Commentary

President Trump Takes Calmer Tone In Address, Policies Remain Vague

“[Trump] became President of the United States in that moment, period.”

Those were Van Jones’ words last night on CNN, when describing the portion of President Trump’s address where he honored fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and his widow, who was present in the chamber.

In one sense, Jones is absolutely right. For many of us, Donald Trump is not our President -- but last night’s address to Congress portrayed a measured, maybe even humbler Trump. But was his performance real or acting? And will it last until his next tweet?

Such descriptions of the former reality TV personality are relative. We have been conditioned to expect self-aggrandizing, incoherent jabbering from the President. His press conference, less than two weeks ago, was unintelligible and adversarial in an extreme extent.

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Or consider: He opened his speech denouncing anti-Semitism, yet a few hours before, he met with Pennsylvania's attorney general and blamed the Jews and others — “sometimes it’s the reverse” — for the nationwide anti-Semitic threats and desecration.

Last night, Trump appeared a changed man. But tone and cadence are not substance.

There was a concerted attempt to paint a dark, scary picture of the current state of affairs in this country, one that is untrue and uninformed. The President exclaimed: “94 million people are out of the labor force,” without specifying that many millions of those people are either retired, children, students, parents or disabled.

Further, the Obama administration did spectacularly well in job creation and lowering the unemployment rate. President Obama presided over continuous positive job growth from early 2010 through the end of his presidency. Likewise, the unemployment rate dropped dramatically from over 10% to a low of 4.7%.

Our country was, and is, in good economic shape.

“The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century,” said the President. While Politifact deems this statement “basically correct,” important context is missing. The murder rate from 1993 to 2014 declined by 42% across the country.

Just yesterday, the President signed H.J. Resolution 40, which nullifies a rule that prevented Americans who receive Social Security benefits and have serious mental illness from purchasing a firearm. The chasm between his speech and his actions is stark and alarming.

“My administration wants to work with members in both parties … to promote clean air and clear water,” declared the President. His actions again, however, contradict his policies.

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order which calls on the EPA to review the Clean Water Act passed in the early 1970s, which gave the Federal government authority to protect the country’s major waterways from pollution. The order puts economic growth and deregulation ahead of the safety of our water.

President Trump decried the horrid international situation he inherited from the previous administration. The facts: When President Barack Obama took office, he inherited wars on two fronts and a devastated economy. In 2009, there were 200,000 American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, now there are less than 14,000.

While, the President only used the word “media” once and didn’t utter the term “press,” his administration’s attacks on the press have violated basic tenets of freedom and democracy.

In the end, much of what the President read last night was an attempt to merge acceptable conservatism with deeply nationalistic and xenophobic rhetoric, a strategy that may have pleased Independents, but left die-hard Trump supporters wanting.

“That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart,” said President Trump. “A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation."

Does he believe what he says? And if so, what are his concrete plans to unify a deeply divided Washington?

8 comments about "President Trump Takes Calmer Tone In Address, Policies Remain Vague ".
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  1. charles bachrach from BCCLTD, March 1, 2017 at 4:18 p.m.

    Your key word was "appeared"  He and his policies will remain vague as long as he can get
    away with it.....just hopes he gets hit by a bus on 5th Avenue, with Pence and Kellyanne too!!!

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 1, 2017 at 6:18 p.m.

    Charles, I have little use for Trump, myself, and am dismayed at the way he has behaved so far, but at the same time, in fairness, why not tone down the rhetoric a bit. We wouldn't really celebrate his untimely death or Kellyanne's or Pences" would we?

  3. charles bachrach from BCCLTD, March 1, 2017 at 7:20 p.m.

    Actually, Ed it would give me great pleasure and I'd probably throw a party.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 1, 2017 at 7:42 p.m.

    Each to his/her own, I guess. Charles, it saddens me to read your reply as I see Trump more as a pitiful figure---sort of like the great newspaper magnate depicted by Orson Welles in "Citizen Kane" who died all alone muttering the word "Rosebud", named after a sled he was deprived of as a child. The poor guy just wanted to be loved all his life---but his thin skin and resulting bad behavior made this impossible for most of those who knew him. Anyway, as I said, I am certainly not a Trump fan but I can't take him seriously enough to hate him.

  5. charles bachrach from BCCLTD replied, March 1, 2017 at 8:12 p.m.

    Ed, I hope you're right and can tell me so in a couple of years....BTW, did I mention once before that you were at BBDO and I was across the street at Ogilvy at the same time?  I think
    Dick Welsh worked with you then.  See, even our paths have crossed. I'm having "fun" doing this...until Trump send the soldiers to take me away....Have a good evening.   Chuck

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 1, 2017 at 7:57 p.m.

    Being a screaming meemee doesn't help, Charles and you lose your own word power when you have something important to say...... He sounded half sane because he wasn't screaming and was able to read every simple word that was forced out of his mouth last night does make him presidential or sane or have any sense of reality with lies spewing out faster than a speeding bullet. Yes, we as we the world, would have a future without the fascists in power now, but having them hit by a bus or bullet would only memorialize them and leave the world in a more dangerous place with more wack a moles replacing them. The press of all stripes has yet to wake up from their fog to ask, when they even have an opportunity, specific questions including names, places and dates. They allow him to blather more garbage every day. 

  7. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 2, 2017 at 7:05 a.m.

    Charles, yes I recall your post about the old days on Madison Ave, and Dick Welch---who was a gentleman---unlike some others I could name.

  8. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 2, 2017 at 5:04 p.m.


    Dismissive waves of the hand, an uplifted jutting jaw, with a self-satisfied down-the-nose look while flat-out lies and half-truths are repeated, is NOT Presidential; ... it is dictatorial.

    Sociopaths and psychopaths get by in life because they are able to play the role of normalcy when necessary. One speech, aided by a TelePrompTer, does not make him presidential, by any stretch of the imagination. 

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