On Tuesday, Feb. 28, President Donald J. Trump spoke in his first speech to a joint session of Congress.
Despite the negative reputation Trump carried from his past, his speech to Congress seemed to change the tune of his public speaking skills and his presidency as a whole.
“I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength,” Trump said. “A message that is deeply delivered from my heart.”
Trump began the speech in regards to Black History Month and civil liberty. From that point forward, he discussed his ideal nation: a place bonded together, standing against injustice.
Trump spent the majority of his speech focused on American renewal within his Presidency. Weaved into this message, he broadly discussed practical issues within the nation. One major reoccurring theme throughout the President’s speech was the creation of new jobs.
“Since my election,” President Trump said. “Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.”
He also mentioned how the constructions of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines and the use of American-made steel would generate jobs within the country.
President Trump noted the large impact that improving business conditions in America would have on the economy and American workers.
“Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “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.”
President Trump also mentioned reforming the system of legal immigration, which he noted could impact job availability as well.
“The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers,” Trump said. “Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others — have a merit-based immigration system. It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon. According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America’s taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.”
According to President Trump, discontinuing the current system of immigration in the U.S. and switching to the merit-based system could save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages and help struggling families enter the middle class.
President Trump mentioned other methods of creating jobs, as well as “draining the swamp,” defeating ISIS, repealing Obamacare and engaging in a new system of “fair trade.”
“As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS — a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs,” Trump said. “We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.”
President Trump also urged members of both parties to pass an education bill that would fund school choice for disadvantaged youth and allow them to attend their school of choice.
Trump spoke about about supporting police and sheriffs within our local communities as well as the victims of crimes.
“I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims. The office is called VOICE — Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests,” he said.
President Trump also mentioned sending Congress a new budget that “rebuilds the military, eliminates the defense sequester and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history” as well as the American foreign policy.
“We will respect historic institutions, but we will also respect the sovereign rights of nations,” he said. “Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America. But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more.”
While President Trump did not go into great detail, he used his new plans as a symbol of renewal in order to motivate the American Congress.
“I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country,” Trump said. “And I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment and believe in yourselves. Believe in your future. And believe, once more, in America.”
Overall, Trump’s speech received good reviews.
Journalist and founder of Citizen University, Eric Liu, discussed his opinion of Trump’s speech with CNN.
“This speech was his most effective moment as president,” Liu said. “It played to his natural strengths — performance and theatricality — while keeping his liabilities, like cynical incuriosity and casual cruelty, at bay.”
However, others were displeased with the topics discussed in the speech itself. Within his speech, the President seemed to have disregarded planned details for the future.
Jen Pskai, journalist and former White House Director of Communications, expressed her opinions on Trump’s speech.
“The goal of such an address is to give marching orders for the months ahead,” Psaki said. “But Trump failed to lay out a specific path to achieve his policy objectives.”
Throughout the evening, Trump used a poetic, generic tone. This style may be beneficial for the Trump administration to keep the peace and focus away from President Trump’s controversial Executive Orders.
Trump’s first Executive Order, announced in late January, suspended entry for citizens of seven Muslim majority countries into the United States during 90 days. This order was denied by a three-judge panel who deemed that the ban did not advance national security.
According to the New York Times, the panel declared that there is “‘no evidence’ which showed that anyone from the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — had committed terrorist acts in the United States.”
After the negativity and anger that sprouted from this order, the Trump administration decided to wait before taking action again. At the end of Trump’s speech, Daily Mail Political Editor, David Martosko tweeted, “A senior admin. official says the ‘revised’ travel ban order will be signed later in the week. They don’t want to step on tonight’s big win.”
Although Trump has not held the highest of reputations, joint-congressional speech in his joint-congressional message placed him in a new light.
“From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears,” Trump said. “Inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the past, and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts.”