Why Trump’s State of the Union Address Was Good — and Bad — for His Administration

In case you missed it — and it’s worth replaying on Youtube if you did — President Trump delivered one of the best, boldest and strongest State of the Union speeches in modern history three days ago.

Without stooping to partisan rancor, berating Congress or criticizing media villainy, Trump gave a clear, concise reiteration of his presidential agenda and reminded his audience why he was elected and how faithful he intends to be to the letter of his promises.

Sparing no controversial or unvarnished truths — particularly on the economy and trade policy — Trump stated that “the time for small thinking is over” and that the nation must “dream big” to overcome its problems; political harmony must take the place of partisan squabbles and factional gridlock.

Trump vigorously reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening the nation’s military (including ending the defense budget sequester ordered in 2011), financing new infrastructure investment to the tune of $1 trillion, and fighting crime — particularly in the nation’s inner cities such as Chicago. He restated his intention to tighten the country’s immigration laws and support law enforcement.

Throughout his speech, Trump highlighted a number of guests in the Congressional visitors’ gallery, including widows Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, whose police officer husbands were slain in 2014 by an illegal immigrant who had been deported from the U.S. twice previously. Also in the visitors’ gallery was Jamiel Shaw, Sr., whose son was killed by an immigrant offender in California.

Trump also introduced and applauded during two standing ovations for Carryn Owens, the widow of Senior Chief Petty Officer William Owens, who gave his life recently in a Navy SEAL raid in Yemen that netted important intelligence.

This was a marked pause during Trump’s speech that drew much acclaim for its poignancy, sincerity and dignity; the tears and expression on Ms. Owens’ face showed how much the moment meant to her and how important the mention of her husband’s sacrifice was.

Additionally, Trump stressed the need for new investment in school choice for underprivileged children, slashing red tape in agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and committing to the twin principles of “Buy American” and “Hire American” in private enterprise.

Overall, it was a speech that requested vital unity among members of Congress and their constituents and annunciated broad administration themes at the expense of minutia (an overarching trend of this White House).

Reception to the president’s speech was nearly unanimous in its praise; even Democrats conceded that it was one of the best speeches they had heard given by the nation’s leader to members of Congress. For Trump, this couldn’t come at a better time, as recently, the battles over his executive orders and policies — particularly regarding immigration, oil pipelines and abortion — have drawn bitter and heated condemnations from the Left.

The globalist Atlantic magazine called it “a change in tone” and a “loftier, more conciliatory approach”; the liberal Washington Post called it “the best ‘big’ speech [Trump] has given as president” and said that “people rooting for Trump’s imminent demise” should resign themselves to the fact that “he’s not going anywhere.”

New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush said that for Trump, the speech was “amazing, responsible, detailed, uniting [and] presidential.” Time’s Michael Scherer said, “This speech is the best sign yet that Donald Trump can learn how to use the power of his office.”

However, the goodwill generated from this address will likely not last; Congress is known to be an especially cynical group of politicians, and there was a clear division in the audience between those who stood to applaud Trump’s remarks (Republicans) and those who remained seated (Democrats).

At the same time, attempts by the administration to extend an olive branch in the wake of this annual spectacle may interfere with its ongoing efforts to effect some of the workings of its policies. In his eagerness to capitalize on the relative peace brought about by this rapprochement, Trump must be careful not to compromise too much in important areas such as business deregulation, tax code reform and the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

But in the meantime, Trump can bask in the relatively warm glow reflected by media reactions to his speech, such as the statement of NBC’s Katy Tur, who tweeted, “What the president did w[ith] Owen’s widow was Capital P Presidential. It was the single most extraordinary moment I’ve seen from Trump — by far.”

Chris Wallace of Fox News declared that the address was “by far the best speech I’ve ever heard Donald Trump give” and “I feel like tonight Donald Trump became the president of the United States… So many Democrats didn’t recognize him, but I think tonight whether they agreed with him or didn’t agree with him; I think he became the president of the United States, and everyone is going to have to accept that fact.”

CNN’s Van Jones, who has previously been a harsh critic of Trump, said that “[Trump] became president of the United States in that moment. Period.” Jones admitted that “for people hoping that he’d become unifying, hoping that he might find some way to become presidential, they should be happy with [this] moment. For people hoping that maybe he would remain a divisive cartoon — which he often finds a way to do — they should begin to become a little bit worried tonight. Because that thing you just saw him do, if he finds a way to do it over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.”

For Trump, the speech marks a welcome turn in his struggles with the press and with Democrats and may be a harbinger of greatness to come. If Trump can maintain the nobility and grace of his delivery in his future addresses and actions, he could well be on his way to going down in the history books as one of America’s greatest presidents of all time.

~ Conservative Zone


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