• 57°

Cal Thomas: President reinvents himself

For Republicans who have been concerned that President Trump has not been specific about his policies and about where he wants to take the country, Tuesday night’s address to Congress and the nation was a welcome relief. For liberals, however, it was a problem precisely because he offered specifics.

Before the speech, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) repeated the overused claim that Trump wants tax cuts for wealthy Americans at the expense of the middle class. Is that the best he and his aging fellow Democrats can do?

While the Democrats remain frozen in a time warp of their own making, Trump’s speech was focused on solutions and full of optimism for a change. Finally gone were the dark utterances of the campaign about the sad shape of the country. This time the country heard positive solutions, even when Trump mentioned nagging problems, such as violent crime in our cities. To address that issue, he has named a Department of Homeland Security task force.

The president responded to criticism that he had not said much about recent attacks on Jewish cemeteries, saying “we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.” He even referenced Black History Month, reminding his audience that while civil rights progress has been made “much remains to be done.” Democrats joined Republicans in applauding.

Throughout the speech Trump asked for unity and for the parties to work together in the country’s interest, not their partisan interests. Good luck.

He touched on familiar themes — removing immigrants with criminal backgrounds and not allowing what he called “a beachhead of terrorism” to form inside America, taking “strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism” and immigrant vetting. “It is not compassionate,” he said, “but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.”

He pitched school choice as a civil rights issue and introduced Denisha Merriweather, an African-American woman in the gallery, who Trump said failed third grade twice before being given a tax voucher to attend a better school. She became the first in her family not only to graduate from high school, but from college. She will earn a master’s degree in social work later this year.

Donald Trump reinvented himself with this speech. Instead of the harsh and condemning personae he projected during the campaign and his first 100 days, the president displayed kindness, compassion and a love for America. Americans want their president to love the country and Trump gave them that.

“My job is not to represent the world,” he said. “My job is to represent the United States of America.”

At the end he said, “The time for small thinking is over,” and he called for “trivial fights” to be left behind. Glimpses on the faces of congressional Democrats does not offer much hope this will happen.

In an interview before the speech, presidential historian Jon Meacham told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly: “Great presidents don’t govern from their base, but from their base plus.” President Trump may have added some plus to his base with that speech.

Most Americans prefer optimism to pessimism and vision to uncertainty. Donald Trump promised to pivot from campaigner to president after he was inaugurated. It took him a little more than one month, but Tuesday night he made that pivot and it was pleasing to watch and soothing to the ear.

Now, can he keep it up?

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

(c) 2017 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Comments

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards