quarta-feira, 1 de março de 2017

Analysis: Trump shocks Congress with a speech that stuck to script / Donald Trump tones down the dark rhetoric

Donald Trump promised a ‘new chapter of American greatness’ in his first speech to Congress on Tuesday night that touched on immigration, healthcare and national security. Trump struck a largely positive tone in the address, in what was arguably his most presidential speech to date. Watch full highlights

Donald Trump honored Carryn Owens, the widow of US Navy Seal William ‘Ryan’ Owens, during his speech to Congress on Tuesday night. Owens was the only US fatality of a raid on al-Qaida in Yemen on 29 January which the Pentagon said killed 14 militants. However, local sources said 25 civilians were killed, including women and nine children under the age of 13. Trump called Owens ‘a warrior and a hero’

Analysis: Trump shocks Congress with a speech that stuck to script
The apocalyptic vision of ‘American carnage’ on show at the inauguration was replaced with the kind of broad, sunny platitudes Trump has rarely indulged in
The most shocking part of Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday was that there was nothing shocking at all.

Ben Jacobs in Washington
Wednesday 1 March 2017 04.36 GMT

Speaking before a joint session of Congress to an audience of senators, congressmen and women, supreme court justices and generals, Trump mostly stayed on script. He did not really brag about the size of his electoral victory (except to declare that in 2016 “the earth shifted beneath our feet”). He did not attack the media or go on any of his frequent verbal detours.

Trump - with only a few slips into “lawless chaos”- even mostly managed to avoid the dark apocalyptic tones that punctuated his acceptance speech at the Republican convention and his inaugural. There were no references to American carnage or claims that illegal drugs are now cheaper than candy bars.

Instead, he spoke in the broad sunny platitudes typical of most politicians but that he, the anti-politician, has rarely indulged in. Trump talked of a future where “our children will grow up in a nation of miracles” and when “we just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts”.

Trump did occasionally escape from the text. The most notable example was when the President said of Ryan Owens, the Navy Seal killed in a recent raid in Yemen whom he mentioned in his speech, was in heaven, pleased with the amount of applause he received “And Ryan is looking down, right now, you know that? And he’s very happy, because I think he just broke a record,” said Trump. It was undeniably awkward by standards of presidential addresses but would have barely been a footnote in most Trump rally speeches.

Democrats had warned members to avoid booing or heckling the president and for the most part they did. There were audible guffaws when Trump bragged about “draining the swamp” and groans when he discussed a newly created federal office that serves to advocate for victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

But no one shouted “you lie” or audibly disrupted the speech. The most gauche displays where when two Democratic members gave thumbs down signs when Trump called for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and when New York congressman Joe Crowley shook his hand in the air after Trump said “the time for trivial fights is over”. It was apparently a reference to the many trivial fights that Trump has engaged in, including debates over the size of his hands and the number of people who attended his inauguration.

Many Democratic women notably wore white, the color of suffrage and symbolic of protest and across the chamber, Democrats rarely applauded even for things where they agreed with Trump. In contrast, to past speeches to Congress where presidents received bipartisan applause for noncontroversial platitudes, many Democrats sat on their hands, refusing to acknowledge even the most anodyne statement from the President.

The only Democrat to stand with any frequency was Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate who is running for re-election in 2018 in West Virginia, a state where Trump had his strongest performance, winning nearly 70% of the vote.

Many Democrats did not even stand for a call for a major increase in infrastructure spending, something where Trump has long diverged with many in his own party. One Democrat urged others to stand as many Republicans sat awkwardly, eventually, tentatively, standing in support of their party’s leader.

Trump’s speech is not likely to change the political landscape. We have been here before, where he has seemed presidential on one day and launched a 6AM tweet storm the next, making any gains in gravitas temporary. But the occasion did show how divided the country and this Congress is. When Democrats won’t even stand or clap when Trump is talking about a fallen soldier, it’s not likely that they will be willing to make deals on infrastructure, let alone controversial topics like immigration reform.

It does not matter what Trump says or how formal the setting within which he speaks. No matter what words come out of Trump’s mouth, Democrats are only going to ever hear the echoes of “lock her up”.

Donald Trump tones down the dark rhetoric
The president ditches the talk of ‘American carnage’ and makes an appeal to ‘hopes and dreams’ in first speech before Congress.

By ELI STOKOLS 3/1/17, 5:05 AM CET Updated 3/1/17, 9:12 AM CET

U.S. President Donald Trump eased up on his deeply dark rhetoric during his first address before Congress on Tuesday night, instead infusing his speech with aspirational talk of Americans’ “hopes and dreams” while making bold promises about his presidency.

While Trump still engaged in some charged language — including his use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism” — the speech was far less confrontational than his “American carnage” inaugural address and arguably the most unifying moment of his divisive and chaotic first 39 days in office.

Reading almost exclusively from prepared remarks on a teleprompter, the president pledged to provide “massive” tax relief for the middle class, extinguish the “vile enemy” that is ISIS, and rebuild America’s military.

Trump called on Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that “expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better health care.” He laid out a broad outline of what an alternative would look like, but steered clear of specifics that could jam up negotiations among congressional Republicans.

Trump’s first speech to Congress is an attempt to stabilize his administration and improve his standing with the public, which views Trump more unfavorably than any other president after only a month in office.

He also declared that his administration is ready to work with both Republicans and Democrats to improve childcare, invest in women’s health, promote clean air and water, and to strengthen America’s infrastructure.

Not an official “State of the Union” address, Trump’s first speech to Congress is an attempt to stabilize his administration and improve his standing with the public, which views Trump more unfavorably than any other president after only a month in office, and with the members of Congress who will largely determine the nature and scope of his eventual accomplishments.

“Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people,” the president said. “The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us.”

Trump, who has stoked racial division with his brand of white identity politics, began his address with a nod to African-American history month and by recognizing that “work still remains” for the country to achieve its founding ideals. He also condemned a recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks targeting Jewish Community Centers and cemeteries. “While we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil,” Trump said.

Yet, his remarks included some of the partisan vitriol reminiscent of his campaign.

Trump implored Congress to act “to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster,” despite the significant increase in the number of Americans in favor of the landmark healthcare law that has insured an additional 20 million Americans. Unease is growing among congressional Republicans about the difficulty of following through on years of political promises to roll back the program.

“Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for America,” Trump said. “The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do.”

Although he didn’t say it as bluntly, Trump continued to speak about the supposed mess he inherited upon taking offices, citing lost manufacturing jobs, factory closures, the 43 million Americans on food stamps, a ballooning trade deficit and “a series of tragic foreign policy disasters.”

Trump ignored pleas from his newly appointed national security adviser H.R. McMaster to avoid the term “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Trump also touted the accomplishments of his first five weeks in office, highlighting executive orders related to trade, energy development and immigration and claiming credit for a rise in the stock market and a new, more advantageous deal to build a new generation of F-35 jet fighters — even though the contract was negotiated before he took office.

Vowing to keep his campaign promises to the American people, Trump reiterated his pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, despite skepticism among Republicans and Democrats in Congress that the project is worth its $25 billion-plus price tag.

Trump also claimed his revamped travel ban, likely to be signed on Wednesday, will keep the nation safe. “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America,” Trump said. “We cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”

After a robust discussion in the days leading up to Tuesday night’s speech, Trump ignored pleas from his newly appointed national security adviser H.R. McMaster to avoid the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” stating each word with added emphasis as he said he is “taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical…Islamic…terrorism.”

Trump on Tuesday night also outlined his administration’s budget proposal and what he described as “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”

In perhaps the most emotional and unexpected moment of the speech, Trump welcomed the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who died in a controversial raid in Yemen.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress have already signaled that the Trump budget, which also includes drastic cuts to the Department of State and Environmental Protection Agency budgets, is dead on arrival.

And after campaigning as an anti-immigration hard-liner, Trump issued a call for lawmakers to come together on immigration reform.

“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible,” Trump said.

But even as Trump urged lawmakers to come together, he cloaked his characteristic demagoguery on immigration issues in genuine concern and empathy for three invited guests seated in the gallery, all of whom have seen their loved ones, in the president’s words, “viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record.”

And in perhaps the most emotional and unexpected moment of the speech, Trump welcomed the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who died in a controversial raid in Yemen.

“I just spoke to General Mattis, just now, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, ‘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 enemy’,” Trump said.

In the moment, any lingering questions about whether the highly risky operation, approved by Trump’s new defense secretary, were swallowed up in the poignancy of the moment, as applause rose in the House chamber and the television cameras focused in on Carryn Owens’ tear-streaked face.

“Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity,” Trump said as the applause continued. “Thank you. Thank you.”

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