Trump Is Acting 'Juvenile' and 'Pathetic' by Accusing Democrats of Treason, Ex-U.S. Ambassador Says

President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, on January 30. His assertion that it is treasonous for his opposition to refuse to applaud him has invited comparisons with tyrant-run states like North Korea. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's assertion that it is treasonous for his opposition to refuse to applaud him has invited comparisons with tyrant-run states like North Korea.

The president spoke outside a manufacturing plant outside Cincinnati on Monday, accusing members of the Democratic Party of being "very selfish," "un-American" and emitting "bad energy" because they did not stand during applause breaks as he gave his State of the Union speech last week.

Related: Russia will pay a huge price for backing Iran, says Trump adviser McMaster

"They were like death," he said. "Somebody said 'treasonous.' I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn't seem to love our country very much." The charge, leveled by a president whose campaign is under investigation on suspicion of colluding with the Russia government to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, irked more experienced US. officials.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tweeted:

For Trump to accuse elected officials of treason for not applauding his speech is juvenile, pathetic, unpresidential and un-American. Please, Mr. President, stop. We are not North Korea. We are America.

— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) February 6, 2018

Also incensed by the suggestion she should applaud the president or risk being branded "un-American," was Illinois Senator and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel Tammy Duckworth:

We don't live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath—in the military and in the Senate—to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap

— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) February 6, 2018

The veteran's nickname for the president appears to refer to the medical condition Trump cited as grounds for exemption from service in the Vietnam war in 1968, after receiving four previous deferments on the grounds of attending college. The ailment has since healed up, according to Trump.

Duckworth also quoted another Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who said that blocking criticism of a president is "not only unpatriotic and servile," but also "morally treasonable to the American public."

Thankfully, there are better quotes from better Republican Presidents. Here’s one from Theodore Roosevelt—a Republican who earned the applause he received—that Trump might want to consider

— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) February 6, 2018

Trump's State of the Union speech represented his first year in office as successful, avoiding the handful of controversies that have made him the most unpopular president since records began.

The president only uttered "Russia" once, in a list of countries that are trying to rival U.S. influence in the world. He made no mention of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the dealings of his campaign team and its suspected collusion with Russian officials. The probe has already cost the job of Trump's first pick for national security adviser, Mike Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is now cooperating with investigators.