Tuesday night, with everyone watching, Donald Trump gets to inform the American people — again! — just how brilliantly he is performing as president.
And two-thirds of the country won’t believe him, the two-thirds with any heart left and even a couple of brain cells. Why should they? They don’t believe anything this president says.
There are many things to remember about the annual State of the Union address. It’s traditional. It’s long. It’s interrupted by frequent bursts of robotic, partisan applause. And here’s the thing to really keep in mind about this time-honored ritual of the American presidency: It’s an open-book test and a self-graded one. Come Tuesday night, expect A-pluses all around.
That’s grading on the Trump curve.
In all his 71 years on planet Earth, Donald Trump has never rewarded himself with anything short of flying A-pluses. There is exactly zero chance of that changing now.
Never mind that Trump has spent the past year insulting our friends, enflaming our enemies and careening us closer to nuclear war. Never mind that he has passed just one piece of major legislation, which directs 85 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent. Never mind that Trump seems to quickly loathe many of the people he has appointed to top administration positions. Never mind that most Americans are decidedly not tired of winning yet.
Why should the bragging stop now?
His aides are promising Teleprompter Trump on Tuesday night, the one who stands behind a podium and says normal-sounding words. That Congress should pass a $1 trillion plan to rebuild America’s crumbling roads, bridges, airports and mass-transit systems. That it’s finally time for comprehensive immigration reform. That the DACA kids shouldn’t be sent to a country they hardly know. That sort of thing. Then, he’ll finish reading the speech. The senators and congress members will go home. And real, unhinged Donald will spring from his golden cage again, choking the scripted sanity in another poison cloud of third-grade insults and predawn tweets.
For good measure, he just might praise Vladimir Putin, fire Robert Mueller or both.
You know what all that means, right?
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the author of a dozen books, including “Trumpitude: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Join him on Twitter @henican.