Government & Politics

Trump 2.0

His speech was one of the finest such speeches we've heard.

Thomas Gallatin · Mar. 1, 2017

Donald Trump has a knack for delivering the goods when all the odds makers are predicting failure. After a shocking election victory that was followed by a contentious first month in office, many expected to see only more of the same from Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress. And then last night happened, leaving Democrats and the mainstream media stunned and questioning if they had just witnessed Ronald Reagan resurrected.

Yes, Trump’s speech was that good and that powerful. No embarrassing gaffes, no petty recriminations against his detractors; Trump simply reiterated his core campaign promises while reaching out with a genuinely unifying message. The whole speech was woven together by its optimistic outlook for the nation’s future. Aside from his very presidential demeanor, the most powerful aspect of Trump’s speech was how he showed his heartfelt concern and love for the American people.

From the beginning, Trump reached across the aisle and disarmed his critics. “We may be a nation divided on policies,” he said, but “we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

Trump’s overall tone was both realist and optimistic. He stated, “Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice — in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. … A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning.”

He also gave voice to genuine pride and love for America saying, “A national pride is sweeping across our Nation. … What we are witnessing today is the renewal of the American spirit.”

Throughout the speech Trump remained future focused, with several references to America’s 250th anniversary nine years from now.

Heavy on both substance and conviction, he once again reminded Congress and the American people of his campaign promises. He listed may of the actions already taken to rouse the economy, drain the swamp and fight against illegal immigration. He also touted his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to become the next constitutionally committed Supreme Court justice.

Trump also espoused a decidedly different tone on law enforcement than did Barack Obama, who was more apt to question police motives and practices rather than condemn deeds of lawlessness. As Trump put it, “We must work with, not against, the men and women of law enforcement. We must support the incredible men and women of law enforcement.”

Trump did not waver from his inauguration speech commitment to lead with an America first policy, but he hit a much better tone in stating it: “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.” On foreign policy he reassured America’s allies of the U.S.‘s commitment to NATO, while at the same time acknowledging their need to meet the fair demands of agreed upon financial commitments.

Fifty-three times Trump received a standing ovation, but the highlight of the night and the most touching and memorable moment was his recognition of Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who was killed in the recent mission in Yemen. Trump said, “Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation. Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity.” This brought a standing ovation that lasted two minutes. This moment more than any other displayed Trump’s big heart. As public as it was, it seemed also to be a window into Trump’s ability to personally connect with people. Despite the Leftmedia caricature, he is a man who sincerely cares for others.

Trump concluded his speech with similar magnanimity to how he began it: “We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same flag. And we all are made by the same God. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless these United States.”

One of the more noticeable and quite frankly best indicators of Trump’s successful address Tuesday night were the shell-shocked expressions on the faces of all the Democrats. Humorously, several Democrat women had chosen to dress in white in a display of protest against Trump’s supposedly anti-woman policy. Yet like snow on a warm day, as soon as the speech ended they quickly evaporated to the exits, assuredly looking quite foolish.

Was this speech a rebirth of Reagan? No. Trump is populist as fully evidenced last night, whereas Reagan was a traditional conservative, and Trump’s was not a call for shrinking the size or cost of government. Yet Trump did capture, like Reagan, the hope and optimism in the American spirit. America now has a president who undoubtedly loves his country and has her best interests at heart. Trump displayed why so many voted for him and are hopeful in his leadership.

Footnote: The Democrat Response

Interestingly, the Democrats choice to give the rebuttal speech was the former Democratic governor of Kentucky Steve Beshear, who’s lieutenant governor ironically was defeated in 2015 by current Republican governor Matt Bevin. Beshear asserted, “I became governor at the start of the global recession, and after eight years, we left things a lot better than we found them.” Seriously, he said that, and then he went on to outline what essentially amounted to a listing of all his Party’s failures over the last eight years. Houston, we have a problem.

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