Slightly past the 200-day mark into the Trump Presidency and some are still waiting for that “Presidential pivot” that is never coming–EVER. To think otherwise is just silly or wishful thinking. However, after President Trump’s first Congressional speech, many had proclaimed that he had turned the Presidential corner.
Please enjoy a flashback to a real-time analysis of the President’s biggest speech:
On 28 February 2017, President Trump gave his first address to a joint session of Congress. The President’s speech must be viewed as a success especially when measured by his previous performances. Make no mistake, the President remained loyal to a populist message that was largely ambiguous with details, but it did strike a popular tone. Through the use of a teleprompter along with effectively capitalizing on human emotions—President Trump will see a short-term gain in popularity.
However, IF one paid attention to his words— one would discover a lack of details and cleverly disguised wording describing some anti-popular legislation.
Here’s an examination into the first Presidential address to the Congress. The first thing that stands out is his use of the teleprompter. Of all the POTUS’s during my lifetime (Carter-Trump), Trump is the worst at public speaking. This deficiency even extends to his obvious unfamiliar use of the teleprompter. However, when he uses the teleprompter—it somewhat diminishes determining what his true meaning or feelings are. Instead, it just feels like he is reading the words of the writer(s).
The opening of the address was surprisingly splendid. The President cleverly sets to disarm and undermine critics who had labeled charges of racism and xenophobia against him–a highly effective technique that transitions to his normal populist message heavily centered around nationalism. Of course, he sneaks in how he won the election. HaHa. That part is both petty and omnipresent.
Then, the speech introduces a disturbing message that brags about killing regulations, instituting large-scale drilling, and pulling out of the TPP trade agreement. Followed by a populist message that suggests building a police state to include “The Wall” because America is under threat from Mexicans and Muslims.
The next phase of the address is economic-centric but leaves more questions than answers. Trump seems adamant to usher in a new era of “Trickle-down” economics as well as opening the possibility of international trade wars. Tailed by soliciting support in “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare, his plan sounds like the GOP plan which centers around tax credits, saving accounts, access, and more state control.
Overall, the President’s speech would (and did) come across as his best to date. However, this may be largely due to his effective use of an extremely emotional moment.
Unfortunately, the President also heavily relied upon false or exaggerated statistics and claims. Thus, not only are his words confusing so are his true intentions. For instance, his desire for a trillion dollars for massive infrastructure improvements sounds great…but—is that realistic? He doesn’t say where that money is coming from and it goes against his party. Thus, this plan is probably dead on arrival even before the proposal. Additionally, the President’s plan to significantly bump up military and police spending, while not increasing the budget deficit, means that deep cuts are necessary to other programs and agencies. What are these programs and agencies? It matters.
Besides, America already spends more than every other country in the world on the military. Consider the following from a January 2016 article from Politifact, “The United States spent $581 billion on the military in 2014…while the eight next-highest spenders combined spent about $531.9 billion.”
There are similar challenges, problems, or serious questions concerning most of the President’s desired agenda. What will the Trump administration do? That remains a mystery for not only you and me but maybe even to the administration.
Re-cap and reaction:
In the aftermath, many were stating Trump had turned that corner and made “the pivot.” At that time, my thought was, “Ok, because a guy read someone else’s words off a teleprompter without deviating to attack someone that makes him Presidential? Why? The bar has been lowered. Trump is President Low Bar.” But, not everyone agreed with my analysis.
For instance, does anyone remember Van Jones stating, “And for people who had been hoping he would become unifying, hoping that he might find some way to become presidential, they should be happy with that moment.”
Jones would add, “For people who have been hoping that maybe he would remain a divisive cartoon, which he often finds a way to do, they should be a little bit worried tonight. Because that thing you just saw him do, if he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.”
Then, Jones boldly proclaimed, “He (Trump) became president of the United States.”
For those that may wish to view Jones statements on video.
Regardless, almost all (myself included) agreed it was Trump’s finest hour. Surely, he was set to build upon this momentum to carry his administrative goals forward…and a few days later…momentum GONE. As Trump went and Tweeted:
So what did the President do after uncovering what would be one of the biggest political crimes (if it were true–but it was not) in American history? Right, he goes on to criticize the Terminator’s Apprentice ratings.
After the first 200-days, ask yourself, which one is the “real” President Trump? The guy who sticks to a pre-written speech or the mad tweeter who attacks anyone (but Putin) with impunity but minus facts?