Finley: Trump should give SOTU in Michigan

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News
President Donald Trump

If President Donald Trump isn’t welcome in the U.S. House chambers to give his annual State of the Union address, Lee Chatfield says he can come to Lansing and speak to America from the Michigan Capitol. 

The state House speaker issued the formal invite after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested her chamber would not host Trump if the partial government shutdown isn’t over by the scheduled Jan. 29 SOTU delivery date. 

North Carolina has extended a similar offer to the president. 

Chatfield, like Trump a Republican, is not playing partisan games. His invitation is serious and properly motivated. He’s not looking to embarrass Pelosi or give Trump a stage for a pep rally. 

“We are committed to working together in Michigan for the good of the state,” Chatfield said on my radio show. “That would be good for the rest of the nation to see.”

The early cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in Michigan has been a pleasant New Year’s surprise. “We need Gretchen Whitmer to succeed for Michigan to succeed,” Chatfield said of the Democratic governor. 

Chatfield's bid to make Michigan the alternative SOTU site got a boost Sunday from The Dallas Morning News, which said in an editorial, "Imagine what would happen if he took the speech to, say, Lansing, Michigan. There would be a robust conversation about American manufacturing and a focus on Americans working to get by.”

Moving to the heartland from the Beltway might also provide a cooling off space away from the bitter battling there.

Should the SOTU go on where and when as scheduled, particularly during a government shutdown, it’s bound to affirm the political divide and dysfunction at the federal level. 

Moving it to a place where people and politicians are at least trying to find common ground would serve as an important example of what’s possible.

Of course, much would depend on Trump grasping the significance of what’s happening here and delivering an address that calls on unity and consensus.

If he opts for an angry stemwinder that plays to his base, he may as well stay in D.C.

Chatfield wants to invite all 535 congress members and the other dignitaries who would normally attend the State of the Union. I say leave them at home.  

Instead, invite governors and legislative leaders from throughout the country who are worried about what will happen to their states if the federal government continues its disintegration.

Pelosi is right. Inviting Trump to the House Chamber in the current environment would be inappropriate. The boycotts, hostility and protests of Trump’s first two years would increase tenfold. 

So bring it to Michigan.  And perhaps start a new tradition that would remind the swells in D.C. that there’s a big country out there dealing with real problems and is fed up with their shenanigans.

Catch “The Nolan Finley Show” weekdays 7-9 a.m. on 910 AM Superstation.