On Tuesday night President Trump delivered a speech to a joint session of congress, and love him, hate him, or feel moderately about him, you have to admit that this speech was a great step forward not only for him, but for the country. He gave a strong speech with an underlying message of unification and looking toward the future.
Immediately upon beginning the speech, he mentioned Black History Month, progress we’ve made in Civil Rights, and the work that still needs to be done. Following that he denounced the hate crimes in Kansas against two Indian men and the wave of anti semitic threats and vandalism across the country. He paraphrased JFK when he said “Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice –- in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world.”
The speech touched on just about all of his campaign promises, pulling out of the TPP, immigration, the fight against ISIS, Neil Gorsuch, lobbying reform, and assembling a regulation task force. And of course, no Trump speech would be complete without bringing up what may become the physical representation of his presidency, the Wall.
When he talked about the election, he approached it not as he usually does, bragging about his tremendous win over Hillary Clinton, but by talking about the movement that got him elected and how it grew from a small crowd to thousands and millions, united under the goal to Make America Great Again. It was nice to see a new way of him speaking about a topic he loves to gloat about.
Finally, the chorus became an earthquake – and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first … because only then, can we truly MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.
He talked a lot about his plans, including the possibility of a merit-based immigration system, protectionism in trade, free and fair trade, and a reform on the corporation tax. The most crucial part of possibly the whole speech was his plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and he made sure to mention what aspects the replacement would have. That included coverage for pre-existing conditions, a stable transition, helping people buy their own insurance through tax credits, giving states more power in deciding their healthcare laws, and for allowing insurance to be bought across state lines to increase competition. These were followed by calls for affordable childcare and paid family leave, the project of his daughter Ivanka. He called education “the civil rights issue of our time” and spoke for school choice.
Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare.
To bolster the second half of his speech, he had many guests present he talked about. Denisha Merriweather, a young woman who was helped by tax credits to allow her to attend better schools, and is now the first college graduate of her family. To drive home his call for stricter rules on illegal immigrants, he had families of victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. The pièce de résistance of the guests was the widow of Ryan Owens, a Navy SEAL who died in the recent Yakla Raid in Yemen, a death that has stirred controversy. Carryn Owens was given a two-minute long standing ovation from almost all of the crowd, a very heartfelt and uplifting moment.
Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom –- we will never forget him.
Naturally, as with every speech ever given, there are parts I wasn’t too fond of. The big thing I didn’t like was when Trump talked about the “circumstances we inherited” a series of statistics that served no more than to jab at his predecessor. Blaming the last guy isn’t a good strategy, but at least he approached it in a respectful and rational light. I also noticed a lack of specifics on several of his plans, but that is sort of expected in a speech that covered so many topics. Still, going into more detail on some things would have been nice.
As expected, there was no words spoken about Russia, aside from wisely saying that “America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict”.
Overall, the speech contained a powerful underlying theme of unification in a time of great division. That was my biggest takeaway from the speech, because it is arguably the most important issue facing the country today. Hearing words of unification from someone who has divided many Americans was a breath of fresh air and a refreshing change of tone from his inaugural address. I see this as the best speech Trump has given. He was calm and collected, stuck to his teleprompter, and seemed to be genuinely interested in helping America heal the wounds of the election. I hope that we see more of this Trump in the future. It is still early in his term, he can turn around his general tone, deliver effectively on his promises, compromise, and make deals so that we can truly Make America Great Again. My favorite line was his closing remarks:
“I am asking all citizens to embrace this Renewal of the American Spirit. I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country. 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.