US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 5, 2019.

US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 5, 2019.

The state of our union might be “strong” according to President Trump, but the state of Virginia isn’t.

Three top Virginia officials, all Democrats, are embroiled in scandals.

Last week, a photo surfaced from Gov. Ralph Northam’s college yearbook page featuring two people in blackface and a KKK costume. Then, Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax — next in line for governor if Gov. Northam resigns — was accused of sexual assault. Then, Attorney General Mark Herring — second in line after Lt. Governor Fairfax — announced that he, too, had worn blackface at a college party in 1980. And on Thursday, The Virginian-Pilot revealed that Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-VA, oversaw the 1968 VMI yearbook, which contained a slew of racist photos and slurs, including blackface.

From Associated Press:

The discovery last week of a racist photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page has served as a glaring reminder that Virginia — a former bastion of slavery and white supremacy — continues to struggle with mindsets shaped by its turbulent racial history.

Even as Virginia has grown more socially liberal in recent decades, evidence that its racist tradition is not yet a thing of the past is everywhere. Statues of Confederate leaders remain the defining feature of Richmond’s Monument Avenue and the state legislature still honors Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson every year.

Many are calling for the resignation of these leaders, but there is little indication so far that they plan to leave office. And to the dismay of Democrats, the next governor after Herring would be the current speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Republican Kirk Cox.

How will Virginia resolve its leadership crisis?

On Tuesday evening, President Trump delivered his 2019 State of the Union address — and many remained concerned about the state of our borders, or the measures the administration might take to secure them.

Associated Press reported:

Trump appealed Tuesday night for bipartisanship but refused to yield on the hard-line immigration policies that have infuriated Democrats and forced the recent government shutdown. He renewed his call for a border wall and cast illegal immigration as a threat to Americans’ safety and economic security.

[…] Wary of publicly highlighting those intraparty divisions, Trump made no mention of an emergency declaration in his remarks. He did offer a lengthy defense of his call for a border wall, declaring: “I will build it.” But he delivered no ultimatums about what it would take for him to sign legislation to keep the government open.

Meanwhile, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-NM, ordered National Guard troops at the border to withdraw, calling President Trump’s protection plan a “charade of border fear-mongering.”

And the administration told a federal court it might be too difficult — and could even “present grave welfare concerns” — to reunite migrant children already in sponsor homes with their parents.

President Trump announced he will hold his first rally of 2019 in El Paso, Texas next week. Will Congress reach a border resolution in the last week of approved government spending? Or is another shutdown — or a national emergency — imminent?

Text by Kathryn Fink.

Guests

  • Jessica Taylor Lead digital political reporter, NPR; @jessicataylor
  • James Antle Editor-in-chief, The American Conservative magazine; former politics editor, Washington Examiner; senior advisor, Defense Priorities; @jimantle
  • Marc Fisher Senior editor, Washington Post; @mffisher

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