Tuesday night, President Donald Trump offered his first speech to Congress. Within an hour of its conclusion, CNN reported the findings of their poll – 78 percent who viewed Trump’s speech gave him positive reviews. But what is the impact of his most important address to date? This was a game-changer. Three things stood out.
1. The Democrats looked petty.
Throughout the 70-minute speech, Democratic congressmen were caught on camera appearing at though they were auditioning for a constipation commercial. Give West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin credit. When Trump said he wanted to save the coal industry, he alone, among Democrats, stood in applause. We can assume from that one of two things – either the Democrats are against coal workers or they are against Trump. When the president paid tribute to fallen soldier and Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, only the Republicans stood to offer a two-minute ovation. Instead of offering pleasant nods, the Democrats jeered, held their thumbs down like school children, and bolted from the Congressional chambers within a nano-second of the close of Trump’s presentation. It was a bad night for Democrats. They were clearly not on the side of the 78 percent of Americans. They have no interest in working with the president. Their behavior seemed to confirm their desire to maintain minority status, to be the party of “no,” and to define themselves by what – and who – they oppose.
2. Trump’s tone was presidential.
The word “presidential” is overused. But for one hour, it actually fit Mr. Trump. He was calm, measured, and positive, and he avoided the hyperbole that has characterized his prior offerings. Missing was media-bashing and self-promotion. The bluster was gone. I’m not sure who “got to” the president and convinced him to change his tone, but I’m glad they did. Some are crediting Ivanka Trump, others Vice President Pence or confidant Kellyanne Conway. But it was Donald Trump who signed off on the speech and it was Donald Trump who delivered it. For that, he deserves great credit.
3. The substance was solid.
No matter what side you are on, you cannot deny this. In his first 40 days in office, Mr. Trump is keeping his promises. He continues to put meat on the bones, to offer ways to accomplish his campaign goals. On subjects ranging from immigration to foreign policy to domestic challenges to the budget, Trump offered real solutions to real problems.
It’s too early to grade the Trump presidency. But we can be certain of this. Because of Trump’s speech on Tuesday night, we all woke up to a more hopeful America on Wednesday morning. In his opening comments, Mr. Trump said, “I have come to deliver a message of unity and strength.” He met that goal, and America is better for it.