Is reading a prepared speech on TV really the standard we should use to judge a president?
Railing against the galloping political narrative that Donald Trump merely has to not embarrass himself during this State of the Union Address Tuesday in order to count the event as a success, MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle demanded to know why Trump is held to such a ridiculously low standard.
"There's a particular headline that is driving me bonkers," Ruhle complained Monday morning. "It's basically saying, President Trump just needs to be normal in his speech tomorrow night. Does he not have to more than that?"
Indeed, as Ruhle noted, a recent Politico headline reads, "'He has to be normal': Trump's State of the Union aims for unity after a polarizing year."
This comes on the heels of praise for Trump's trip to Davos last week, where he was booed in front of the entire world for his tired attack on the "fake news."
"We talk about how great that Davos speech was. Why was it great?" Ruhle asked. "Because he didn't trip over himself? Any other world leader, if they didn't acknowledge climate change, refugees, artificial intelligence, income inequality, we would've been slamming them, things we slammed George W. Bush for."
That's correct: Trump is being held to an even lower standard than was used for Bush. And that same incredibly low bar is already being set for Trump's address to the nation Tuesday night.
On Sunday, the Washington Post pushed the same idea that if Trump successfully reads a speech off a teleprompter that someone else wrote for him, it could go a long way toward restoring his presidency. "Trumps first State of the Union: Can a divisive president flip the script?" read the Post headline.
Keep in mind, this is a historically unpopular, unintelligent American president whose Republican Party controls all branches of the federal government but can barely keep the government open, let alone pass legislation. It's also a president who recently sprayed the Oval Office with racist rhetoric about "shithole countries" that send black immigrants to the U.S.
And it was just revealed that last year Trump, wanted to fire the special counsel investigated his administration, a move that would have likely catapulted the country into a constitutional crisis.
But hey, if he reads that speech well enough Tuesday, he can reset his presidency.