(Note the Bobbsey Twins in the back of the picture … they are even dressed alike!)
On Tuesday night, Trump gave his first address to Congress. I did not watch, as I am committed to never watching the man perform live … he makes me nauseous. However, I had my first clue as to how it was going when a friend sent me a text saying, “Thoughts? He sounded more reasonable. Could this be the end of him lashing out?” My reply to him? “Do not be fooled by the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Having read a number of analyses and the transcript, I think I have a sense of how it went. If you are looking for me to applaud the ‘man’, or say something along the lines of ‘he’s changing, mellowing’, then stop reading now, because I am not fooled. Trump is Trump … he did not write that speech, and likely had to be threatened and or cajoled by his handlers to get him to stick to the speech and tone down his rhetoric.
I do not see a need to pick apart his every word … others have done that well enough … but rather to address a few notable points and offer a general opinion of what was said, as well as what went unsaid.
He opened his speech by denouncing anti-Semitic threats and attacks, which have escalated since he took office. But as I previously noted, it was too little, too late, and with little genuine sincerity. Just a few hours before his speech in the Capitol, he suggested to a group of state attorneys general that anti-Semitic attacks might actually have been carried out by people who want “to make others look bad”, i.e. his political opponents. Can we say ‘paranoia’?
“Dying industries will come roaring back to life. Heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need… Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land. Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop. And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.”
Inspirational? Nah, not unless you are lulled by fairy tales and still believe in the tooth fairy. It was not backed by any substance. It was the foundation made of loose sand, with all the nutritional value of a donut.
Or how about this one:
“My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.”
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Remember back during his campaign, when he said that if we cannot meet our debt obligations, we will just ‘print more money’? Apparently he still hasn’t passed that Econ 101 course!
And “From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fear.” Extreme irony in light of the fact those fears were largely non-existent until he himself lit and stoked the fires. Or …
“The time for trivial fights is behind us …” Who has been the instigator of all these trivial fights, such as the size of the inaugural crowd, and anything he perceives as the slightest offense toward him?
His facts, for a change, were mostly accurate, but not when put in context. For example this one:
“Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.”
Well, that is a true statement of fact, BUT … what he fails to mention is that 94 million includes every single person over the age of 15 who is not employed! It includes high school and college kids who are concentrating on their education, it includes stay-at-home parents, it includes disabled people who are unable to work, AND … it includes some 46 million retired people like myself who already worked all their lives and are not seeking employment, who are out of the labour force by choice! Now, do the math again …
That is but one example of facts that, while not untrue, are not being put into context, thus being seriously misleading.
Then there were the things that were notably missing from his speech: quality of education, protecting the environment, releasing his tax returns, and … the most glaring omission, the investigation into Russian election manipulation and the concerns about certain of his staff members’ Russian connections. These, particularly the last one, are the elephants in the room.
One final note. There is debate, and some will disagree with me, but I thought it was in extremely poor taste, if not downright sleazy, for him to put Carryn Owens on display as a propaganda tool used to toot his own horn. His ill-planned, poorly-prepared January 28th military operation in Yemen cost the life of Ms. Owens’ husband, Chief Petty Officer William Owens. Many questions remain about the failed operation in Yemen, but one fact is that Donald Trump gave the green light and has been attempting to distance himself and blame others ever since. I do not know why Ms. Owens agreed to appear at Tuesday’s event, but it was a cheap shot on Trump’s part to make him look like something he is not … and to gain a few more minutes of applause. Again, that is only my opinion, and I am already aware that many disagree with me.
In general, while Trump played nice (relatively), read from the teleprompter and did not veer into a chant of “lock her up”, he is still the Trump that we have always known and despised. Nothing has changed. The proof will be, as they say, in the pudding, but this is not a new Trump – merely a wolf dressed up as a sheep, one being maneuvered by his handlers for a 60-minute speech.
Here is a link to the annotated transcript of the speech, if anybody cares to read it.