Revisiting Trump’s State of the Union and the Democrat leaders’ ‘morose’ reactions

(White House/Flickr)






Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to go back to last Tuesday night. It was President Trump’s first ever State of the Union address. One op-ed piece by Liz Peek out of Fox News said that, “He delivered more drama, passion and feel-good patriotism than his critics in Tinseltown delivered all year. He reaffirmed his dedication to border security, to a strong military, to religious freedom, to protecting the Second Amendment and to upholding our veterans and law enforcement, seemingly challenging Democrats to deny reasonableness and popularity on these bedrock commitments.


DR. REEDER: Let’s set a little bit of historical context, here, Tom. This State of the Union speech grows out of something that began with President George Washington and carried on by the second president, John Adams – it was called the “Annual Report of the President.” It was written out, and delivered and read – more or less continued with presidents. The shift came in 1913 under Woodrow Wilson, who came and delivered it personally to the Congress and that’s what has carried on since then through all the presidents.

It’s clearly theater now, but you and I conversed over the fact that we thought he was making a big mistake out of putting together so many people in the balcony that he would tell their story. I still wonder about the number, somewhat. It was interesting how you began to anticipate it because he clearly was using story to introduce policy. He told the story and then declared the policy that would address this story.

Now, it’s very much like a sermon, if you don’t mind me saying so. Preachers make points from the Bible and then try to illustrate it. He reversed it: He made stories and then tried to make a point about his policy. I thought he did a good job on that. As much as this president is declared as ego-driven – and there’s much evidence to that – the fact is, his personal pronouns were, if I’m not mistaken, about 75 percent or more less than President Obama’s personal pronouns and continually said, “This is what the Congress has done,” or, “This is what the people have done.”


Now theater is not only in how it is presented and the narratives and the stories, but it’s theater also by how people respond. This was very clearly theater that revealed something even I think further than the Parliament in England – and, the English Parliament, the parties out of power declared themselves the “Loyal Opposition” – it was very clear that this is not loyal opposition but this is a resistance and they can’t even affirm good things happening in the country lest the president get the credit for it and be declared successful. In other words, they’re going to deny the good things and not affirm the good things, not because they’re not there but because, if we applaud them, that may contribute to it being attributed to the president and we don’t want to be in any way a part of his success. We’re there to resist him.

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Britt Hume, in the post-coverage, said they looked morose. Do you think they hurt themselves, the Democrats?

DR. REEDER: I grew up in an age where the African-American at work was the picture of stability and now the unemployment in the African-American community is even less than it was in the 1950s. And the Hispanic community, both of those demographics in the population of this nation have the lowest unemployment they’ve ever had and I couldn’t understand why the Hispanic and the African-American Caucus in the Congress would not applaud that factor. And then, when you don’t applaud the military, I don’t see how you gain on that at all. That’s a pretty negative picture and negative pictures do not motivate.


I am not saying Donald Trump is Reagan, but there was a Reagan-esque quality to the speech, itself: positive, uplifting.

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Vision casting?

DR. REEDER: Casting a vision. We certainly need to recognize our faults but the best thing that can happen is for America to be strong. From a Christian world and life view, I would have given anything if there could have been a reference beyond the obligatory reference at the end, God Bless America. I wish there had been more of a reference to our need of a spiritual awakening here in the speech, but he did declare his unwavering commitment to the freedom of religion.

Let me just mention a couple of things in closing, Tom. The first one is this, that he set up two things for the future in that speech that are an opportunity to invite cooperation on both sides of the aisle: to establish border security and reform an overhaul of the immigration policy. I’m not going to go back over what we have said on that – I commend our audience to go back and look at our archives on it. Then, secondly, infrastructure improvements, which I do believe is a function of the government to encourage that. It’s something like 80 percent federal money on infrastructure and 20 percent state money. He gave a vision of reversing that – 60 percent state plus private engagement.

I thought those two things were casting vision and problems that need to be addressed and inviting a bipartisan effort. Now, he’s been criticized: this was advertised as a bipartisan speech so could President Trump done more reaching out? I think so, but the other thing I would say is that it was expected that both Democrats and Republicans would be positive at the first part of the speech when the statistics were given in the improvements at the state of the union. Of course, that became the occasion for a political response instead of a national response to those statistics.


Now, let me just say the president may bear some responsibility for that because, in the midst of it, he made some rather pointed remarks about Obamacare and that may have chilled the event, itself. That’s another analysis to take. So, from a Christian world and life view, I think there was much to learn from it – there’s much to see about our nation and the divided nature of our nation right now on the lines of politics and ideology. Is it big government and small freedoms or is it big freedoms and smaller government?

The Democratic party obviously believes this is an illegitimate president and they are not able to affirm the positive, lest it be attributed to him. The widespread response CBS survey where 97 percent of the Republicans approved it and 40 percent plus of the Democrats approved the speech – those Democratic politicians might want to look at that statistic – and then a large number of independents so that it averaged out 75 percent, which is pretty remarkable given his low approval ratings.


I would say, in conclusion, I believe the great unity of this nation is a sweeping revival – I know people say, “Harry, I knew you were going to say that” – but a sweeping revival in which something bigger than even nationalism would take hold, something more glorious, and that is a nation that sees its significance as a glorious field for the progress of the Gospel and all of the benefits that brings and how that unites people in one Lord and one faith and one baptism, not by legislative coercion but by the persuasion of the Holy Spirit with the work of the Gospel. It just showed me how much more the fissures of society, due to the secular world and life view and the Christian world and life view present, that those fissures need to be addressed through the love of Christ, the truth of Christ and that we reach profoundly.

I’m going to paraphrase what one of my friends said: The speech could have been this, “Here are some great things. Isn’t this wonderful? Praise the Lord. Here’s some things that we need to address. Would you help me? And let’s pray for God’s intervention. Thirdly, I have closed down my Twitter account. God Bless America.” That would have been a great speech at the end.

I know that, by the time our program airs that people are going to have been processing this and, hopefully, we’ve been of some help. As a Christian, I want to labor all the more for the work of the Gospel – I want to be a good citizen, and I’m going to pray for my president, and for my Democratic and Republican elected officials, and ask God to do a great work from the bottom up with the Gospel and then give us those who can rise above personal promotion and establish legislation that reflects a world and life view that honors the dignities of humanity, affirmed by the Constitution of our nation.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.


3 hours ago

More than 100 conservatives call for Jordan to run for Speaker

A coalition of more than 100 conservatives sent a letter to House Freedom Caucus (HFC) co-founder Jim Jordan Monday urging him to throw his name in to replace outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

“There must be a real race for Speaker of the House. Now. No backroom deals. A real race, starting this spring, to make every incumbent and candidate commit on the record, as a campaign issue, whether they’ll vote to save the Swamp or drain it,” the letter reads. “America needs you to declare yourself as a candidate for Speaker at once. We write to you on behalf of millions of Americans who want Congress to Drain the Swamp.”

Ryan rattled Capitol Hill in April when he announced he will retire from the House after nearly 20 years in Congress, telling reporters he wanted to spend more time with his family and pursue other opportunities.


Two of the top House Republicans — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana — are angling for the position, but neither thought to have a guaranteed lock on the speakership.

McCarthy failed to garner the 218 required votes to become speaker in 2015, but his particularly close relationship with the president has some expecting that, along with Ryan’s full fledged endorsement, it will give him an upper hand over Scalise in the coming months.

Scalise wouldn’t rule out a potential bid for Ryan’s job but is also adamant he would not run against McCarthy, who he considers a “good friend,” he said in March.

Yet, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who is best friends with Jordan, might have the closest relationship with the president over any other member of Congress. During a speech Thursday in which Jordan appeared to preview a bid for the speakership, Jordan joked that Meadows was in the back, taking a phone call from the president, which Meadows is known to do on a regular basis.

The letter Jordan received Monday from conservatives echoes a great deal of what the congressman has said himself since Ryan announced his retirement. Namely, Jordan is adamant that Republicans need to get back to accomplishing what they promised voters during the 2016 election cycle, like dealing with immigration, border security, repealing and replacing Obamacare and stopping out-of-control spending.

Jordan’s response to questions about the speaker’s race have been the same since the day TheDCNF first reported the growing wave of support for his candidacy: there is no speaker’s race, and we need to focus on the issues.

Conservatives are pushing back against Jordan’s assertion that there isn’t an ongoing race to replace Ryan.

“To those who say there is no Speaker’s race at the moment, we say that it’s already underway – in back rooms, behind closed doors, and aimed at preserving the Swamp and making it bigger. The Speaker’s race must be public.  There will be no Republican Speaker in 2019 unless the GOP can appeal to those Americans in its own ranks, among independents and even many Democrats who voted for Donald Trump to drain the Swamp and for the current Republican-led House to help him do that,” the letter reads.

“The present House Republican leadership has failed. It is part of the problem. You are the solution. This is your moment.  We pray you will seize it, knowing that if you do, we will do everything we can to help you succeed.”

The HFC is no stranger to putting leadership on notice.

Jordan, Meadows and HFC members shot down a farm bill in order to secure a vote on an immigration proposal they were promised months ago.

Ryan and McCarthy huddled with Meadows and Jordan in the back of the House chamber before the final gavel Friday, but their 11th-hour attempts were unable to sway the conservative members.

The bill failed with members voting 198-213, dealing a decisive blow to leadership.

Friday’s vote is evidence the HFC has the leverage to sway major policy issues, given the power of the caucus’ 36 members’ votes. If the caucus votes as a coalition, they can kill a bill or get concessions from leadership.

Many believe Jordan’s bid would be to get concessions from either McCarthy or Scalise, but Ryan still has the rest of the year as speaker. That is, if he isn’t pressured to step down earlier.

McCarthy’s folks are reportedly nervous about the potential heat he will take in a drawn out speaker’s race if Ryan decides to stay through the November midterm elections, which he has promised he intends to do.

(Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

4 hours ago

Hightower runs for Alabama governor on flat tax, term limits

State Sen. Bill Hightower is stressing his background as a businessman as he runs for governor on a sweeping platform of government overhauls that includes term limits for legislators and replacing the state income tax code with a flat tax.

The Mobile Republican says he believes long-serving politicians have become the “enemy of improvement” in Montgomery.

Hightower’s platform includes limiting legislators to three consecutive terms, establishing a flat tax income tax and ending budgetary earmarks. Legislators would have to approve the measures.


Hightower is challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the June 5 Republican primary along with evangelist Scott Dawson and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

A relative newcomer in state politics, Hightower was first elected to the Alabama Senate in a 2013 special election.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 hours ago

Canary responds to YH News

In recent months, there have been ongoing and coordinated efforts to paint the Business Council of Alabama as an ineffective and financially troubled organization. These attacks are maliciously false.

Those attacking our organization for their own political purposes are resorting to extreme lengths to undermine our organization. They continue to sling one baseless attack after another and hope something sticks.

This tactic was seen in Thursday’s Yellowhammer News editorial that looked at the BCA’s 2016 IRS Form 990 and made the determination that the BCA’s financial health “could be in jeopardy.” Once again, this is a claim that is simply not true.


In describing themselves the Yellowhammer News asserts in its Declaration: Our Philosophy. Our Principles. Our Promises…states: “We will abide by the letter and spirit of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, developing content with both integrity and perspective.” Somehow this article fell short of that pledge by distorting the facts and knowingly asserting a premise that is false.

Information on a Form 990 does not show an organization’s ongoing financial health. The BCA finished 2016 with a balanced operating budget and a surplus. The BCA has zero debt and more than one-year’s operating budget in reserves. Hardly the picture of a crumbling organization.

One must ask the question – is this election year politics at its worst? Over the last several years, the BCA has built one of the largest political war chests in the state. Legislative success happens when the right people are elected, and that’s what our political action is all about – electing pro-job candidates who understand the issues and are not afraid to step up and lead Alabama in the right direction.

As a business advocacy organization, we continue to look to the future to create a climate in Alabama for new and existing businesses to locate or expand. Past success is no guarantee, but it does demonstrate how a united business community can accomplish worthwhile goals.

As BCA Chairman Perry Hand has said, “We will not be intimidated into bad decision making.” We know all too well that when you are relevant, you put yourself in the crosshairs, and that’s exactly where we are today.

From a national platform, the BCA is Alabama’s exclusive representative to the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Here in Alabama, the BCA represents the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies that include businesses of all sizes and virtually every segment of Alabama’s business community-from manufacturing to retail, agriculture to financial services and many, more. Our organization is a deliberative body guided by our by-laws and our legislative agenda that is developed by our active members of all sizes.

The BCA’s legislative agenda is adopted by our board of directors annually in advance of every legislative session and focuses on improving major areas that impact every single business in Alabama: Education/Workforce, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Regulations. Fortunately, we have a governor and legislative leaders who are focused on improving Alabama’s standing in all these areas. Just as in year’s past, we will not be deterred by election year smear tactics.

The BCA’s guiding force is as important today as when first envisioned in 1985 when the BCA was created: We work together to create a vibrant economic climate and an educated workforce. These are the keys to creating and sustaining jobs for employees and their families.

William J. Canary is the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.

5 hours ago

Dawson: Statements about Gov Ivey ‘dangerous move’ that could ‘tank the election’

Scott Dawson, a Republican candidate for the governor of Alabama, criticized Gov. Kay Ivey and a state agency last week, for funding that went to an Alabama based LGBTQ non-profit organization. Since then, it seems as if the gubernatorial race in Alabama has been turned upside down.

In his statement Tuesday, Dawson said, “Let me be clear. The Ivey administration has betrayed Alabama values by giving nearly one million dollars of taxpayer dollars to Free2Be, an activist organization which promotes transgenderism and alternate lifestyles to Alabama’s children.”

ADECA, which administers the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was responsible for the allocation of funds to Free2Be.


According to ADECA, Free2Be has received nearly $1.7 million in grants from ADECA since September 2014.

Ivey responded to Dawson’s statements while at a luncheon in Tuscaloosa saying, “That’s nonsense.”

“I certainly don’t agree with the agenda or the values of that organization. The funding is federal funding. It’s been going on since 2014. There are no Alabama tax dollars involved,” Ivey told reporters.

When a reporter questioned Ivey on whether or not she was upset, Ivey responded, “Do I look upset?”

“Lookie here, he’s all over the board,” Ivey said. “He’s not getting any traction. He’s low in the polls. He’s three weeks away from the election. He’s getting desperate.”

Ivey is correct. When personal attacks are being hurled toward a rival, it signals desperation. And desperation this is. I was honestly shocked that Dawson would come forward with such bold accusations towards Ivey.

When a candidate is this close to the election, statements like these, that aren’t backed with sufficient and thorough investigation, should not be made.

During an appearance on Yellowhammer Radio’s “The Wake Up Call with Baylor and Hannah”, Dawson was questioned on his statements regarding the funding that is awarded to Free2Be.

“When we found it, we were like this just doesn’t look right, doesn’t look like it needs to be there,” Dawson said. “That’s when we started investigating the organization.”

Dawson reminded the audience that his intent in bringing up the funds was to warrant transparency for the state of Alabama.

He said, “This is just a statement about transparency. We need to make sure we know where our money is going, that we know why we are taking money, and how in the world these folks get $800,000 from ADECA.”

While I echo the statements Dawson makes here about transparency and ensuring that Alabamians know where their tax dollars are being spent, I must say that only a miniscule amount of research would have shown that ADECA grants are federally funded and in no way utilize tax payer dollars.

In closing the interview, Dawson said, “Quite honestly, you know, it was a dangerous move because it could just tank the election. I am just being forthright with you, but Alabama needs to know what’s going on in Alabama government.”

I think his comments did cost him the election. While I have great respect for Scott Dawson, I believe his coming forward with these statements was foolish. A lack of knowledge and research can really hurt you on the campaign trail and we are witnessing this right now.

It’s difficult for a GOP gubernatorial candidate to unseat a GOP incumbent who has, for the most part, had a good track record.

I understand the motive behind Dawson’s statements. That organization does not represent what most Alabamians see fit for a way of life. I just wish Dawson had gone about things differently and spent more time looking into the matter.

Dawson, along with everyone else running for office in America, should learn that research and getting the facts straight goes a long way. While it may be too late for Dawson, others should learn of the danger of proposing baseless investigations.

Ivey, who has received endorsement from the NRA, has shied from the public eye over the past few months. When you have a good track record as the head of Alabama, you can do these types of things. Since taking office, Gov. Ivey has not had a largely negative conflict.

Ivey’s objective in this election is to ride out her past successes in hopes of another four years as Alabama’s CEO and it might just work, so long as the unsubstantiated claims continue to be tossed her way.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and host of The Weekend Briefing that airs noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 101.1 WDYE

5 hours ago

Any politician not calling for a special session on school security is committing political malpractice

The most predictable thing in America is that we will have another school shooting soon. We don’t know where it will be, but it is coming.

Every delay in addressing these issues is another day closer to more dead kids, and an eventual mass casualty event in Alabama. We can talk about hardening targets via new construction, and limiting access to guns until we are blue in the face, but these things are either expensive or not happening.

Every politician in a heated race in Alabama should be calling for a special session on school safety. State Representative and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth is right on track with a real solution:


“Every school shooting that takes place in another state around the country brings us one step closer to an active shooter attacking classrooms here, in Alabama, so the governor would be wise to call a special session this summer,” Ainsworth said.  “Signs reading ‘Gun Free Zone’ are a magnet for those who wish to do harm, so we must provide teachers with the training, knowledge, and ability to defend their students with something more lethal than a ruler and a No. 2 pencil.”

Of course there is an ad as well:

Why this matters: This is good politics and good policy. The people have decided on this. The media can pretend all they want that people are torn on this, but they are not. Americans, and Alabamians especially, understand that there is nothing stopping shooters from walking into their kids’ school today and shooting it up. The idea that allowing teachers to carry makes a child less safe is laughable, the teacher willing to do harm is not stopped by a gun-free zone. Good teachers with guns, however, are following the law and the law is protecting school shooters.

The details:

— 69 percent of Republicans are in favor of allowing teachers to carry.

— 78 percent of parents would feel more safe, or just as safe, with their child’s teacher being armed.

— The media is lying and saying there have been 22 school shootings in 2018. They include accidental discharge of a firearm in their count.

— As of May 8th, Gov. Kay Ivey had not ruled out a special session, but she has not responded to Ainsworth’s call.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN