4 Takeaways From Trump's First State Of The Union Address
While it's important not to over-analyze what the speech means for Trump's presidency -- his first year in office suggests what he says one day means very little for what he will do the next day.
Here are some factual takeaways.
1. America First
Trump ran and won on the idea that he would always put his country first.
By the way, did he made good on that promise in his State of the Union address. For the first hour of the speech, Trump talked about nothing but Domestic policy, Tax cuts, The economy, Trade, Regulatory reform, Immigration.
The signal was clear: Trump is not just using "America First" as a piece of rhetoric; he's heavily focused on making it a policy reality as well.
2. Bipartisanship Not Happening
In the early moments of Trump's speech, he made several calls for the country and the Congress to come together.
"Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve," Trump said at one point.
"If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything," he said at another.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's reaction to Trump's mention of the need to come together for the good of the American people tells you everything you need to know about the chances of that actually happening.
3. Waxing Greatest 'Hits' Album
Most state of the union addresses are roughly evenly split between a touting of past accomplishments and the laying out of a vision for future governance.
Trump's speech was 80% celebration of what he has done and 20% talking about what he would like to do. (In truth, the percentage might have tilted even more in the direction of Trump's recitation of his greatest hits.)
It was almost an hour into his remarks that Trump first mentioned a proposal, a massive infrastructure bill that he wanted Congress to take up. Trump did pick up some steam on the proposal front pushing Congress to take up his immigration compromise, for one.
But, proposals and wish lists weren't top-of-mind for Trump in this speech.
Making sure he mentioned all of the things he believes he has succeeded in (and the media has overlooked).
4. The Obama Eraser
Much of Trump's pitch as a candidate was as the anti-Barack Obama. And, Republicans who, in Obama, saw everything they disliked about big government liberals ate it up.
Trump has spent his first year governing as the anti-Obama as well. Or, more accurately, the Obama eraser.
He pushed for the repeal of the individual mandate. He has stripped out regulation after regulation put into place by Obama.
On Tuesday night, Trump announced his plans to keep the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba open, a direct rebuttal to Obama's long-made and long-failed pledge to close the prison.
Remember that prior to running for president and even during his bid, Trump lacked any clearly thought-out set of policy prescriptions. In lieu of that, he reacted or, in Trump's lingo counter-punched against what Obama had done as president.
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