Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric and the reviews. Donald Trump said absolutely nothing in his first speech to Congress last night. Sure, he spoke 57 minutes worth of words – largely on script – but those words told us basically nothing that we didn’t already know.
Republicans across the board are lauding him for his “presidential” performance. Marc Thiessen of the Washington Post said it was the best speech he has even seen – and he helped write two – but what exactly is he basing that off of? Donald Trump read from a teleprompter for an hour straight without leading a “lock her up” chant and only inserted a few extra superlatives and suddenly he’s the oratorical love child of Reagan and Obama?
Reading a prepared speech without spontaneously combusting is hardly an indication of presidential perfection. In fact, it was the minimum requirement for getting at least a B in my 5th grade oral presentation project.
Look at what else the Republicans are congratulating him for, like the standing ovation for a Navy SEAL’s widow. That was an incredibly touching and heartbreaking moment. But let’s not pretend that happened in a vacuum. Since Ryan Owen’s death during a raid in Yemen, Trump has blamed Obama, “the generals”, other Navy Seals, bad intelligence, and the Ghost of Christmas Past for his death. Less than 24 hours prior to his speech in an interview he deferred responsibility and said “they lost him” as if the Navy SEALs were responsible.
That is despicable behavior for a Commander in Chief of the military.
The ovation Mrs. Owens received was representative of how everyone in this country should treat families of the fallen, but don’t be mistaken in thinking that Louie Gohmert wasn’t voraciously clapping in part to help drown out Trump’s botching of that entire episode.
Style points aside, was there any substance to praise Trump on? I’m glad you asked. In setting up his agenda, he started by highlighting every Breitbart statistic on the Obama Administration and then proceeded to paint the world’s rosiest pic of his agenda. Are you ready for this?
- He wants to increase and preserve world peace. He also wants to raise military spending by $54 billion and “start winning wars.”
- He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He also wants to keep the ban on preexisting conditions, keep subsidies, improve quality of care, lower costs, improve competition, expand marketplaces, let you keep your doctor, and lower pill costs.
- He wants to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure package. He also wants massive tax breaks for “the middle class.”
- He wants to welcome all legal immigrants of all kinds. He also wants a merit based immigration system where we only admit high wage, high skill folks from countries we like.
- He wants clean air, safe water, and environmental preservation. He also says for every new regulation, you must repeal two.
He wants a juicy steak, but it must also be well done. Certain things in life are just not possible.
Republicans won’t pass a program that assists blind, wheelchair bound grandmothers get groceries without a pay-for, so does Trump really think they’ll drop $1 trillion AND cut the tax base further? How are you going to improve world peace while “winning wars” at the same time?
My brain is in more knots than a rope at Boy Scout camp trying to figure this one out.
And finally, let’s not forget… Trump boldly claimed that he was going to create “millions of new jobs” and bring dying industries “roaring back.” While I wish him every bit of luck in improving the lives of people in the forgotten regions of this country, that is an outrageously bold claim in a world where there are more solar energy jobs than coal mining jobs and robots (not trade) are permanently ending manufacturing jobs.
All during the campaign, half of the media would scream “Trump turned a corner!” each time he gave a speech without offending another country, and the half would mutter “you idiots, just wait a week.” The latter proved to be correct more times than not.
The Donald as president is no different. So what that he read from a teleprompter and said he supported a strong America. Every policy prescription was vague, if not contradictory, and most were dead on arrival even with Republican majorities in Congress.
This is still the same Trump who signed the Muslim ban, made a moral equivalency argument between the US and Russia, and called a major news network “FAKE NEWS” every chance he got. For those who think Trump became a new man yesterday, please come talk to me next time he tweets a conspiracy theory at 7 am.
Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU