WASHINGTON, March 1, 2017 — Last night, President Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress. He discussed several issues, but his speech was remarkable for how he spoke rather than what he said. After a month of trying to convince people he is up to the job, Trump finally looked like a president.
He said nothing about the dishonest mainstream media spewing a continuous supply of fake news. There were no attacks on his opponents. Trump simply said what he wanted to accomplish. He gave no succor to Democrats who believe that Trump is an evil man more concerned with self-interest than with moving America forward.
The start of the speech was positively brilliant. Trump had signed two executive orders and signed two bills into law earlier in the day, making it easier for women to enter science fields and showing his support for historically black colleges.
He then opened his speech by acknowledging Black History Month and the nation’s path to civil rights, emphasizing the point that every American will be included in his plans for our future.
Americans want a president who will not only solve the problems of the day, but who has a clear vision of the future. Trump signaled that he’s that kind of president, noting that in just nine years the country will celebrate its 250th anniversary and asking, “What kind of a country will we leave for our children?”
He said he will not repeat the mistakes of the past. He also took a kinder, gentler approach to the two issues most important to Americans: the economy and national security.
On the economy, Trump emphasized that his primary goal is not to deliver social justice, the primary goal of the past administration. His focus is on economic growth. Earlier in the day, the Commerce Department reported that economic growth had slowed to 1.9 percent. Over the last eight years, economic growth averaged less than 2 percent.
Trump said he will reduce taxes for all Americans and will continue to create an environment that is friendly to business and business expansion alike.
“My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.”
He said he will continue to roll back unneeded and counter-productive regulations with the goal of making it easier for businesses to expand.
Trump emphasized the importance of free trade, but vowed to re-write free trade agreements that are unfair to the U.S. The way free trade is supposed to work is that trading partners place no tariffs or duties on imported goods. The trade agreements we now have do allow countries to place tariffs on U.S. goods while the U.S. places no tariffs on the goods they produce and export to this country.
Trump has previously said, “I believe in free trade but it has to be it also has to be fair trade.”
In his speech yesterday he said, “We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership,” a pact which promotes free yet unfair trade for America.
Trump will set up a task force to look for ways to reduce violent crime in the U.S. He promises to secure our borders “to stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth.”
And he will take aggressive action to defeat ISIS.
On the issue of immigration, Trump said a new executive order will be out in a few days. The order will minimize the chance of terrorists coming into the country, at the same time striving to avoid hardships for any immigrants who enter the U.S. legally. He expressed concern for immigrants who have been in the country illegally for a number of years but who have not committed any crimes. He suggested that there may be a path to legal status or even citizenship for certain classes of illegals.
Trump knows that Americans are worried about the current state of the health care market, noting that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which he called by its better known name, Obamacare, is a clear disaster for most Americans. He vowed to fix that by implementing a health plan that provides more consumer freedom and less government involvement. This new, improved plan will result in lower costs and more Americans being covered by health insurance.
His State of the Union speech signaled a new look for President Trump and his still evolving administration. He clearly maintained his core conservative values and belief in the American system, but he also suggested policies that are compassionate toward the unfortunate. He seemed to acknowledge that to arrive at broadly acceptable solutions to the serious problems holding America back from greatness, compromises will be needed. He indicated he is open to compromise as the situation warrants.
Trump’s speech was a great success; even some powerful Democrats and media types who have attacked him relentlessly were forced to admit that it would be well-received. In its wake, Trump looks far more presidential than his critics could ever have imagined. At least today, he holds the political high ground.