There is no doubt that Trump’s speechwriters have an interesting job.
When they aren’t busy helping the controversial president conjure up the sort of headline-grabbing rhetoric he has become famous for, Trump’s writers are also occupied with trying to soften his tone and dial down the controversy.
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In the President’s State of the Union address, delivered yesterday after a long delay due to the government shutdown, the speech began with a far more diplomatic tone than we usually hear from the President. Trump opened by saying:
“Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one nation,”
Trump on Political Cooperation
“The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.”
Indeed, Trump even called for a truce with the Democrats whom he has been so bitterly feuding with recently, saying:
“We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution… An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.”
The president’s comments were met with silence by Democrats, and even most Republicans sat relatively unmoved by his words.
However, it wasn’t long before the façade dropped and Trump struck a more familiar tone this time speaking on immigration.
Trump on Immigration
On the subject of immigration, Trump stated:
“As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States… Now is the time for the Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.”
Trump On Military
Perhaps sensing that these comments had gone too far down the road usually associated with speeches, Trump then attempted to dial it down again.
This time, speaking about his decision to speed up the end to the war in Afghanistan as well as pulling troops out of Syria, Trump said:
“Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years… As a candidate for president, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.”
Trump on Socialism
Trump then turned his comments to the recent uprising in Venezuela which he blamed on the “socialist policies” of Nicolas Maduro, once again reaffirming his support for the leader of the opposition Juan Guaido. Trump then turned these comments onto the domestic situation saying:
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.”
Clearly Trump is referring to the recent shift towards populist economics that the Democrats have been pursuing. Trump added:
“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
In all, the State of the Union address was largely as one might expect. Despite his best efforts at appearing bi-partisan and calling for co-operation, Trump’s opinions and policies remain too divisive, and the opposition from the Democrats as well as the lack of conviction among many Republicans was palpable.
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