Despite resounding support of Trump’s recent Congressional address, how strongly can we trust his positive claims for the future, especially with his actions up until this point?
President Trump is not known for being a particularly gifted orator; what he lacks in speaking skill and personality he doubly makes up for in direct, offensive, and otherwise menacing jabs at his opponents. A defensible political strategy when used sparingly, Trump instead has relied entirely upon insults in spreading his political message to the American people. However, this lack of skill and inability to conduct himself professionally is precisely what got him elected in the first place.
At his inaugural address in January, many were left unfulfilled by the president’s speech. Trump’s speech was foreboding and apprehensive, repeatedly pointing out the inefficiencies of our own governmental system and thrusting the blame upon our international allies. Trump favored a darkly foreshadowing tone to that of unity and patriotism, and left many throughout the nation wondering what plans the czar had hidden beneath his wispy toupee.
Last Tuesday night, Trump addressed America once more from within the chambers of Congress. Rebounding from an unconstitutional travel ban — amidst a seemingly endless list of additional failures and scandals — Trump was set to deliver a quasi-State of the Union address to the nation, informing Americans on the future actions of his administration and, perhaps more importantly, attempting to confer a less hostile image of himself to the citizenry.
Trump opened his Congressional address with cordial greetings to those in attendance. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan sat directly behind the president sporting matching suit and ties, bearing an eerily humorous resemblance to that of Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Alice and Wonderland. Upon introduction, First Lady Melania Trump received a standing ovation from those in attendance. To what accomplishments — other than breathing and donning a $9,000 Whitney Houston-esque sequined pantsuit — the attendees were applauding remains a mystery.
The president quickly transitioned into a litany of buzzwords within which he attempted to frame his speech. Black History Month, civil rights achievements, a denouncing of recent anti-Semitic attacks and a plea for American unity were presented by Trump and lauded by the crowd. The sick irony of the speech’s opening lines, however, was appallingly evident. The very same statements upon civil rights achievements came from the man who recently proclaimed that transgendered students ought to remain unprotected and invalidated under his purview. The very same statements denouncing anti-Semitism and the evils of religious persecution came from the man who believes terrorism is rooted solely and exclusively within the Islamic faith, and believes additionally that it is acceptable to ban citizens of specific faiths from entering the nation. The very statements on American unity came from the man whose entire political existence was constructed upon the defamation of differing races, religions and ethnicities within our nation.
While Trump touched briefly upon two very drastic problems currently plaguing our nation, that of inner-city poverty and the illicit drug epidemic, he made only brief mentions of his plans to improve either problem. He preferred touting his own “accomplishments”— including the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines and his fight against the wonderfully misconstrued concept of “radical Islamic terrorism”— throughout a large portion of the speech. Within each of his proclamations of achievement, however, Trump skirted past any meaningful description relating to the mechanisms by which he planned to execute such widespread improvements.
Commendably, Trump provided positive claims upon women’s health, education, and international relations. Trump briefly attempted to unite the incredibly polarized Democratic and Republican sides of Congress, suggesting the two parties could work together if they merely held the best interest of American citizens in mind. This was one of the few proclamations Trump made throughout his entire speech that resonated with me, and I do applaud his willingness to call Congress on their destructive inability to function for the American people. Furthermore, within his attacks upon the Affordable Care Act, Trump declared outright that American citizens with pre-existing medical conditions would continue to receive proper, affordable healthcare. This direct statement was truly the finest thing he mentioned throughout the entire address.
In the hours following Trump’s address, news outlets across the nation released statements on his speech. With mostly unanimous resounding support, many news sources lauded the president’s speech. The very same news outlets that for the last two years have reported negatively upon every single action of President Trump suddenly released congratulatory pieces applauding his vision for the nation. More specifically, they remarked upon his surprisingly professional address; he refrained from insulting or attacking any particular person within his speech. The simple fact that Trump was lauded for not insulting or demeaning someone during a one hour speech is no accomplishment. No longer do we demand strong, sound leadership; we simply ask that the leader of the Free World not directly insult members of our own nation.
To carefully analyze the full hour of Trump’s address in writing would leave the average reader both unimpressed and deathly bored. However, I encourage all readers to view Trump’s address in its entirety in order to gauge the true essence of the speech. It is crucial that we form our own opinions upon Trump moving forward. For us to root the entirety of our knowledge and opinions of Trump in shoddy and inconsistent news coverage, the opinions and retellings from those around us, or even the most convincing of college newspaper opinion writers is a great injustice. It is easy to be convinced amidst positive claims from somebody in a position as that of Trump, but we cannot accept such claims until they become a feasible reality. We must continue to pursue, investigate and critique Trump’s — and all of our leaders’ — actions endlessly, for this speech, however seemingly promising, must not overshadow or otherwise erase the events of the recent past.