The Wednesday Read: The President’s Joint Address to Congress

I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart. A new chapter of American greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp. What we are witnessing today is the renewal of the American spirit. Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead. – President Donald J. Trump (02/28/17)

I was somewhat hoping that we would see and hear a speech from vintage Donald Trump last night with him hurling insults at everyone during a slash and burn speech.

Color me surprised. It was far from that. It was even Presidential.

Trump acted Presidential last night for about an hour and throughout his 5,006-word speech. (Source) Some are saying this was the best speech of Donald Trump’s life.

I don’t know about that, but I would give it a 7/10.

Glenn Thrush of the NY Times tweeted, “For any other president this would be a boring, laundry list speech. For Trump – amazing, responsible, detailed, uniting, presidential!”

Trump actually stayed on message like a robot reciting a message from a higher command (Steve Bannon?) and that was good for him, but not as entertaining as it could have been.

Even when there were some giggles and thumbs-down from the audience, Trump held it together. I so much wanted Trump to use the line from the movie “Captain Phillips” where the Somalia pirate says, “Look at me. Look at me. I’m the captain now.”

Throughout the speech, just as it’s done with other Presidents, one political party clapped and stood in unity, while the other side basically sat on their hands. On Twitter people were pointing out when someone did not stand or applaud when they thought something was important.

There were few details given by Trump on his grand plans for the USA, but that is common for this type of speech.

Trump did signal a change in his immigration stance by talking about a “merit-based immigration system.” CNN reported this would allow undocumented immigrants who aren’t serious or violent criminals to live, work, and pay taxes in the US without fear of deportation.

He mentioned taking care of veterans. Basically, Trump used just about the same line that has been used by Presidents for decades. The answer to the VA problem is not throwing more money at it. If Trump wants to change the VA, he should start draining the swamp there.

I’m always a little concerned when politicians use people as props during their speech. I wonder how it’s framed to the people who are used. I did like it back in the day when President Ronald Reagan acknowledged military personnel in his speeches. So when Trump told the audience that Carryn Owens, the widow of U.S. Navy special operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, was in attendance that was special.

Trump said that General Mattis told him “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 enemy.” After an extremely long (and well-deserved) round of applause for Carryn Owens, Trump almost ruined it when he said, “And Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he’s very happy, because I think he just broke a record.”

So now the work continues for Trump and his team. The Republicans control the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and the White House, so the ball is really in their court for at least the next two years. Good luck with that…

I am asking all citizens to embrace this renewal of the American spirit. I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big and bold and daring things for our country. I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment. Believe in yourselves. Believe in your future. And believe, once more, in America. – President Donald J. Trump (02/28/17)

Note: You can read/watch the whole speech HERE.