Donald Trump delivered his much-anticipated first speech to Congress on February 28. He spoke with a distinctly different tone than he did throughout his campaign. Viewers called the rhetoric of his speech much more “presidential” and “positive” unlike the usual brash and negative tone he utilized while running for office.
Trump called for more unity among Americans during a time in which protest and partisanship has been so prevalent. “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,” Trump said. “I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment. Believe in yourselves. Believe in your future. And believe, once more, in America.” The new rhetoric from the president is very inspiring to those who truly wish to unite and cause change during this tumultuous time in our nation.
It is now up to Trump to back up these ideals of unity and hope with actions. Despite stating that “the time for trivial fights is behind us,” Trump continued to ignite new controversies on Twitter that following Sunday, asserting Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. These claims, which have not been verified nor supported by any factual information have been one of the central topics covered in this week’s news cycle. Clearly, although Trump said in his speech that it was time to stop quarreling over trivial issues, he continues to do so himself.
America needs a leader that not only is inspiring with his words, but also buttresses those statements with his actions. If Trump truly believes in the message of unity he delivered during his speech, he would not have made such a ridiculous claim on Twitter.
Another aspect of the speech which critics were quick to bring up was that Trump did not sway from the substance of his policies, which resulted in the same populist, and nationalist prescription that he promises will change America. These policies include his ban on select Muslim immigrants and his call to expand the defense budget.
Trump’s proposal to expand the budget of the military is controversial. America is already the country that spends the most on its military, that coupled with the large debt that our government is enough for some to say that the expenditure of even more money for defense is foolish and detrimental to the long term sustainability of our budget.
Overall, although Trump did very well in his first address to Congress he must now reinforce his words with his actions. This means putting an end to his “Twitter wars” and baseless accusations of wire tapes.