The most memorable line from President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address was his warning to Democrats that he would not work with them on legislation unless they agreed to drop investigations into his administration.
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” the president said on Tuesday. “It just doesn’t work that way!”
So far, it looks like many Democrats and other political observers are laughing off Trump’s warning as a desperate Hail Mary pass to avoid meeting his political doom.
MSNBC’s Steve Benen, for instance, observes that the president’s decision to attack investigations in his State of the Union shows that “Donald Trump is afraid of what investigations might produce.”
Republican strategist Rick Wilson, meanwhile, writes that Trump’s pleas to not investigate him are a sign of obvious desperation that demonstrate just how much he is worried about what the multiple probes swirling around him and his associates will turn up.
“Trump knows his legal peril grows by the day, and he’s struggling to pry it off him while there might still be time,” Wilson writes. “Robert Mueller wasn’t in the House chamber tonight, but Trump’s odd performance and shambolic affect tells you the president felt the special counsel’s presence.”
Similarly, Trump’s political opponents did not appear to be fazed by the president’s threats to veto their legislation unless they backed off investigating him.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) literally laughed off Trump’s warning during a CNN appearance on Wednesday.
“He’s scared — he’s got something to hide!” Schumer told CNN’s John Berman. “Because if he had nothing to hide, he’d just shrug his shoulders and let these investigations go forward.”
If Trump seriously hoped he could scare off investigators with threats during his big speech on Tuesday, the reaction so far indicates his plan is backfiring.