Presidential Historian: Trump’s Speech a ‘Direct Indictment of Obama & Status Quo’
(CNSNews.com) – Presidential historian Craig Shirley characterized President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address as “a direct indictment of Obama and the status quo” and “a declaration of war” against the Washington establishment.
In the 16-minute speech Trump delivered on Friday after he was sworn-in as the nation’s 45th president, he said that his inauguration was “not merely the transfer of power from one administration to another, and from one party to another.
“We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,” Trump told hundreds of thousands of supporters attending his swearing-in ceremony on the west front of the U.S. Capitol.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” Trump vowed.
The new president also assured the nation that the U.S. “will be protected by God” in the days ahead as “a new national pride” allows Americans “to heal our divisions”.
“Trump’s speech blended FDR’s Forgotten Man, [Ronald] Reagan’s conservatism, [Andrew] Jackson’s populism and [Charles] Lindberg’s America First,” said Shirley, a biographer of former President Ronald Reagan. “But there was also a generous helping of compassion. It was a direct indictment of Obama and the status quo.
“Invoking God was significant as was the uplifting nature of the end of his speech. It was a declaration of war against Washington and the status quo as surely as the colonies made against the British Empire. However, this war will be fought with ideas and passion.
“There were few memorable phrases [in the speech], but the battle has been enjoined,” Shirley added.
Conservative leaders also praised Trump’s speech for sending a clear message to the average American.
“Donald Trump once again spoke to Americans who don’t populate the corridors of power and made a solemn promise in clear, everyday words: ‘ I’ve got your back’,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told CNSNews.com.
“The important thing is that you don’t see him moving away from the themes that brought him to this point, which we’ve seen so often in the past,” Perkins told CNSNews. “He showed he was not equivocating. He promised to do what he said he would do.”
“It was a very pro-America, pro-little guy speech and a very effective speech for those who put Trump in office,” said Twila Brase, president and co-founder of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, which is urging Congress to completely repeal Obamacare.
“It was very focused on the average American, not the elites or politicians. He basically ignored all those elite folks sitting behind him. It was for people who really want the country to turn 180 degrees in the other direction.”
“His willingness to speak without apology about America’s special place in the world and national pride was a welcome departure from eight years of subtle (and often not so subtle) criticism and cynicism from the nation’s highest public office.
Trump is changing the tone and substance of the national debate over public policy, and it is a change that is long overdue.“Trump is changing the tone and substance of the national debate over public policy, and it is a change that is long overdue.
“Trump’s repeated promise to put the interests of Americans first sounded odd, to me and probably to many people listening to this address, because it is so rarely heard from our national elected leaders. But this promise was central to Trump’s appeal as a candidate, and it ought to be central to the beliefs and plans of all elected officials,” Bast continued.
“That it sounded strange coming from a president is only testimony to how far the nation’s elected officials, from both major parties, have strayed from the views of the Founding Fathers and the language of the Constitution of the United States.
“So too, Trump’s repeated references to God and his statement that Americans are ‘protected by God’. Such a claim is politically incorrect, as the globalists and ‘citizens of the world’ among us say it implies that God does not also look over the well-being of the citizens of other countries. One suspects their real objection is to the explicit assertion that God exists and pays attention to His creation. Good for Trump for saying out loud what millions of Americans believe and need to hear.”
Bast added that Trump “spoke to those who rightly resent the arrogance of President Obama and his sycophants in the mainstream media and elsewhere, who pretend to know better than teachers and parents what should be taught in the nation’s schools, better than patients what kind of health care they need and can choose, better than judges what is constitutional, and even better than scientists what is the truth behind complex issues such as climate change.
“Whether Donald Trump will be a good president remains to be seen, but this Inaugural Address (like his appointments to his Cabinet) is a very good sign of what lies ahead,” Bast said.
“For too long, D.C. has believed that ‘We the People’ exist to serve the government. This has been especially true over the last eight years. Today, President Trump spoke to the forgotten men and women of this country and promised a ‘new vision’. He promised a government that exists to serve its citizens and swears to put America first,” Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance, told CNSNews.com.
“I was in the Salt Lake City airport as he took the oath of office and loud cheers could be heard throughout the airport from groups gathered around television monitors,” Meckler added. “It is a new day. May God bless America.”
“President Trump received tens of millions of votes from Americans of all backgrounds, from all walks of life and every corner of this country, because he presented a vision of our nation that contrasted greatly with the disappointments and failures of the last eight years,” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement.
“Americans elected Trump because they sincerely believe he is the right leader to ‘Make America Great Again’ and he will do this by putting the interests of our country and its citizens first. We look forward to the opportunity to work with President Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a new system that prioritizes freedom over government control, secure our borders, reduce the size and scope of government while balancing our budget, and enacting an ‘America First’ trade policy.”
But others voiced disappointment with the tone and content of Trump’s first speech as president.
“It started with a darker tone than typical Inaugural Addresses,” said Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, a group dedicated to limited government and free markets.“Trump restated his major campaign themes, and it was an effective speech for his supporters,” Kerpen added, noting that “he has a lot of opportunity to do positive things.”
“It was certainly vintage Trump,” Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNSNews. “It sounded more like a campaign speech, and did not take the high road. But he certainly spoke to Americans who have been forgotten.”
“President Trump was right when he said that families across the country have been suffering while the nation’s capital has been celebrating, but I have to hope his speech does not signal all of his priorities for fixing the problems,” Jonathan Bydlak, founder and president of the Coaltion to Reduce Spending, told CNSNews.
“While his calls to reform education and overseas spending were as encouraging as recent reports of his plan for ‘dramatic cuts’, it was unsettling to hear the President largely avoid mentioning fiscal responsibility and promise massive infrastructure spending,” Bydlak said.
“His speech was inspiring, but let’s hope real solutions follow.”
Hayward: Trump’s ‘Nationalist’ Outreach–‘Black or Brown or White, We All Bleed the Same Red Blood of Patriots’
The great debate over what “nationalism” means will surely be filled by the closing passage of President Donald Trump’s inaugural speech:
A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again.
And, yes, together we will make America great again.
Trump’s inaugural address, reportedly written by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and senior advisor Stephen Miller, was criticized as aggressive, but it was largely an effort to explain what he meant by “Make America Great Again,” which is (thankfully!) a very aggressive idea. For an example of a passive campaign theme, try “Hope and Change.” There is nothing more passive than lying around and hoping some Santa Claus politician comes along with a bag of other people’s money to fix your life.
Trump was also criticized for delivering an inaugural address that sounded too much like his campaign speeches. This was necessary, because the mainstream media didn’t relay enough of what he said on the stump. They were too busy freaking out over whatever “outrageous” thing he said at any given rally.
It was appropriate for Trump to succinctly explain his platform to the widest audience he’ll ever have, both within and beyond America’s borders, with no media filter. Until now, most of the media commentary on “Make America Great Again” consisted of whining about how unfair it was to the inexplicably under-appreciated Barack Obama, mixed with the occasional lefty primal scream about how America was never great to begin with.
Perhaps most importantly, Trump used his inaugural to beat down the asinine smear of “white nationalism.” His talk of national pride has been corrupted to mean unthinking national chauvinism by the Left. “America first” is twisted to mean “screw everybody but America” (or, in the hands of the more mendacious critics, “screw the Jews.”) Then it gets twisted even further by welding the unspoken word “white” onto “nationalism,” transforming it into a racist call to arms.
The number of actual white nationalists who talk about white nationalism is vastly smaller than the number of liberals who insist that’s what they hear when Trump talks about “American pride.” Maybe it’s time for liberals to check in with their therapists and have a long talk about why they hear so many racist dog whistles.
In his inaugural, Trump could not have been more clear about the inclusiveness of his vision for American pride. “Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots” is about as clear as it gets.
Of course, the usual left-wing media swamis will declare they’ve looked inside Trump’s mind, and he didn’t really mean that. He just threw those words in because Kellyanne told him he needed a little racism insurance.
But everything about that speech, and everything Trump has said about resurgent American pride, and everything said by the people who want to reclaim nationalism from chauvinism, is inclusive. The point is to insist on both national priorities and national responsibilities, for everyone from newly-minted citizens at the immigration office to President Trump and his Cabinet.
The woman from Mexico who took her oath of citizenship yesterday is 100% American. The man from Mexico who slipped across the border in a coyote truck yesterday is not. President Trump has a long list of sacred duties to the woman, but not to the man. This is not a complicated idea, or a racist one, or really even a nationalist one. It’s Civics 101.
It’s also the idea global socialism must strangle, in order to survive. Liberals who rail against “nationalism” are primarily interested in creating a world of zero accountability for their maximum leaders. With borders erased, the Ruling Class can hack the electorate to suit its political needs, and their business partners can slash the cost of labor. “Internationalist” leaders are accountable to no nation’s citizens.
Trump’s inaugural address included a bold statement of the opposite principle. America’s president has neither control, nor responsibility, over the economies of other nations. He is responsible to Americans, from Nebraska to Detroit, as Trump put it. He set a very high bar for himself to clear by pointedly mentioning Detroit.
He also made a promise that no group will be preyed upon for the advantages of another. To be the president of all Americans means he is the sugar daddy of none. No more will the power of government be used to penalize groups the Left hates, and beat them into line with new social orthodoxies. No more will Washington dream up economic plans that benefit some, or even most, while designating certain “forgotten people” as lifetime losers who need to shut up and accept their fate.
Trump referred to “wealth” several times in his speech. “Wealth” means more than just money. Wealth benefits all, no matter how loudly socialists may screech about too much of it accruing to the One Percent. Some people got very rich by designing, building, and selling the device you’re staring at right now. You are wealthier than your grandparents, because you have it.
As for a proud America’s proper relationship with other nations, Trump said:
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.
We will shine for everyone to follow.
That’s not chauvinism, or imperialism. That’s the understanding America was founded upon. When Thomas Jefferson took his turn at the presidential bat, he called for “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” No one interpreted that to mean “to Hell with the rest of the world.”
Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but just about every other nation on Earth understands the concept of putting its own interests first, and believes it has a moral obligation to do so. The leaders of some other nations are very good at murmuring sweet globalist nothings into the ears of starry-eyed elites, but what they actually do is ruthlessly pursue their own national interests. The charade is made much easier for them by the universal understanding that America is supposed to be the one country that never gets to look out for itself, that has no moral right to protect its own interests.
Those are all much easier promises to make than keep, to be sure, but Trump did make them. It is wise to be skeptical, and hold his feet to the very large fire he built with that inaugural address.