Well, the evidence is overwhelming. America should feel much better about Teleprompter Trump than Ad-Lib Trump.
In what was easily his best major speech to date, President Trump last night addressed a joint session of Congress. It amounted to a State of the Union Speech without the official moniker. Emblematic of the deep divides in this country, Republicans in attendance likely have sore lower backs today from sitting and standing so often. Conversely, Democrats may have developed bedsores on their asses. They likely made up for that with the muscles they pulled in leaving the Congressional chambers so quickly after Trump delivered his final lines.
After roughly forty days of Trump continuing his campaign’s contentious persona into his Presidency, he did an about face last night. While not equivocating on some of his main themes, he still offered olive branches on several issues. Perhaps having him speak to rooms where nearly half of the people disagree with him is the key to bringing out this Trump. At rallies, surrounded by supporters, he strikes an entirely different tone.
Trump opened by roundly condemning the recent attacks on Jewish cemeteries, along with last week’s racially-motivated killings in Oklahoma. Then Trump wasted no time in reminding Congress he is AMERICA’S President.
“We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross, and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled.”
After outlining his first month-plus in office, Trump got to the red meat. In stark contrast to recent Presidential policy, he assured Congress that his would be an administration focused on the Rule of Law, border enforcement, and support of law enforcement. After having a former President who equivocated his support for police at every turn, it is a refreshing change of pace to have a President who will at least give these brave men and women the benefit of the doubt.
Trump also said the phrase our former President could never utter. “Radical Islamic terrorism.” You may think it trite but there is something to be said for properly naming the enemy. It differentiates between the vast majority of Muslims who are NOT terrorists. Plus it speaks to an age-old truth. If you cannot properly identify your enemy, how can you possibly defeat them?
Another thing mercifully missing from Trump’s address last night was the phrase “Climate Change.” Coming off of a President who blamed Climate Change for everything from ISIS to genital warts, this was a refreshing omission.
Trump then brought up the one thing that I immediately questioned. After correctly pointing out that the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System was the last great federal infrastructure project, he proposed a trillion-dollar infrastructure program. Coming so soon on the heels of the Stimulus boondoggle from eight years ago, my shields automatically went up. I will require MUCH more information before I can support this. Yes, just like our houses need routine upgrades, so do our roads, bridges and railways. I’m just a little gun-shy right now.
Trump elicited groans from the Democrats in attendance when he promised a repeal and replacement of Obamacare. I understand their reaction. They were emotionally-invested into this monument of Statist overreach. This was THEIR baby. It represented the largest government intrusion into personal liberties in at least a generation. To anyone who thinks Government is the first and only answer to our societal ills, losing Obamacare is like losing a dear family member. Still, I can work up NO sympathy for them. I despised this effort in principle. Tough spit.
Teleprompter Trump then reached across the aisle, offering up broad proposals with (hopefully) universal appeal.
“My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave, to invest in women’s health, and to promote clean air and clean water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure.”
Trump made me squint a little bit with his best policy statement. “Education is the civil rights issue of our time.” While education is crucial, I don’t think it does anyone any good to equate it to civil rights. That puts it on a level of federal government control and that is NOT where it needs to be. This will likely be one of the things we libertarians will not be able to reconcile with the President.
Democrats’ biggest groans of the night came when Trump announced he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. It is a direct effort to highlight the crime committed by those who are in the country illegally. Honestly, I don’t think it’s needed…not when there are other laws on the books and infrastructure in place to do the same thing. It was clearly a jab at Democrats. But Democrats really only have themselves to blame. They have gone to great lengths to minimize the impact that illegal immigrants have had…even going so far as to ignore federal laws that govern them. Any mention of a crime being committed by an illegal immigrant was countered with Democratic jeers of “politicizing tragedy.” If they need to find someone on whom to assign blame, it’s as close as the nearest mirror.
Easily the high point of the evening was when Trump introduced Carryn Owens, the widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, who died in a recent operation in Yemen. Trump’s phrase, “Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity” sparked a two-minute standing ovation as Carryn Owens wept openly. Even for the most ardent Trump hater, this was a special moment. Yes, there are some who are decrying this as using a widow as a prop. But those peoples’ opinions are hereby dismissed. Even avowed communist Van Jones told CNN, “This was the moment Trump became President.”
For someone who did not vote for Trump (don’t worry, I didn’t vote for Hillary either), this was about as encouraging an address as I could imagine. The campaigning Trump was nowhere to be seen. The Presidential Trump took center stage. If he remains there for the next four years, I think he’ll get four more years.