In a speech that was Bill Clinton-esque in its length, President Donald Trump called for unity and outlined his vision for a “safe, strong and proud America.” Touching on many themes he embraced during his campaign, Trump took an hour and 20 minutes to take credit for a booming stock market and low unemployment. He declared that the war on American energy was over, that the veterans administration has been denuded of 1,500 nefarious employees, that he has protected the Second Amendment, and that we are in a, quote, “new American moment.”
There were many moments in the speech which did not seem particularly new. He went to great lengths to associate undocumented immigrants with gangs and violent crime. He introduced a 12 year old boy by way of condemning NFL protests against police misconduct, and he called for expanding the American nuclear arsenal.
But as the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib observes, Trump, in an unusual posture, took a stab at somewhat optimistic rhetorical turns of phrase, saying that we are, quote “rediscovering the American way.” This was notable given the fact that the premise of his campaign was that America was a mess in need of being made great again.
We speak with Michael Barone, the senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics; and Christine Emba, a columnist and editor with the Washington Post.