President Donald Trump gave his first speech before a joint session in Congress Tuesday night, laying out the policy proposals his administration plans to pursue in its first year and first term in office. What stuck out to many across the political spectrum is that the tone was presidential, wasn’t divisive, and didn’t toe a partisan line.
Many political commentators and pundits were expecting Donald to be Donald. In other words, as they see it, for him to be divisive and confrontational. Yet, on a number of issues, Trump reached across the aisle and preached unity and bridge building from the very beginning of his speech.
“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” said Trump.
Other highlights from his speech:
“True love for our people requires us to find common ground, to advance the common good and to cooperate on behalf of every American child who deserves a much brighter future.”
“We must build bridges of cooperation and trust –- not drive the wedge of disunity and –- really what it is, division. It’s pure, unadulterated division. We have to unify.”
“The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts. The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls. And the confidence to turn those hopes and those dreams to action.”
Now, what Trump says in a speech versus what he says on Twitter versus what he says at the White House and events like CPAC can obviously differ. However, even Trump critic and CNN commentator Van Jones said he believed that the tone was strikingly presidential even though he disagrees with the president on several policy issues.
One the issues, from tougher enforcement of immigration laws to repealing and replacing Obamacare, many Democrats were not thrilled by what they heard. However, what isn’t getting attention post-speech are the issues where President Trump extended an olive branch to Democrats, including infrastructure, child care, family leave, and others.
The full quote:
“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.” – Donald Trump
“America has spent approximately $6 trillion in the Middle East. All the while our infrastructure at home has crumbled. With this $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice, and maybe even three times, if we had people who had the ability to negotiate,” said Trump.
These issues are not traditionally ones Republicans champion.
Of course, the biggest moment of the night that transcended partisan politics was an emotional tribute to a fallen hero. President Trump honored slain Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens and Owens’ widow, who was sitting in the gallery.
“Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity,” said Trump.
Again, when it comes to the issues, whether or not Trump continues to reach across the aisle remains to be seen. For many Americans, however, this is a speech they wanted and needed to hear. Americans are tired of the gridlock. They are tired of the political games. They are tired of partisan politics that puts loyalty to party above loyalty to the American people.
Trump offered a vision of unity and cooperation. It was strikingly inspirational and optimistic, and many Americans were impressed by what the president had to say.
Photo Source: AP