It was a great speech for President Trump who hit a unifing tone
President Donald Trump came to Capitol Hill last night with a new tone and showed that he is looking for a common national purpose. It was Trumps first address to Congress, shifting his tone from the dark, to a light and optimistic speech that was aimed at bringing Democrats to his side while calming those in America who didn’t vote for him.
This was the best speech Trump has given and it was a statesmanlike cadence, hitting notes of inspiration. For once, this most unorthodox of politicians struck a conventional presidential posture as he sought to stabilize his administration after a few gaffes that took him off message in his first month in office.
It was a well written and well-crafted speech, that was loftier and unifying than normal. Trump gave a preview of his views on issues ranging from trade, defense, immigration and counterterrorism. The result was a populist, nationalistic prescription that he said would yield “a new chapter of American greatness.”
During one of the most unique campaign’s political history and despite at times a bumpy start his term, Trump has done little to reach beyond his base of deeply committed voters who revile the kind of political elites that the President was staring down as he spoke on Tuesday.
But, Trump made a very strong effort to court voters who didn’t support him with an offer to lay down the battles of the past. In fact, his address ticked almost all the boxes of a traditional State of the Union style appearance.
President Trump pushed the reset button staying on message.
“I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart,” Trump said at the outset, declaring that “the torch of truth, liberty and justice … is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world.”
“The time for trivial fights is behind us,” Trump declared at the end of his speech — a somewhat ironic statement given his proclivity for picking Twitter fights and zeroing in on petty things like disputes over the size of his inauguration crowd.
But throughout the more than an hour long address, Trump heeded that call, as he himself implored the country to “embrace this renewal of the American spirit.”
“From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears — inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the past — and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts,” the president ended by saying.
Trump redoubled on Republicans’ longtime campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, even as the GOP has had difficulty coalescing around one replacement.
“Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better health care,” the president said.
Trump said he still wants to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions are covered and also said he supports letting people purchase plans “through the use of tax credits and expanded health savings accounts” and “to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines.”
Some other policy matters discussed included more than $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending “financed through both public and private capital” could belie fiscal discipline the GOP has preached for years, though it is an area where he could find bipartisan support from Democrats.
He also called for more military spending, as he had outlined in his budget proposal this week, and reiterated his call to “make child care accessible and affordable” and “to help ensure new parents have paid family leave.”
The most powerful moment of the night came when, Trump looked to silence any criticism by putting the spotlight solely on the deeply emotional widow. Owens received a sustained standing ovation from across the chamber, her eyes looking toward the sky and arms stretched upward as tears rolled across her grief-stricken face.
Trump praised her late husband as someone who “died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero” and said that Defense Secretary James Mattis had assured him that “Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.
“Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity,” the president said.
It was that action that had even some of Trump’s fiercest critics praising him after the speech, showing why it could be one of the most enduring moments from the critical address.
This was an address that Trump keeps this tone because he will find more bi-partisan help to advance his political agenda. It was a good night for Trump on all levels.
Some quotes came from ABC News and ASSOCIATED PRESS. Video from Golden State Times.