These Photos Of Trump's 2019 State Of The Union Vs. Obama's 2011 Event Have Some Differences
Can you believe that another year of President Donald Trump's presidency has gone by? Maybe you didn't think the country would make it to this point, but on Feb. 5, Trump delivered his second State of the Union address and these photos of Trump's 2019 State of the Union versus Obama's 2011 event show how much time has passed.
Leading up to Trump's second State of the Union, it was unclear if there was going to be one at all. His address comes following a month-long partial government shutdown over funding for his border security proposal — which included a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump was looking for over $5 billion in funding, but couldn't snag it with Democratic opposition to funding his wall. Trump's address had originally been scheduled for Jan. 29, but in light of the shutdown, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the president on Jan. 16 urging him to delay amidst security concerns brought by the shutdown.
She even went so far as to say that in lieu of giving a speech, the president could hand his State of the Union to Congress in writing on Jan. 29, which had been a practice of past presidents. Clearly, that didn't happen.
It's a marked difference from the way Obama's second State of the Union shook out, in a time of different crisis. Looking back to Jan. 25, 2011, Obama stepped up to the podium and gave his second State of the Union just weeks after the tragedy in Tuscon, Arizona where Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona was shot along with 18 others outside of a supermarket — and the shooting shaped much of Obama's 2011 address. Both the 2011 State of the Union and the 2019 State of the Union came at crucial and possible shaky moments of Obama and Trump's presidencies, albeit for very different reasons, so it's worth looking back at Obama's second State of the Union compared to Trump's.
2011 was very different-looking room.
First, there are actually some similarities, in the sense of who was in the room and who each president had to deal with. While the cast of characters was totally different in 2019, the dynamic was kind of similar. When Obama gave his first State of the Union in 2010, both the House and Senate had Democratic majorities. But by the time Obama's second State of the Union came around, he was facing a Republican-controlled House with Speaker of the House John Boehner at the helm.
Trump also faced an opposing House.
While Trump too had a fully-Republican Congress for his first State of the Union, his second address was also to a divided legislature. In fact, it resembles Obama's (kind of) because there was a familiar face seated behind the 45th president: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who sat in the same chair during the 2010 event.
This time around, unlike the 2010 State of the Union, Pelosi is of the opposing party and it showed. During Trump's State of the Union, the country's new speaker became an internet meme when she appeared to sarcastically clap for Trump after the president made a comment about about "[embracing] the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good."
RBG was there for Obama,
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Obama had a very good and playful relationship even before he took office. According to The New Yorker, back when Obama was still serving as a Chicago Senator and the Supreme Court held dinners for members of the Senate, Ginsburg always asked that Obama be seated at her table.
The feeling was mutual. When Obama became president he would speak fondly of Ginsburg. During a White House Hanukkah party in 2011, Obama called the Supreme Court justice "one of his favorites," per The New Yorker.
On the flip side, before Trump became president, Ginsburg told The New York Times that she can't "imagine" what would become of the country with Trump at the helm. She said,
I can't imagine what this place would be — I can't imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.
Following Ginsburg's comments, Trump called for her resignation in a July 2016 tweet, stating that "her mind is shot," He wrote,
Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot — resign!
This year, RBG was MIA
Viewers had their eyes peeled on Tuesday trying to spot Ginsburg in the crowd, but, according to CNN, she did not attend Trump's second State of the Union. However, she wasn't alone in skipping the big event. Only four out of the nine justices made it on Feb. 5, according to USA Today. Don't worry about Ginsburg, though. Despite some health concerns earlier in the year, she's been seen actively out and about in the days leading up to the State of the Union.
The Supreme Court justice also missed the president's first address due to a scheduling conflict, according to NBC News. During last year's State of the Union, Ginsburg was speaking at the Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island — an engagement she announced in the summer before the official date of the 2018 address was announced.
The country has lost some leaders since the Obama years.
In 2011, Arizona Sen. John McCain (who ran against Obama in the 2008 presidential election) was there to see his one-time opponent deliver his address. McCain passed away from brain cancer in August 2018.
Trump was reportedly not invited to McCain's funeral, according to The New York Times. Additionally, two White House officials told the Associated Press that the president was asked not to come to the funeral. It was no secret that the two didn't get along, and Trump on more than one occasion openly mocked McCain's military service saying, "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured," in reference to when McCain spent over two years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
The Obama's guests highlighted their causes.
At Obama's 2011 State of the Union his wife, Michelle Obama, was seated next to the president's guests: the parents of Christina Taylor Green, who was killed, at just nine years old, in the Tucson shooting on Jan. 8, 2011. Also invited by the president and first lady was Gifford's intern, 20-year-old Daniel Hernandez, who was with her at the time of the shooting and applied pressure to her wounds until the medical professionals arrived on the scene, according to the Telegraph. Hernandez's quick action was later credited with helping to save the congresswoman's life.
The Trump family also honored some smaller guests.
The first family invited a whole slew of guests to Tuesday's State of the Union, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and beneficiaries of the First Step Act for criminal justice reform like Alice Marie Johnson. One of the guests was 9-year-old cancer survivor Grace Eline, who helped raise money for charity, per the White House. Also on the guest list was sixth-grader Joshua Trump, who is no relation to the president and was invited by First Lady Melania Trump after being bullied in school because of his last name.
A nice gesture turned into yet another Internet storm when the camera caught what appeared to be Joshua dozing off while the president was speaking.
Just like I did with all these pictures, I'd like to think Joshua too was taking a trip down memory lane.
A lot can change in eight years. So, who's already curious about what 2027 holds?