President Donald Trump’s first major speech to Congress became an important occasion. The address that happened Tuesday night was not State of the Union technically, but it unusually served the exact purpose which was to outline the priorities of the President, as well as the policy agency for 2017.
The State of the Union address, for many presidents, can feel mechanical. They mostly iterate the policies that they have suggested in the past years or in press releases in an effort to get the Congress to approve of them.
In 2005, former Pres. George W. Bush asked to privatize Social Security which he was working on for months. In 2013, former Pres. Barack Obama called for the passing of the immigration reform which was his longstanding priority.
Both did not make the headlines. However, Trump is the hardest to pin down in comparison to all of his predecessors. He is known as the President who repeats the opinion of those who spoke with him last. The public is often forced to make Kremlinological interpretations to all of his statements.
Last Tuesday night was the President’s chance to provide clarity on everything that he stands for and to issue clear directives on what the Congress should decide on the tax reform, Obamacare, immigration, and infrastructure. This was his chance of bringing his party in line on a common and specific agenda.
Yet, that did not happen. Instead, the Congress heard his usual rhetorical hits again. Trump’s critics interpret his encomia to military personnel and law enforcement as sinister which is a sign that he is not afraid to use institutions of violence in order to secure his power.
Although this remains debatable, what strikes us is that Trump did not only offer rhetorical tribute to the men and women of America in uniform, but he also promised overflowing piles of dollars to the country’s armed forces.
According to Trump, he will be sending a budget proposal to the Congress that will rebuild the military, eliminate the Defense sequester, as well as call for probably the largest increase in the state’s defense spending.
“My budget will increase the funding for the veterans of the country as well,” he added.
Trump was not very specific on his intentions for the law enforcement. He made one thing clear, however, and that was the fact that General Jeff Sessions won’t be commissioning damning reports that examine police departments misconduct which two Attorney Generals did. Trump said that the administration and the American people must work with law enforcement, and not against it. He emphasized in his speech how the law enforcement and all victims of crime need support.
Trump’s message was clear: The country’s soldiers and law enforcement should be protected from massive cuts that will be affecting all other government activities. The speech solidified soldiers and cops as Trump’s poster children in his brand of hostile, aggressive nationalism.