [Trump] delivered a powerful optimistic, patriotic speech with real statistics and success behind it. Conservatism works. It’s working now, and it’s working for the American people.”

Westlake Legal Group image Hannity responds to Pelosi's ripping of Trump's address: 'One of the most classless things ever done' Yael Halon fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 025dd8db-eed0-512b-bbcc-aebfaf2ee0ae   Westlake Legal Group image Hannity responds to Pelosi's ripping of Trump's address: 'One of the most classless things ever done' Yael Halon fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 025dd8db-eed0-512b-bbcc-aebfaf2ee0ae

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Oscar predictions

After navigating the red carpets, acceptance speeches and plant-based menus of the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and other events, this year’s awards season comes to a glamorous close with the 92nd Academy Awards (ABC, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET/5 ET).

It’s been a speedier-than-usual road to the Oscars, though a bunch of also-rans (sorry, “The Irishman” and “Little Women”) have been left mostly in the dust. So far, there’s been little drama in the main acting categories, but the best picture race has been interesting, with “1917” scoring important Golden Globe and guild wins, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” appealing to the Tinseltown contingent, and SAG-honored “Parasite” looking to make history as the first foreign film to earn the Oscars’ biggest prize. 

It’s almost time for a new crop of winners to be added to the Academy Awards’ storied history, and here are our predictions for all the major categories:

All things Oscar:Find all of our Academy Awards coverage in one spot

The list:Who’s nominated for an Oscar?

The drama:Which one of these five movies will win best picture?

Westlake Legal Group  Oscar predictions

BEST PICTURE

“Ford v Ferrari”

“The Irishman”

“Jojo Rabbit”

“Joker”

“Little Women”

“Marriage Story”

“1917”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Parasite”

Will win: “1917”

Should win: “Jojo Rabbit”

Sam Mendes’ World War I thriller is the most impressive technical achievement in this category (and arguably of all last year): Edited as one seriously harrowing take, “1917” puts its main characters – and audience – through nearly two brutal hours of trench claustrophobia and battlefield paranoia, with the clock ticking toward tragedy. It’s definitely deserving of Hollywood’s highest honor, though so is Taika Waititi’s World War II satire “Jojo.” The tale of a Nazi youth who learns that love triumphs hate is funny, subversive and winningly original. It’s a fable that feels very resonant right now.

Westlake Legal Group  Oscar predictions

ACTOR

Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”

Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”

Jonathan Pryce “The Two Popes”

Will win: Phoenix

Should win: Driver

Phoenix’s visceral, unnerving transformation into the cackling comic-book supervillain – Heath Ledger won his posthumous Oscar for playing the same guy – seems destined to give the actor his first Oscar in a career full of thought-provoking performances. It’s a long time coming for him, honestly. The talented Driver will be back in this category in the future, for sure, and while his portrayal of a divorcing dad isn’t as showy as a clown-faced nihilist, it is a dynamic journey (with some singing!) from the pain and pettiness of separation to warmth and hope for the future.

Westlake Legal Group  Oscar predictions

ACTRESS

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”

Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”

Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”

Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

Renée Zellweger, “Judy”

Will win/should win: Zellweger

Maybe it’s the fact that she took a step back from acting for a while and came back strong as iconic force of nature Judy Garland, but Zellweger proved in the biopic “Judy” that she’s as vital an artist as ever. There are times in the film, depending on the scene or the angle, when Zellweger becomes Garland to an uncanny degree, belts a knockout rendition of “Over the Rainbow” and most importantly makes us feel how a Hollywood legend has to work her way out of a pit of despair. In a race full of powerful women, Zellweger stands out, and her yellow brick road ends with gold.

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SUPPORTING ACTOR

Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” 

Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”

Al Pacino, “The Irishman”

Joe Pesci, “The Irishman” 

Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Will win/should win: Pitt

Even competing against four legends, this is Pitt’s Oscar. It’s a career honor, for sure, after years of balancing being both an A-list movie star and one of the greatest character actors of his generation (though the former sometimes overshadows the latter). The steely stuntman Cliff Booth he portrays in Quentin Tarantino’s 1969-set historical fantasy is an exquisite showcase for everything he does well, playing a dude who’s oh-so-cool and kind of a hoot to be around but with a possibly darker side hiding just under his sunny, tanned exterior.

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SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”

Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”

Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”

Florence Pugh, “Little Women”

Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

Will win: Dern

Should win: Johansson

Unfortunately, we can’t pick the real winner of this category because “Hustlers” star Jennifer Lopez got snubbed. Her missing out means an apparently easy path to victory for Dern, who wowed the Netflix crowd as a bulldog-tough divorce attorney, a performance that’s a joy to behold. Two nominations for Johansson this year was indicative of a fantastic year onscreen, and her “Jojo” performance was the beating heart of Waititi’s comedy: Johansson’s loving German mom was an empathetic role model for her young son, and she sold every single bit of understanding and tolerance needed to make “Jojo” sing.

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DIRECTOR

Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”

Sam Mendes, “1917”

Todd Phillips, “Joker”

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”

Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Will win: Mendes

Should win: Bong

The last six winners at the Directors Guild of America Awards took this Oscar, and that streak likely continues with Mendes, who crafted a splendid war film that was much more than the usual battlefield status quo. Tarantino also wouldn’t be a bad pick, but Bong’s multilayered storytelling begs to be honored here. The South Korean director’s complex dark comedy will easily win international film, so he’s not going home empty-handed, though the directing honor would be a fitting nod to his excellent work on a film that handled class and income inequality so entertainingly.

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Sen. Marco Rubio: Trump SOTU address reminds us of what matters to America

Westlake Legal Group image Sen. Marco Rubio: Trump SOTU address reminds us of what matters to America Marco Rubio fox-news/us/congress fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 0fe589fd-684b-5f00-bc46-8d3b7067d1bd

President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night was a much-needed and refreshing reminder that life does indeed exist outside the Washington bubble.

The president spoke to the real hopes and anxieties felt by Americans who live outside of the Beltway bubble. He spoke to the hundreds of millions of Americans who do not spend each day refreshing their Twitter accounts to find out the latest “hot take.”

These are Americans who are too busy with life to pass their time hooked to the ebb and flow of partisan politics. They are tired of talking heads treating our national politics as a game – a glitzy contact sport in pursuit of clickable articles and viral videos, but divorced from the actual issues our country is facing.

TRUMP TAKES ON ‘RADICAL LEFT’ IN DEFIANT AND DRAMATIC STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS; PELOSI RIPS UP SPEECH

As Americans watch the deterioration of our national unity and rapid politicization of seemingly every aspect of their lives – from sports to Hollywood to pop music – they understandably tune it out.

Instead, Americans are worried about how expensive it is to raise a family, to go to the doctor and to pay for college. They are worried about threats from China, from Iran, from terrorists, from despotic regimes in our own hemisphere, and now from the Wuhan coronavirus.

Americans are worried about – and impacted every day – by the decades-long collapse of stable, dignified work that has allowed generations to give back to their children, charities and places of worship.

This is what people are talking about in the real world. And they’re right to be concerned.

For all of our nation’s history, the American Dream has been sustained by the promise not only of individual newcomers “making it,” but by the ability of working Americans

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to raise families and build strong communities together.

Today the ability of regular people to make sure their kids can enjoy the same opportunities they had growing up seems precarious.

Outside the partisan political bubble, this is what American families from across the country and all walks of life are talking about. They are topics that seem utterly foreign to the current, 24-7 media obsession with impeachment and, before that, invalidating the results of the 2016 election that put Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Americans want solutions to their problems, but they want us to focus on solving them without our nation embracing socialism – a set of ideas that have eroded individual freedoms and evaporated the national prosperity of each country where they have been tried.

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The Democratic Party is currently experiencing a radical and dangerous turn to the left. Its politicians and their media abettors are waging a war on our nation’s institutions, running an inquisition against any people or ideas they deem insufficiently “woke.”

Many Democratic politicians now openly espouse the same socialist policies that led millions of Americans’ ancestors to flee their home countries in the first place. And now they have elevated their obsession with impeachment above the priorities of the American people.

These are the same people who, during the Obama administration, told Americans that they had to accept a nation in decline. These are the same people who continue to say that families, communities, and faith need to take a backseat to bureaucrats, technocrats and the omnipotence of Washington.

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Thankfully, President Trump rejected that false premise four years ago and has since taken important steps to revive America’s economic engine.

In his State of the Union Address, the president painted an equally stark choice for America’s future by speaking to the actual, real-life concerns about family, work and communities. It is time we focus on what matters to the American people, not to Washington pundits.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY SEN. MARCO RUBIO

Westlake Legal Group image Sen. Marco Rubio: Trump SOTU address reminds us of what matters to America Marco Rubio fox-news/us/congress fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 0fe589fd-684b-5f00-bc46-8d3b7067d1bd   Westlake Legal Group image Sen. Marco Rubio: Trump SOTU address reminds us of what matters to America Marco Rubio fox-news/us/congress fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/state-of-the-union fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 0fe589fd-684b-5f00-bc46-8d3b7067d1bd

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Live Updates: Trump Adds Reality Show Flourishes to State of the Union Address

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Trump and Pelosi: Snubs, Then a Torn-Up Speech

President Trump declined to shake the hand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi before his State of the Union Address. The speaker then omitted the customary laudatory words from her introduction of him. After his address, she ripped up her copy of his speech.

Members of Congress, the president of the United States.

Westlake Legal Group 04dc-video-pelosi-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Live Updates: Trump Adds Reality Show Flourishes to State of the Union Address State of the Union Message (US)

President Trump declined to shake the hand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi before his State of the Union Address. The speaker then omitted the customary laudatory words from her introduction of him. After his address, she ripped up her copy of his speech.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

With the November election just nine months away, President Trump used his speech to frame the choice as he sees it, claiming credit for what he called a “Great American Comeback” and revival of American spirit while defining the coming campaign against the Democrats as a battle to stop the rise of socialism in the United States.

Mr. Trump, who decried what he called “American carnage” when he was inaugurated in January 2017, described a different country on Tuesday night, saying the nation is one again making progress at home.

“In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny. We have totally rejected the downsizing,” he said. “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago and we are never going back.”

The cited his tax cuts, deregulation, renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a partial trade agreement with China, while arguing against Democratic plans to expand access to health care.

“To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American health care,” he said.

As Mr. Trump was calling for measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs, Democrats jumped to their feet, held up three fingers and chanted, “H.R. 3! H.R. 3!” They were referring to a bill the House passed last year to lower the cost of prescription drugs, which has languished in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Picking up another favorite theme, Mr. Trump reaffirmed his campaign to restrict the flow of new people into the country, assailing California, New York and other jurisdictions he calls “sanctuary cities” that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. He called for the enactment of legislation that would allow them to be sued by victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

“The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens,” he said, introducing a senior Border Patrol official and the brother of a man killed at a gas station.

[Read more about the guests at Trump’s 2020 State of the Union.]

It was a night of awkward encounters and pointed snubs. As he arrived at the rostrum, Mr. Trump turned to hand copies of his speech to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence but when Ms. Pelosi offered her hand to shake, he turned away without taking it. She shrugged.

Moments later, Ms. Pelosi announced Mr. Trump to the assembled lawmakers with the simple words, “Members of Congress, the president of the United States” — eschewing the more florid language that speakers, including her, have used in the past: “Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States.”

The snubbing continued right until Mr. Trump finished speaking, when Ms. Pelosi stood, an expression of vague disgust on her face, and tore up her copy of the speech — in full view of the television cameras, while Mr. Trump had his back turned.

Mr. Trump also came across another central figure in his impeachment drama on his way to the rostrum as he saw Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the Senate impeachment trial. The president paused to speak to the chief justice, to which the chief justice appeared to say “thank you” even as he kept a studiously neutral face.

And among the official escorts assigned to bring Mr. Trump into the chamber was Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, one of the seven House Democrats prosecuting the president in the Senate trial.

Republicans, by contrast, greeted Mr. Trump enthusiastically, chanting, “Four more years! Four more years!” as he took the rostrum, as if it were a campaign rally.

Mr. Trump returned their warmth, at one point acknowledging Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader who has ensured his acquittal in the impeachment trial. “Thank you, Mitch,” the president said.

Ever the showman, Mr. Trump returned to his roots as a reality television star, peppering in flourishes and surprises meant to delight the viewing audience. Some of the moves seemed cribbed straight from daytime television: bringing home a soldier from Afghanistan and reuniting him with his family, awarding a nine-year-old girl with a scholarship, and awarding the conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom — complete with a ceremony in the First Lady’s box.

Mr. Trump appeared to relish his role as the ringmaster in House Democrats’ own turf, and the antics seemingly thrilled Republicans in the chamber, who cheered Mr. Limbaugh — who was recently diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer — with cries of “Rush! Rush! Rush!”

But some Democrats walked away in disgust.

“It’s like watching professional wrestling,” Representative Tim Ryan of Massachusetts wrote on Twitter. “It’s all fake.
— Catie Edmondson

Mr. Trump’s appearance in the same House chamber where he was impeached nearly seven weeks ago marked a surreal moment in Washington as he addresses many of the same lawmakers still trying to remove him from office. Despite the fireworks, Mr. Trump all but ignored the battle over the future of his presidency, at least out loud. He told network anchors earlier in the day that he plans to save his thoughts on the matter for a separate speech he wants to give after the final vote on Wednesday, when the Senate is poised to acquit him.

The unusual confluence of the president’s annual speech with an impeachment trial was not a first. President Bill Clinton likewise delivered his State of the Union address in 1999 in the midst of a Senate impeachment trial that later acquitted him. Mr. Clinton made no mention of the trial either.

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Juan Guaidó, the leader of Venezuelan’s opposition movement, at the State of the Union on Tuesday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

For weeks, the Trump administration has fought speculation that it was no longer backing Juan Guaidó, the leader of Venezuelan’s opposition movement, frustrated that he has yet to push President Nicolas Maduro from power. On Tuesday, the White House gave Mr. Guaidó its most visible show of support yet: a seat in Mr. Trump’s guest box for the State of the Union address.

“Please take this message back that all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom,” Mr. Trump said, turning to face Mr. Guaidó as Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats joined Republicans in a standing ovation. “Socialism destroys nations. But always remember, freedom unifies the soul.”

Mr. Guaidó left Venezuela last month, defying a travel ban imposed by Mr. Maduro’s disputed government, to round up international support. More than a year ago, as president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Mr. Guaidó declared that because Mr. Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was under dispute, he could not claim power. Instead, under the Venezuelan constitution, Mr. Guaidó, declared himself the country’s interim leader.

More than 50 countries, including the United States, recognize Mr. Guaidó as the rightful president of Venezuela. The Trump administration has imposed dozens of economic sanctions against Mr. Maduro and his government to help Mr. Guaidó push him from office.

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Trump Awards Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom

During his State of the Union Speech, President Trump awarded the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. [applause] I will now ask the first lady of the United States to present you with the honor — please. Member of audience: “Thank you, Rush!”

Westlake Legal Group 04dc-impeachbriefing-limbaugh2-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Updates: Trump Adds Reality Show Flourishes to State of the Union Address State of the Union Message (US)

During his State of the Union Speech, President Trump awarded the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Another surprise guest in the first lady’s box, seated next to Melania Trump, was Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host who announced on Monday that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

Mr. Limbaugh has been a strong supporter of Mr. Trump, even appearing with him at a campaign rally during last year’s midterm election, and the president offered a tribute to him in his speech.

“Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country,” Mr. Trump said. “And Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Mr. Limbaugh looked surprised and emotional, his mouth hanging open as he passed his hands across his face. In an unusual break from tradition, Melania Trump then stood and fastened the medal around his neck. Mr. Limbaugh mouthed “thank you” while he flashed a thumbs up toward the floor. Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats, who have been some of Mr. Limbaugh’s regular targets and fiercest critics, did not stand.

Also in the box were Carl and Marsha Mueller, who held up a picture of their daughter, Kayla, a humanitarian aid worker kidnapped, tortured and killed by the Islamic State. Sitting nearby were Kelli and Gage Hake, the wife and 13-year-old son of Staff Sgt. Chris Hake, a soldier killed in 2008 by a roadside bomb in Iraq blamed on Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian general killed by a drone strike ordered by Mr. Trump.

Present as well were Charles McGee, one of the last surviving of the Tuskegee airmen, along with his great-grandson, Iain Lanphier, who wants to join the Space Force that Mr. Trump has just created.

Even before heading in his motorcade to the Capitol for the big speech, Mr. Trump was enjoying the day, reveling in the dysfunction of the Iowa Democratic caucuses and relishing new polling that showed his public approval at the highest point of his presidency.

The long-delayed counting of the opening round of the Democratic presidential nomination race gave Mr. Trump ammunition for his efforts to sow dissension among Democrats by claiming, without proof, that the party establishment was trying to rig the race against Senator Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist he would like to face in the fall.

“It’s a fiasco that just plays right into us,” Mr. Trump told the network anchors, according to people in the room.

Mr. Trump said he did not know who would win the Democratic nomination but said that Mr. Sanders is “nastier and smarter” than the other candidates and expressed amazement that former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., was doing so well. Mr. Pence, a former governor of Indiana, then interjected that South Bend was a troubled city.

The president noted that he was looking forward to another Democrat-on-Democrat showdown, predicting that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term liberal firebrand from New York, would take on Senator Chuck Schumer, the party leader in the Senate, in a primary in 2022. “She will kick his ass,” Mr. Trump predicted.

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan delivered the Democratic response after President Trump’s State of the Union address.CreditCredit…Al Goldis/Associated Press

When Mr. Trump finished speaking, Democrats offered their rebuttal, featuring a midwestern governor from a state where the fall presidential contest will likely be waged most intensely and a Latina congresswoman who has taken him to task on immigration.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who won her office in 2018 with a convincing 10-point victory over Mr. Trump’s favored candidate in a state that he had won in 2016, represents what party leaders consider the archetype for a successful candidate in the Trump era, a “fix the damn roads” pragmatist, to use her own words, who can work with Republicans on bread-and-butter issues.

She took on Mr. Trump’s rosy view of the economy, saying: “It doesn’t matter what the president says about the stock market. What matters is that millions of people struggle to get by or don’t have enough money at the end of the month after paying for transportation, student loans or prescription drugs.”

To deliver the party’s Spanish-language response, Democratic leaders tapped Representative Veronica Escobar of Texas, who declined to join Mr. Trump when he visited El Paso last August after a mass shooting by a gunman warning of a “Hispanic invasion.”

In her own remarks, Ms. Escobar said the shooter parroted some of the rhetoric used by the president. “Just before he began his killing spree, he posted his views online and used hateful language like the very words used by President Trump to describe immigrants and Latinos,” she said.

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