Opinion: Trump makes clear – again – his biggest presidential themes

President Donald Trump waves after taking the oath of office, Jan. 20, 2017. (Jim Bourg / Pool Photo via AP)

President Donald Trump waves after taking the oath of office, Jan. 20, 2017. (Jim Bourg / Pool Photo via AP)

Sometime last year — I think it was still during the primary — a Georgia politico told me that, if Donald Trump were to become president, he expected an inaugural address with a theme along these lines: “I am not a Republican, I am not a Democrat. I am one of you, the American people, and my loyalty is to you, not a political party.”

Trump wasn’t quite that explicit in his speech Friday after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. But he came a lot closer than many people — especially Republicans — might have guessed. Consider what he said just moments into the speech:

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government,” Trump said, “but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

This followed an extended exhortation against the establishment Trump ran against first in the GOP primary and eventually in the general election. If you think he was talking about only one party, or only the past eight years, you are mistaken:

“(T)oday, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people. For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”

Judging by what I’ve seen on social media, Democrats were more turned off by Trump’s speech than Republicans were. But Republicans, especially those in Congress, ought to recognize that he was putting them on notice as much as Democrats.

Beyond this anti-establishment rhetoric, I thought there were two other themes that capture what Trump will try to do in his presidency. One concerns America’s relationship with the world, which Trump said in the past has led to shuttered factories and trillions spent overseas rather than on maintaining our own country:

“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. … We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.”

The other concerns Americans’ relationships with one another. For everyone who said Trump’s speech was divisive, or missed the opportunity to preach unity, go back and consider these segments:

“At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

And:

“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 wind-swept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they will their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.”

Republicans have long struggled to find a way to bring racial and ethnic minorities into a bigger GOP tent without playing the identity politics Republicans so detest. I don’t know if Trump will be any more successful than others. But this indicates the way he will try to do it: Unity through patriotism, including economic patriotism, in opposition to the Washington elites and foreign nations.

React to Trump and Trumpism as you will, just don’t act surprised. He told us what he would do if elected, he told us again what he’s going to do now that he’s taken office, and all that’s left is to see if he can actually do it.

Reader Comments 0

346 comments
breckenridge
breckenridge

One must hope we are not going to have 4 years bickering over things that don't remotely matter, such as the size of the crowd at the inauguration.  If so, this will resemble an extension of Trump's reality show much more than an actual presidential administration.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Unfortunately, the Falcon's decisive win this afternoon is overshadowed by the tragic deaths in South Georgia from the tragic storms this morning. God Bless the families of their loved ones who lost their lives.

breckenridge
breckenridge

And so arguing about the size of the crowd at the inauguration has become the major issue of the day for the Trump administration.  Geesh.  It's kindergarten time in the White House.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@SGTGrit @breckenridge


Considering that the media generated the whole story about the inauguration size I'd have to say yes. Now that he's potus I think we can count on the lame stream media to focus on every petty little thing they can possibly come up with. 

mick2k
mick2k

@Finn-McCool @breckenridge Poor old media, sniffle, sniffle, they are so upstandingly dishonest at times they are hard to be believed. 

.

 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 The lawsuit is among a barrage of legal actions against the Trump administration that have been initiated or are being planned by major liberal advocacy organizations. Such suits are among the few outlets they have to challenge the administration now that Republicans are in control of the government.


Dear Department of Justice:


I am quite sure that if you did some snooping around in the lives and dealings of some current and former democrat politicians, you will find enough evidence to issue thousands of years of prison sentences. Matter of fact, I am almost positive you could. clinton, pelosi, reid, just start your list alphabetically. And always remember, you are now in charge of all of the levers of power and there is nothing that the investigated criminals can do about it.


Sincerely, 


AndyManUSA#45


LOCK THEM UP!

insideview
insideview

To all the Trumpsters , in the words of Charlie Brown " Wonk, Wonk, Wonk". It's call being the President. It's called America. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

So far the only themes I've been able to discern are lie, divide and be a royal d!ck.

About what I expected.

lvg
lvg

@Finn-McCool Constitution's restrictions on emoluments, and conflicts of interests do not apply to His Highness.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

That picture of the Presidents and their wives on the steps on Friday?

The President with children by three different wives was the white one.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Thank you dirty birds for exposing that petulant little puke yellow punk for what he is. All the whining and moaning, temper tantrums and backstabbing, he acted just like a democrat. I am forever grateful to you. Good luck in two weeks! You're gonna need it.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Is sedition and treachery covered under the 1st Amendment? I think not.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Anyone else notice how the lamestream media hounds President Trump's every single solitary move after spending 8 years covering obozo with their tongues hanging out?

lvg
lvg

@AndyManUSA#45 Time to abolish the First amendment or limit it to reporters selected by Brannon, Spicer and Conway

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

KELLYANNE CONWAY:


And on this matter of crowd size I think it is a symbol for the unfair and incomplete treatment that this president often receives. I'm very heartened to see Nielsen just came out with the ratings, 31 million people watching the inauguration. President Obama had 20.5 million watching his second inauguration four short years ago. So we know people are also watching the inauguration on different screens and in different modes. And that there was, I mean, for me there was a prediction of a downpour of rain. I think that deterred many people from coming. But no question there were hundreds of thousands of people out on the mall and—


CHUCK TODD: (Like he can’t even hear what she is saying.)


Then explain, you did not answer the question, why did the president send out his press secretary, who's not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump. He could be-- He also serves as the spokesperson for all of America at times. He speaks for all of the country at times. Why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium to utter a provable falsehood? It's a small thing. But the first time he confronts the public it's a falsehood?


KELLYANNE CONWAY:


Chuck, I mean, if we're going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we're going to have to rethink our relationship here.


White House Security Gate, pmsnbc on the other side of it.


KELLYANNE CONWAY:


Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What-- You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that….. I don't think you can prove those numbers one way or the other. There's no way to really quantify crowds. We all know that.


LOCK THEM OUT!

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Looks like the media is going to stand firm against Trump right off the bat.

They waited too long to confront the W lies and, by then, it was too late.

Even Chris Wallace at Fox News told Preibus the Pres needs to straighten up.

breckenridge
breckenridge

It's the Trump era, the era of alternative facts.  Yeah, alternative facts, as opposed to....outright lies. Complete bullchit.

JamVet
JamVet

I think Andy's drumpf knee pads are on a bit too tight...

lvg
lvg

@JamVet He has a thing for Smelly Anne.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Uh oh


By my draft research, which I’m opening up for crowd-sourcing on GoogleDocs, Soros has funded, or has close relationships with, at least 56 of the march’s “partners,” including “key partners” Planned Parenthood, which opposes Trump’s anti-abortion policy, and the National Resource Defense Council, which opposes Trump’s environmental policies. The other Soros ties with “Women’s March” organizations include the partisan MoveOn.org (which was fiercely pro-Clinton), the National Action Network (which has a former executive director lauded by Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as “a leader of tomorrow” as a march co-chair and another official as “the head of logistics”). Other Soros grantees who are “partners” in the march are the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. March organizers and the organizations identified here haven’t yet returned queries for comment.  


libs have to be paid before they protest? Wow, sounds like they are really committed to the cause. sarc/off


lol


http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/01/20/billionaire-george-soros-has-ties-to-more-than-50-partners-of-the-womens-march-on-washington/

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@AndyManUSA#45 per your link....A spokeswoman for Soros’s Open Society Foundations, said in a statement, “There have been many false reports about George Soros and the Open Society Foundations funding protests in the wake of the U.S. presidential elections. There is no truth to these reports

JamVet
JamVet

 Poor drumpfed dolts.

A miserable turn out and they blame the media.

Good times in the lying lunatic fringe...

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 And actually, Trump could have been seen by more viewers than either Obama or Reagan. Nielsen ratings do not account for online viewing, which has grown sharply in recent years and is far more commonplace than even four years ago. CNN.com, for example, clocked 16.9 million live streams, tying with its Election Day coverage for the site’s top event (live stream tallies are typically not apples-to-apples with Nielsen’s strict methodology of counting average viewers, but are still additive). Plus, portals like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter offered live streams as well.


Deal with it.


http://ew.com/tv/2017/01/21/trump-inauguration-ratings/

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

When your fuhrer has to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd, he's pretty much a failure already.

Fact

breckenridge
breckenridge

Last night and into this morning were devastating for some of the people in south Georgia.  My condolences.

lvg
lvg

Trump was counting people in Russia watching his inauguration when he said 1.5 million showed up.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Not all strip on command like his wife.


This isn't an attack on women?


Shallow little people.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

She was a s lut (and an illegal immigrant).

Just the facts, IReport, just the facts.

bu22
bu22

@Eye wonder Thought you said he hated immigrants.  He married two.

lvg
lvg

Trump doesn't get how offensive his campaign and GOP attacks on women's rights are to cause millions to march all over the world. Not all strip on command like his wife.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 This was a march defined by gender, not purpose - much like Clinton's campaign. And a march where the meaningless drivel of the speakers was matched by the lack of a clear aim of those marching.




But a shared sense of victimhood is not sufficient to make change happen. And at its most fundamental the unifying cause for these collected individuals is that they are not men.



They will not be silenced. That is clear. But they don't know what it is they are shouting about. Anger is not enough.




Hilary tried to win by doing everything they've just done today - by being a woman, a woman who wants to be the candidate for everyone who feels like a victim, who feels maligned by society. She was the candidate for every cause, but master of none.


Yes, it was a colossal waste of time.



 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4144242/KATIE-HOPKINS-Having-vagina-biology-not-argument.html#ixzz4WVGYP13V