President Trump took a different approach with tonight’s speech than he did at his inaugural. But it was still a speech that stressed the “lawless chaos” that has crippled our country and can only be cured with his own hard-line policies.
Once again, Trump painted a picture of a country where factories are closing, undocumented immigrants are pouring across the border while taking away jobs of hardworking Americans and citizens are no longer safe due to rising crime rates and terrorism.
In his prepared remarks, Trump mentioned jobs 14 times, immigration 9 times and safety 8 times.
The overall theme was big solutions to big problems. The problem is that most of the problems Trump described aren’t real. By any measure, the economy has been growing for years, net illegal immigration is low, violent crime is down significantly and terrorism kills almost no one.
That said — and the bar is set quite low for this observation — Trump was relatively calm and “presidential.” The speech was well written and delivered reasonably well too.
For the first time since he was elected, Trump actually reached out to some citizens who are still afraid of him. From his denouncement of hate crimes at the beginning to his promise of a smooth transition for those currently enrolled in healthcare exchanges, Trump took a much softer approach than he has since taking office.
Trump also took the “heroes in the balcony” to a new level with the widow of slain Navy SEAL Ryan Owens. Even though Trump insists on re-litgating the facts behind the failed Yemen raid which caused Ryan’s death, it was a very powerful moment to see his widow with tears streaming down her face and clearly appreciative that her husband’s service was recognized by the commander in chief and the nation.
That moment sums up Trump’s speech. He uses “alternative facts” to create a reality he wants to exist. It creates a very jarring experience for anyone watching.