WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday accused Democrats who did not clap during his State of the Union address of being un-American and even treasonous. His remarks came in a rambling, discursive speech at a factory in Ohio, during which he celebrated his revival of the American economy as the stock market plummeted by more a thousand points.
"Can we call that treason?" Trump said of the stone-faced reaction of Democrats to his speech. "Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much."
Trump was speaking during a visit to a company near Cincinnati that makes pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders. The company, Sheffer Corp., awarded each of its 126 employees a one-time bonus of $1,000 after the passage of the tax cut, and the White House clearly hoped to use it to drive home the economic message in last week’s State of the Union speech.
"Your paychecks are going way up," a beaming president said to the friendly audience. "Your taxes are going way down."
But as Trump spoke, TV networks broadcast a jarring split screen. While he boasted of companies bringing billions of dollars back to America, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was shedding billions more. At one point, the rout become so drastic that CNN and MSNBC switched from the speech to report exclusively on the market gyrations.
Unlike most of his predecessors, who have generally avoided talking about the ups and downs of the stock market, Trump has repeatedly taken credit for the rise in stock prices.
As Trump patted himself on the back for the tax cut, he went after the Democrats for opposing the $1.5 trillion legislation. He delivered a lengthy digression on the State of the Union address, noting that Democrats sat on their hands as he ticked off one measure of success for the country after another.
Trump was clearly also honing his message for the political campaigns to come before the midterm elections in November. He acknowledged that the president’s party normally suffers setbacks. But he insisted that Republicans could ride the strong economy to victory.