Thursday, March 2, 2017

TRUMP WATCH #19: Watch what he does not what he Says

Because of Donald Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress, we interrupt the recently launched issues-based posts of MORNING PETE to return temporarily to TRUMP WATCH

I didn’t watch his speech. I knew it would be a distraction from the issues. What I didn’t quite expect, however, were three things:
  • That his handlers would be able to craft a speech that would “sound” conciliatory, even presidential, while at the same time would let his base know that he was not, in fact, abandoning his promises to them
  • That he would be able to remain pretty much on script throughout this hour-long speech, the second-longest first speech by a new President to a joint session of Congress
  • That online commentators for NPR(and others) would (initially, at least) be taken in by the tone and critique it as if he were a “normal” president.
This last point is the most troubling to me: the media that we depend on to hold Trump’s feet to the fire simply cannot fall into the trap of “normalizing” him. On this, I am in total agreement with Charles Blow’s December 19, 2016 end-of-year NY Times Op-Ed piece Donald Trump, This Is Not Normal!

It was thus encouraging to read in today’s NYTimes a much more skeptical analysis of Trump’s speech, which I recommend that you read and then join me in getting past this temporary distraction and back to the issues. (Stay tuned!)

 * CORRECTION: In my initial post of TRUMP WATCH #19, I inadvertently erred in stating that the online commentators on this speech to the joint session of Congress were from the NY Times rather than NPR. The link I provided was also incorrect; it was to the NY Times annotation of Trump's inaugural speech, not  to his speech to the joint session of Congress.

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