For the first time since Trump’s Inauguration, there seems to be agreement between the majority of the main stream media, lawmakers and the American people. The consensus is that President Trump’s address to Congress was his best speech to date.

This success is primarily due to the positive tone of the speech that highlighted his “America First” worldview, as opposed to his Inauguration speech, which was criticized and derided for negativity and hostility. In both speeches, there are heavy nationalistic overtones, but the address to Congress shows that when he is more optimistic, it comes off as not only more presidential, but more uplifting and with a wider appeal.

CNN/ORC polling after the speech show this to be true with this speech making 69 percent of viewers more optimistic after watching the speech. In a similar poll by Politico, after the President’s Inaugural address only 51 percent of viewers used the word “optimistic” when describing the speech. This discrepancy highlights the difference in reception between the two speeches in regards to optimism felt by viewers. Trump saw even higher numbers in relation to his speech to Congress when viewers were asked what sort of reaction they had to it, with 78 percent of viewers reacting positively to the speech in general. The administration will be hoping that this response will boost his job approval numbers, which, per Rasmussen Reports, was at a 50 percent before his speech to congress.

So the question is — what exactly did people react positively to?

America First

Repeatedly in his speech to congress, we heard Trump speak of our duty to invest in and look out for our rights as a free nation.

“Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.”

In this statement, we see a very powerful gesture to the globalists in the UN and embedded in European politics. Many Americans, no matter what party they identify with, understand and enjoy the America-first message, because they recognize that there is a vast array of issues that need to be addressed domestically before we continue attempting to allocate our resources to every corner of this vast world.

Infrastructure

While traditional conservatives shuddered at the thought of more spending, many in America applauded the President’s urging of congress to pass a one trillion-dollar investment into America’s infrastructure. Trump began his plea by referring to Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s interstate highway project as the “last truly great national infrastructure program” and went on to state that “the time has come for a new program of national rebuilding”. Americans want to see the jobs that would hopefully come out of this policy. To attempt to sweeten the deal further, Trump offered the fact that these infrastructure programs include buying only from American material manufacturers, and many centrists and new Republicans are interested in his stating that this would be financed by both public and private capital.

Also on the infrastructure front, the President declared how proud he was of his team clearing “the way for construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines”. Once again stating how important it is that these pipelines are built with American steel rather than steel from overseas.

Borders

Naturally, this was a subject brought up in both Trump’s Inaugural address and his speech to congress, but what was the difference in tone? What is the best way of garnering attention and support from the entire nation, rather than just the base of conservatives? Asking the unpopular lawmakers an important question:

“To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question: what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or a loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”

A striking question that cuts into the debate over Illegal immigration. This question was framed as a positive one–it’s not accusing members of congress of being implicit in anyone’s death or loss of work. It simply poses a legitimate question that many of these members of congress would like to pretend doesn’t exist. When trying to garner support from a diverse nation, it seems that this approach works better. It may not be as exciting as the aggressive tone we know him for, but it may be more convincing.

Terrorism and Foreign Policy

Radical Islamic terrorism — it’s a phrase that has been stated more in this administration in a month than it has been in the last 8 years.

“We cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists”

Not only was this a statement underlining his commitment to extreme vetting procedures when it comes to the refugee program and immigration in general, but it is also a quiet reference to the growing problem of extremism among the Muslim communities in Europe–like the ones in London and Sweden. An issue that was brought into the spotlight recently when the President cited this growing problem and was even backed up by the Swedish domestic intelligence agency in a warning that it broadcasted to its citizens.

In a moment where nobody in the nation could be divided, Carryn Owens, the widow of Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, was recognized and stood for an applause that lasted more than two minutes. These are the kind of moments in these types of speeches that bring the entire viewing audience together. It was hard not to feel raw emotion as she looked upwards and cried for her husband. In a reassuring manner, the President stated that General Mattis’s confirmation:

“Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.”

The Secretary of Defense was referring to the raid in Yemen that took place on January 29th where 23 civilians and SCPO Owens were killed.

This speech had many different moments, some emotional, some invigorating and some leaving question marks. Overall it has been characterized as his best speech to date. Some reviews from lawmakers include House Speaker Paul Ryan who stated that it was “a home run” and Senator Ted Cruz who referred to it as a “positive, unifying vision for the country”. Of course, criticism came in from opposing party leaders, such as Nancy Pelosi, who stated that “the President’s speech was utterly disconnected from the cruel reality of his conduct”. Both sides of the isle did not agree on the content of the speech to congress. To some like Pelosi, the reason for its positive reception is because he hid his true thoughts and ideas. To others the reason behind it is because it was optimistic and highlighted American Nationalist ideals. Either way you look at it, the consensus is that this is the most professional that Trump has ever looked.

The question is, can he keep it up?

Lorenzo Riboni is a writer for The Pitt Maverick, writing for various sections on the site.

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