President Donald Trump drew harsh criticism during a speech he gave at a factory near Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, in which he casually accused Democrats of "treason" for not expressing enthusiasm for his agenda during the State of the Union address last week.
Trump’s son Don Jr was accused of actual treason by Steve Bannon in “Fire & Fury,” so @realDonaldTrump is trying to muddy the waters by calling Dems Un-American and treasonous for not applauding some line at the SOTU. That’s a dictator move.— John Aravosis (@aravosis) February 5, 2018
The president told his audience that during his speech before a joint session of Congress, he noticed many Democrats were not clapping "even on positive news." He called the lack of applause "un-American," before taking a cue from someone in the audience who apparently called out, "treason."
Trump says Democrats who didn't clap for him at the State of the Union are "un-American" and "treasonous." pic.twitter.com/lKUx0m3KKK— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 5, 2018
Critics pointed out that his remarks carried racial implications as well as disturbing overtones of authoritarianism. The members of the Congressional Black Caucus notably did not applaud when Trump heralded his often-repeated point that "African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded."
Trump just said Dem lawmakers (presumably the Black Caucus) who didn't clap at SOTU when he talked lower black unemployment rates "were like death," un-American" and "treasonous" for not applauding him.— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) February 5, 2018
Trump's comment about unemployment among black Americans is technically correct, but the number has been declining steadily since 2010, when President Barack Obama was still in his first term—leading many to take issue with the fact that Trump has repeatedly taken credit for low unemployment numbers.
During Obama's presidency, Republican lawmakers routinely refrained from applauding as he discussed expanding health insurance coverage via the Affordable Care Act and enacting other policies to which Republicans were opposed.
On Twitter, critics slammed the president for suggesting that a lack of enthusiasm for his agenda is "treasonous"—especially as Trump himself is being investigated for his ties to Russia amid concerns over its interference with the 2016 election.
Here we go again. Writes @jonathanchait, “It is the logic and rhetoric of authoritarianism in its purest form. But if Trump does it in the middle of a Don Rickles–style riff, does that make it better? Worse? Just weirder?” Last two out of three, I’d say. https://t.co/DCZdUcT4fx— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) February 5, 2018
When dissent is treason, we’re no longer in a representative democracy. The fact that this @POTUS is a clown doesn’t change that. It should actually increase the alarm.— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) February 5, 2018
A scary statement, even by Trump standards. https://t.co/20Cuj83tkW— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) February 5, 2018
Trump at #SOTU on Jan. 30: “Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people”— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) February 5, 2018
Trump today: Democrats who didn’t clap for him are “treasonous”
As Trump publicly calls Democrats "treasonous," it's important to remember is an inveterate protectionist who always accuses other people of doing whatever he's doing.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 5, 2018