Donald Trump Hasn’t Changed—And That’s a Good Thing

By | 2017-03-01T00:57:17+00:00 March 1st, 2017|
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When President Donald J. Trump walked into the Capitol on Tuesday evening to give his first speech to a joint session of Congress after his first month in office, the mood among the political establishment was apprehensive. Before the speech, the news cycle churned with stories about how the president was set to moderate his previous stances. The usual suspects on the Left were given far too much air time to wax on (and incorrectly) about how it was essential for Trump to make critical changes to his public image.

And then, the president stepped up to the dais and began speaking. As he spoke, it became apparent that Trump would be Trump after all.

 

The speech was pitch-perfect: it was in keeping with Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention; it comported with his inaugural address. It continued the themes of national rejuvenation through fundamental political change that made Trump’s bid for the presidency a winning proposition.

The speech was unnerving to analysts (at least those analysts not employed by CNN) because Trump finally “sounded presidential.” Of course, to most Trump supporters, Trump sounded as he always did. It’s just that, for the first time since he announced his candidacy in 2015, the media was actually listening to Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump’s speech did three remarkable things to the opposition.

First, Trump’s presence eroded Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s notoriously implacable desire to get as many presidential signatures as possible. For the first time in my lifetime, the Texas Democrat did not hound the U.S. president for his autograph as he walked down the aisle to the podium. As a former Hill staffer, that in and of itself is a coup for President Trump.

Second, the speech sent the Democrats literally running for the exits.

Third, in the chaos that ensued, the Democrats chose former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to deliver their response to Trump’s address.

That’s right: Steve Beshear, a septuagenarian, white, southerner who represents a past that the Democrats should be trying to forget, gave the rebuttal to Trump’s inventive and original speech. The contrast could not have been more stark if it had been planned by the Trump team and the RNC leadership. The response to the State of the Union (which, let’s face it, that’s what the Trump speech essentially was) is usually given by a rising star within the opposition party. Looking at the Republican responses to President Barack Obama’s last few State of the Union addresses, one could see that the GOP was trying to elevate individuals they felt best represented their party to the voters. Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst, and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers were just a few of the Republicans who responded to Obama.

The Democrats’ response is telling. Between Tom Perez’s recent controversial election as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the selection of Beshear to answer President Trump, it is clear that the Democratic Party is in the wilderness. With Trump’s dynamic leadership of the country, it will be some time before the DNC will be coming in from the cold.

The speech had everything that a Trump supporter loves—especially policy (you read that right, Never Trumpers). It also had heart, as evidenced by the moving tribute to Ryan Owens, the Navy SEAL who died in Yemen during Trump’s first week as president. Trump was consistent in his calls to combat crime, to defeat the Islamic State, and to rebuild our failing infrastructure. These were the same themes he spoke of with regularity on campaign trail.

Further, he touted his successes (of which, there were many). All that the Democrats could do was to remain seated (to be fair, most of them are approaching their 70s), borrow the costumes from the most recent “Star Trek” television series and wear them in a sign of solidarity (or unoriginality, however you want to view it), and boo when President Trump announced that he had placed a five-year ban on lobbying for people in the executive branch.

Man, the Democrats sure are the Party of the People, aren’t they? By the way, Trump said this while also consistently championing workers’ rights (no wonder the AFL-CIO has been so kind)!

Even still, once the speeches were over, the media coverage was surreal. While most of the coverage lauded the president’s “tone,” it was clear that those touted as the smartest people in the room still don’t get it. People like Chris Wallace of Fox News said that, with this speech, Trump had finally become the President. Most of the media coverage seemed to agree. I couldn’t help but wonder if they really believed that or if the pundit class knew they just needed to change the narrative away from being the constant target of President Trump’s ire.

Make no mistake, friends: Donald Trump was himself during the speech. Don’t let the talking heads fool you into thinking that he has changed. Trump was confident, bold, informed, and unapologetic. The speech he gave was no different than his previous famous speeches from the convention and the inauguration. The only thing that’s changed is the media’s perception.

The media has finally come to grips with the fact that Trump cannot be stopped, the Democrats really are a spent force, and for the first time in a very long time, the monopoly of the media is being effectively challenged. Tuesday night proved that Trump meant every word he said on the campaign trail. It also proved that he was right and everyone who opposed him on the Left and the Right were mostly wrong.

About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a former Republican Congressional staffer and national security expert who now runs The Weichert Report, www.theweichertreport.com, an online journal of geopolitics. He holds Master's degree in Statecraft & National Security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an Associate Member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in Political Science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.
  • QET

    Professional party Democrats and Republicans alike are confronted with a President who is actually willing and, more importantly, psychically able, to make decisions between alternative courses of action. He has spent his life making such decisions while they have spent theirs avoiding them. Trump decides and owns the decision, even knowing the media will insult him for it. The heat he has taken in just 6 weeks would have vaporized any of them. Trump has spent his professional life in a different universe from the universe inhabited by career party politicians and media. He actually does what they say. He acts where they only talk. They speak and believe they have done. Decision and action have withered among the professional party class–officeholder and bylineholder alike–to mere vestigial appendages. So it is really no wonder that they are all having great difficulties coping with the phenomenon that is Trump. His like has not been seen within ten miles of the White House (or the Capitol) in over a hundred years. He does not cower in fear of being thought wrong. He dares defend his actions in the face of their insults. Action and decision are so unfamiliar to the professional political class–party and media alike– that the mere act of making any decision of consequence at all can only be portrayed by them as recklessness if not madness. And of course in their universe, by the standards of their own psychic disability, it is madness.

    • Uncle Max

      QET, welll said. I wonder too, if Trump and his “screw-you” money, makes him singularly able to pull off this turnaround. He is not beholden to hidden financial backers. He is not angling for political power down the road. He is not an ideologue outside of love of country and wanting to see her return to form. He truly, is so well suited to deliver to the people, their country back, AND lead. Leaders lead, and D.C. has not had a “leader” in 35 years. Interesting times ahead.

    • WalkingHorse

      Outstanding summary, QET.

    • CosmotKat

      Nicely put and spot on, QET.

  • jack dobson

    Trump indeed is an unstoppable force of nature. The remonstrations to “moderate,” which in Beltwayspeak means “adopt our outdated positions,” went unheeded. Trump stayed true to his pledge to put the interests of the American people first, always. Most in that chamber thought such talk to be “boob bait,” “vulgar populism,” and, bizarrely, “incipient authoritarianism.”

    What Trump said is the center of gravity for American politics. The Democrats and neoconservatives, with their faux populism and actual authoritarianism, are dead as political forces. Conservatism, Inc., is irrelevant to modern life.

    Trump intends to govern as he campaigned and keep his promises. How novel.

    This young Century belongs to seventy-year-old going-on-thirty Donald Trump and Trumpism. We were given a second chance. Can we keep it? For the first time, I think so.

  • ricocat1

    Almost everything President Donald Trump said in that great speech to Congress is something that his supporters have heard in dozens of previous Donald Trump speeches. That is why President Trump’s supporters are so pleased: President Trump intends to deliver on as many of his campaign promises as possible.

  • elixelx

    Let’s face it; Trump knows how to MULTI-TASK, something that escapes the linear thinkers of both sides in the Congress.
    It doesn’t have to be repeal OR wall OR tax cuts OR immigration OR first and then and then again and only then and after that…
    Congress folk are lazy, shiftless, pencil pushers; Trump has shoved theose pencils up their collective backsides…

  • Dan Schwartz

    Sorry, Brandon, I didn’t like the speech at all: That was NOT the Donald Trump on display last night I’ve been watching for almost 40 years, and certainly NOT the New York City Trump I voted for, and heard at his inauguration. Instead, I saw a man that the DC Swamp reached up and sucked in.

    What’s more, all the WRONG mainstream media denizens were giving him plaudits: He’s been co-opted just like a typical “outsider” politician who “evolves” once he arrives.

    Furthermore, he’s falling into the same trap Reagan fell into over immigration: American citizenship is NOT For Sale. Yes, he’ll “legalize” the 11 million illegal migrants… And when the pendulum swings back the other way in 8-12 years, THEN they’ll have a “pathway to citizenship” …Then ¡Adios America!

    SAD.

    Here’s the transcript:
    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/321699-full-speech-president-trumps-address-to-a-joint-session

    • QET

      This is certainly the big risk. Not even Trump can bypass and ignore all of the other active political forces all of the time. But if Trump can’t, or won’t, do it, then it will prove that it cannot be done, period. There is such a thing in history as “too late,” and this may be the proof, if what you say turns out to be the case.

  • I’ve said only half jokingly for a while now, Trumps detractors and enemies are going to underestimate him all the way to Mount Rushmore.

  • BilltheBruinsFan

    Agreed, but any thoughts on Mr. Trump’s approach to health care? The Washington Post claims his reference to ‘helping low income Americans afford health care,’ signifies support for Paul Ryan’s advocacy of refundable tax credits, which conservatives oppose as creating yet another entitlement. I hope it doesn’t signiffy that….

  • Epaminondas

    “…a septuagenarian, white, southerner who represents a past that the Democrats should be trying to forget, gave the rebuttal to Trump’s inventive and original speech.”

    Excuse me, but Southerners have done much better with racial relations than Northerners since 1964. And keep in mind that all those “evil”, white, conservative Southerners left the Democrat party in the 1980s because the leftists, who purged that party of conservatives and installed a rigid politically correct agenda, no longer wanted conservatives around. Southerners therefore came over to the Republican party in mass and delivered political power to the GOP. So the people you are excoriating are the people who made possible Trump’s election. You might want to put your brain in motion ahead of your tongue next time. And no, we’re not going to apologize for slavery. Guilt mongerers on the left can join you in that endeavor.

  • BilltheBruinsFan

    Did anyone else notice Mr. Trump’s plugs for this site through the repeated use of phrase, “American greatness?” I enjoyed many Trump speeches throughout the campaign, but never heard him use that particular turn of phrase.

    • CosmotKat

      I think you are reaching here. Coincidence more likely, but the speech was great.