What can we expect to hear from President Donald Trump after he takes the oath of office two hours from now? Will he sound like Candidate Donald Trump, who used his brash and aggressive rhetoric to belittle his opponents and fire up his base, or will the event inspire Trump to take a different tack? Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer tells Matt Lauer, Nicolle Wallace, and Chuck Todd on NBC’s Today that Trump will take a more “philosophical” approach in his inaugural address, mindful that the election is over.
That was only a small part of the conversation, however:
We’ll have more on the FBI investigation in a separate post, but be sure to watch to the end, when the panel discusses the “peaceful transition of Twitter.” Spicer offers praise to the outgoing administration for their cooperation, and jokes about replacing “Josh Earnest’s beautiful face” with his own on the official press secretary account.
Kellyanne Conway goes a little farther in characterizing the speech, claiming it to be “beautifully written,” a speech that will provide “a wonderful opportunity to start to heal and unify the country”:
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Conway does drop one surprising description in the middle of a string of adjectives: brief. Trump was well known for his lengthy, extemporaneous rally appearances, and one would expect a man who clearly enjoys the stage to stay on it a while during his triumph. That suggests, as Spicer also hinted, that Trump won’t get into a detailed regurgitation of his stump speeches and campaign pledges, but reflect more on the meaning of his election and his philosophy of governance.
It also suggests that Trump wants to get to work. Earlier, a commenter reported on one of the media’s live-stream coverage of today’s events that Trump had initially wanted to go from the inauguration directly back to the Oval Office to start working on executive orders, only to reluctantly agree to follow the ceremonial protocol. If nothing else, Trump seems anxious to prove himself, and he knows that’s not going to happen on the dais.
How will America react to the inaugural speech, and of the Trump presidency in general? As the Washington Post points out, most will see it through the lenses of partisanship anyway, which is another good reason to keep the speeches brief from now on:
It was only about two decades ago that Americans’ overall views of the country and economy weren’t guided so strongly by their party preferences. During Bill Clinton’s two terms in office, there was only a three-point average gap in Democrats’ and Republicans’ positive ratings of the economy, but that surged to 36 percent during George W. Bush’s presidency and stood at 20 percent during Obama’s. This drop in party divide is due to Democrats and Republicans both seeing the economy negatively throughout Obama’s first term.
Whatever the actual performance of Trump as president and strength of the country, Americans may have sharply different views.