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Donald Trump's Oval Office address was a missed opportunity

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09.01.2019

For his inaugural prime-time television address to the nation two years after taking office and during one of the longest government shutdowns in recent memory, President Donald Trump theoretically had two basic options.

He could have used the bully pulpit accorded to US presidents to present himself as the true leader of the country, one who will earnestly try to bridge the gaping divide that threatens to tear the nation apart.

He could have said that while he still holds true to his conviction that a wall is the best solution to remedy what he continues to view as a problematic and dangerous situation along the southern border, for the good of the country he is willing to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to reach a compromise that ends the partial government shutdown while at the same time protecting the US border.

Trump administration downgrades EU mission to US

Michael Knigge is DW's correspondent in Washington

The high road

Trump could have said something like: "My fellow Americans: Regardless of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, regardless of whether you support or oppose me, tonight is the night to start afresh and work together in the interest of our country — which all of us, Republicans and Democrats, love — and end the shutdown."

He could, in other words, have wiped the slate clean and offered an outstretched hand to the newly elected Congress to find a compromise on the border security issue after backing himself into a corner.

And guess what, his base of supporters might still have backed him, because they trust him pretty much regardless of what he does or says. Sure, the usual right-wing pundits would accuse him of caving. And sure, Democrats, and many Republicans, rightfully would not believe him and would demand proof that he was serious. But by taking the high........

© Deutsche Welle