President Trump pointed his bat at the outfield seats and swung at the first pitch.
You know you’ve done well when CNN’s Van Jones says you’ve finally “become presidential”.
CNN’s post-speech panel looked constipated. MSNBC was pouting like it was election night. Too bummed out to even enjoy the Democratic response, delivered by an irritated man in a diner who couldn’t get his coffee refilled.
Nancy Pelosi looked incredibly unhappy, as if she realized that Trump had stolen a bunch of Democratic talking points, and if he succeeded with even some of them, their gravy train is off the tracks.
The speech itself was well-crafted and delivered effectively. From the opening with Black History Month and decrying hate crimes against Jews and immigrants to the recognition of gallery guests, it was a good reset.
As good a night as it was for Team Trump, it was one long back spasm for the Democrats. “Do we applaud?” “Wasn’t that one of OUR policies?” “So, should we applaud?” They were more bewildered than Warren Beatty on Sunday night.
At one point, he says something about not representing the world, but representing the people of the United States. The Dems sat on their hands. Do they actually disagree with this? They looked foolish with their pasted-on frowns and rigid rejection of things that fellows named Obama and Clinton have previously pushed.
In the meantime, their response was delivered by a former governor of a state Trump won by 20 points.
Look, this president is not a conservative as much as he’s a pragmatist. Someone sold him on mandatory paid paternity leave, and boom, it’s in the speech. But for the most part, he did something that’s very hard to do in today’s polarized politics and splintered media world: he made an important speech that could—we’ll see—define him and his presidency.
Some key points:
- America will be an ally nations can count on again.
- “Radical. Islamic. Terrorism.” A “vile enemy”.
- The 2016 election he described as a “rebellion”, a “mighty chorus” and an “earthquake”.
- How do you refuse to defend our borders? What do you say to Americans who are hurt by not doing so?
- “Education is the civil rights issue of today” as he pushed for school choice.
- He invoked Chicago to say we have to break the cycle of violence if we are to break the cycle of poverty.
- Concisely, and finally, he explained the principles for replacing O-care.
- A moving tribute to fallen Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, and his widow, Carryn.
Senior Chief Owens died in the Jan. 29 raid on Yemen. In stopping the proceedings to honor him, and, finally bringing both sides of the aisle to their feet, Trump presided over the most united moment this country has had in many months.
Now, Mr. President, tomorrow you have to follow through. You need the discipline to stay this course you have set.
It’s a rare moment: a President,, just starting out shared a vision that could actually have very wide appeal, and challenged the Congress to “join forces and get the job done”.
He previewed his address as “a message of unity and strength from my heart.”
We will see if it is. I am hopeful.