By Elizabeth White
President Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Trump seems to have taken a different approach this time around. His serious tone, presidential words, and composed attitude suggested that he was finally sobering up, and dawning on the realization that he is, in fact, President of the United States of America and the leader of the free world.
“There were no campaign-like riffs, no boasting of his electoral victory, no bashing of the media or taunts or jeers at his opponents,” NPR said.
Trump began his speech by talking about the recent threats to the Jewish community and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, and said that the incidents “remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” according to The New York Times.
While it was nice that Trump’s opening statements condemned the hate crimes, more needs to be done. Simply stating that the country needs to come together does not bring the country together. He has to demonstrate with his actions that he actually wants compromise. Trump also described the election this past November as a rebellion, “spoken by families of all colors and creeds, families who just wanted a fair shot for their children, and a fair hearing for their concerns,” according to The New York Times.
It was unfair for Trump to make such a statement because that is simply not the case, as demonstrated by an exit poll in November.
An exit poll conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool found that 58 percent of white voters, 8 percent of black voters, and 29 percent of Hispanics voted for Trump in November 2016, according to BBC.
These poll numbers suggest that in actuality, mostly white people, not “families of all colors and creeds” supported and voted for Trump.
Trump also talked about what he considers to be his accomplishments so far as president, including “a rising stock market, commitments by private companies to invest in the United States and some of his executive orders, including those to freeze federal hiring and roll back regulations,” according to Politico.
One of the most emotional parts of Trump’s speech was when he he praised William “Ryan” Owens, a fallen Navy SEAL.
“Trump thanked Owens’ widow, who was present in the audience, and who received an extended ovation from the chamber,” according to Politico. “Trump continued to herald the mission as ‘successful,’ saying Defense Secretary James Mattis had described it as such.”
Although the moment was emotional and heartfelt, the circumstances under which Owens died are controversial at best. It seemed that Owens’ widow was invited for an ego boost, and for Trump to try to prove to himself and other that he has made a difference so far in office, even if that’s just more supposed intelligence and a deceased Navy SEAL.
Later on in the speech, Trump took a turn away from his usual isolationist rhetoric.
Speaking on foreign policy, Trump stated that it “calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world. It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies all across the globe,” according to The New York Times.
Trump’s comments regarding immigration reform may come as a surprise to many, as his previous comments suggested he did not support immigration to any extent.
“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible… If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens, then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades,” Trump said in the speech according to The New York Times.
It’s refreshing to hear President Trump, notorious for riling up both sides using hateful and divisive rhetoric, say that Democrats and Republicans can work together.
The key moving forward is compromise, and the sooner Trump believes it and gets his supporters to believe it, the better off we’re all going to be.