Ari Fleischer: "The speech tonight is more about Pres. Trump and less about specific policy. He needs to give people confidence he can do the job. He needs to come across as thoughtful. He needs to impress persuadable voters that he can do the job and that his policies should be enacted."The speech tonight is more about Pres. Trump and less about specific policy. He needs to give people confidence he can do the job.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) March 1, 2017
And that, of course, is what Trump did.
The White House built up the speech. I was not looking forward to reviewing this speech because I knew what he had to say, and worried that he would not say it -- or would not say it in a calm, cool manner.
But he used his soothing voice, bringing up black history week, threats to the Jewish cemeteries, and a racially motivated homicide in Kansas City. This set up the theme of unity, which is what the nation needs.
Three excerpts from President Trump's speech:
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 dreams to action. From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations not burdened by our fears.
Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time provide better health care. Mandating every American to buy government approved health insurance was never the right solution for America. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance and that is what we will do.
My administration wants to work with members in both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave, to invest in women's health, and to promote clean air and clean water and rebuild our military infrastructure. By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. 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.By the way, that first line is a clunker. "The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls"???
But toward the end of the night, he hit it out of the ballpark: "My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America."
And the optics were terrific. Trump looked presidential, which normalized him -- despite the efforts of his distractors. He was able to point to progress that he has made in getting companies to invest in American manufacturing.
President Trump made the case for the Wall, and for keeping out radical Muslim fanatics. He said he would stand behind Israel. But his tone was soothing.
In mid-speech, Ari Fleischer tweeted encouragement.
Indeed, President Trump is learning to be a politician.So far this is a traditional- and effective - speech to the Congress. I hope POTUS realizes not everything he does needs to be different.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) March 1, 2017
We have all seen his Howard Beale side. It was time to see his Norman Vincent Peale side.
He talked about meeting with Harley Davidson officials, who seemed resigned to not being able to sell motorcycles overseas. Trump said, "They weren't even asking for a change, but I am."
And Roseanne Barr -- the working class mom -- applauded him.
Even the Fifth Columnists in the Fourth Estate could see the importance of this speech.
President Trump's call for fixing the nation's infrastructure follows a long line of Republican presidents going back to Lincoln. I wrote about that on December 8.This is @realDonaldTrump at his most presidential -- his most effective speech yet— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) March 1, 2017
The biggest ovation of the night went to Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy SEAL who died in last month’s counterterrorism raid in Yemen.
His father was bitter over it, as one might expect. But his widow, Carryn Owens, was there and President Trump assured her that her husband did not die in vain. The president's words and the waves of applause for her husband had to ease some of the great grief she feels. I pray his father, too, gets some solace from this night.
(I hate writing when I am crying. I apologize.)
President Trump said, "We are one people, with one destiny. We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same flag. And we are all made by the same God."
I did not want the speech to end. And I did not want to say it was a terrific speech, because that is what readers expect me to write.
But that is what it was.
UPDATE:This is a thoughtful and sometimes nuanced speech. If he keeps this up, he may just become popular.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) March 1, 2017
W/those 4825 words 2night Donald Trump seized the U.S. presidency. He owns it. He referred to himself 35 times and to We Americans 136 times— Andrew Malcolm (@AHMalcolm) March 1, 2017
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