Not a surprise that Trump would take a victory lap, but I’m not faulting him for it. Whether you like him or not, everything he has done so far is what he promised in his Gettysburg speech during the campaign. If you really were the most hardcore supporter of his when he was running for the office and thought he could do no wrong, I think the only areas where you could possibly be disappointed with his performance now is that he hasn’t deported Rosie O’Donnell or grabbed Mark Cuban by the pussy on television.
What was the purpose of this speech, beyond outlining his Administration’s achievements? I’d say it was important for him to remind everyone that despite the coverage of protests and incessant negative press coverage, he did run on these agenda items and won.
Many progressives have not yet come to terms with the fact that they lost, much less why, but I believe the American mainstream recognizes that he’s the president and they want him to move ahead as he’s proposed. It doesn’t mean they like him or agree with him (and polling says a majority doesn’t), but they are going to give him a try. If there’s one thing I think Trump was going for, it’s picking up some momentum for the brutal legislative and public opinion battles that are coming up real, real soon. He’s going to need it because the American people won’t have much patience.
- I appreciated the condemnation of the Olathe shooting and Jewish cemetery desecrations at the outset of the speech. He was perfectly clear and did it before the widest possible audience, but I still believe he should have done it days ago. My guess is that he thought it was better to wait until he could say it directly to the American people, but I disagree. Bush and Obama, whatever their faults, were good at this and Trump needs to do better.
- He sounded good and by that I mean he stuck to the speech and delivered it fluently. I’ve mentioned before that I can’t stand rambling “Campaign Trump” but he was not in the house tonight. It was delivered just fine.
- He reinforced the need for increased vetting of refugees and immigrants as a part of his counter-terrorism. I’m sure the opposition will continue to claim that he’s calling for a “Muslim ban”, but I think that’s a lot of twaddle from from people who can’t be convinced otherwise. Trump wasn’t speaking to them with this speech anyway.
- It was not bipartisan. Democrats didn’t cheer much nor did he give them any reason to. It’s nice for a president to ask for the other party’s support with soaring words and to invoke the example of presidents from both parties as support for his agenda, but he undermined any potential opportunity by jabbing them with statements he knows they and their base find utterly offensive and disgusting like “radical Islamic terrorism”, “Obamacare is a disaster”, and worst of all, “we are all made by the same God.”
- I didn’t catch any outright falsehoods this time. I’m sure the “fact checkers” are on it, but I usually give him a pass if the inaccuracies aren’t so bad that I recognize them without Googling.
According to how I usually score these, I’d say this particular speech met its objective. It was articulate, reasonably accurate, sufficiently explanatory, and reinforced the same messages he’s been communicating since he was a candidate.
You can read the full speech at this link.