1 March 2017
The President of the United States stunned commentators with a magnificent speech.
Maverick US President Donald Trump made his first address to Congress on Tuesday night, wowing analysts with the flawless presentation of his patriotic political vision and the more moderate tone he struck as he reached out across the aisle for support.
A bold vision
Trump laid out his plans for the country in front of a joint meeting of Congress, before House Representatives, Senators, military personnel, and Justices of the Supreme Court. He touched on a range of topics including foreign policy, immigration, and trade.
He also touched on issues that were not central to his Presidential campaign. He dubbed education “the civil rights issue of our time”, demanding school choice for “millions of African-American and Latino children” as he pitched for greater diversity in the sector.
He also commented on healthcare reform – currently a major headache for the administration. He vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare, smoothly transition the millions of Americans signed up to the current healthcare exchanges, and provide state governors with Medicaid resources to care for their people. He also re-iterated his desire to allow Americans to buy insurance across state lines.
Speaking on his plans to boost military spending, he spoke about the American armed forces: “they have to fight and they only have to win”. He also vowed to increase spending on veterans while boasting that spending on NATO is set to rise across the world after a series of frank conversations with global partners, reminding his audience that western forces had defeated fascism and communism and would go on to destroy Islamic State.
A new tone
Many were surprised by the more consensual tone Trump struck in the course of the speech and even mainstream media heavyweights like Anderson Cooper admitted that “this was probably without a doubt one of his best speeches that I’ve ever heard”. There were no sideways attacks on the media and there was much talk about bringing the major parties together to achieve common aims.
He did retain some classic stylistic traits, including the decision to put the spotlight on real people like Jamiel Shaw – the father of a high achieving African American teen who was slayed in the street by a dangerous illegal immigrant. He also highlighted the loss of a military widow, provoking a massive and emotional show of support from across the House as he hailed the service and sacrifice of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.
And the message won out as a whopping 78% of Americans approved of the speech according to a huge poll by CNN, with 57% having a very positive reaction to the speech and 72% of voters thinking Trump’s economic message put the country in the right direction. So much for the huge anti-Trump movement the media continues to promote.
A bitter opposition
Trump and congressional Republicans emerged as true leaders during the event as sour-faced Democratic lawmakers sat in silence through the speech, only rising to applaud in rare moments. They even refused to rise when Trump announced a major nationwide investment in new infrastructure – a policy that would traditionally be welcomed by those on the political left.
The Democratic opposition didn’t present much of a formal response either, with former Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear botching a simple statement and accidentally saying: “I’m a proud Democrat, but first and foremost I’m a proud Republican – and Democrat – and mostly American”. Even hard-left MSNBC pundits like Rachel Maddow slammed the response, dubbing it “stunty and small”, while Republican commentators slammed the Democrats for failing to present fresh faces.
With the opposition in complete disarray, Trump should push through with his radical policy agenda and consolidate his wide base of support across the country in coming elections. With tough leadership and an optimistic vision for the country, America surely has a bright future ahead.