As Donald Trump reeled off his debut State of the Union address, it felt like the tumult and anger and chaos of the last few years never happened. For after tearing at America´s divides to win and wield power, the President used his big televised moment on Tuesday night to pose as the great uniter. Summoning all the pageantry of his office, in a scripted speech which mixed oratory with praise for inspirational American heroes in the first lady´s gallery, Trump made a coherent, though controversial case for his presidency, declaring there had never been a better time to live the American dream. But as the last standing ovation subsided, questions remained: How many hours, or days, will Trump´s optimistic vision and open hand for bipartisan compromise last, given his more usual erratic and confrontational behavior?
And will Trump win any political benefit from an empathetic appearance given controversies that he can´t control, including the corrosive daily toll of the Russia investigation that is now reaching deep into his White House?