I didn’ t watch most of the presidential inauguration today, but I did make it a point to watch Donald Trump’s inauguration speech. I must give President Trump credit. He has greatly improved in his ability to read a pre-written speech from a TelePrompter. During the early part of his campaign, he would read from the TelePrompter to his left, seldom looking at the audience. Today, he was able to shift his gaze to the audience with only short glances at both the left and right screens. He is improving as a speechifier.
The speech was certainly not a typical speech for a new president. Incoming presidents usually try to uplift their audience by painting an optimistic picture of the country. However, as Politico wrote, “Trump painted a dark picture of a broken America that does not comport with official statistics showing a 4.9 percent jobless rate, rising wages and third-quarter growth of over 3 percent.”
The stock market optimistically rose before Donald Trump began speaking, but as the speech progressed, the market turned around and gave back its gains. Business people once thought that a Trump presidency could be good for them by cutting their taxes and reducing their regulations. Now, doubts are setting in. More business analysts are beginning to believe that Donald Trump may turn out to be a disaster for the United States economy.
Of course, when he speaks off the cuff, Donald Trump uses a quite limited vocabulary and short, direct sentences. He tends to repeat words that he finds significant over and over. The word that I most associate with Donald Trump is the adjective “beautiful.” However, this is not an essay about Donald Trump’s limited active vocabulary.
I will not recap the content of Donald Trump’s inauguration speech here. Anyone who missed it and wants to see it can use Google to find an online video. However, I will mention that Donald Trump made a long list of promises without mentioning how he is can possibly comply with with those promises. He seems to not yet have realized that the president of the United States does not have dictatorial powers. Most of the things that Donald Trump has promised to accomplish will require Congressional approval and in some cases even an amendment to the United States Constitution. With almost all Democrats and a sizable number of Republicans opposing President Trump, he may have difficulty getting his proposals through Congress.
However, anyone who has followed Donald Trump’s campaign knows that he says what he does not mean, and he does not mean what he says.
I always admired the words with which Barack Obama ended his speeches, “God bless the United States of America.” As Barack Obama realized, the United States of America is the correct name of this country. Donald Trump reverted to George Bush’s “God bless America.” Although many people, especially Europeans, conflate the word “America” with the “United States of America,” I am a stickler enough to point out the “America” is not the name of two continents, not the name of a single country. The United States is an American country. So is Chile. Uruguay is an American country. My insistence on our not verbally claiming the entire North and South American continents for ourselves may seem pedantic to some, but many Central and South Americans resent the fact that we rob them of their identity by claiming the American identity for ourselves alone.
In Latin America there is a saying, “americanos somos todos,” we are all Americans: Venezuelans, Colombians, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Chileans, Haitians, Brazilians, Argentinians, Mexicans. However, I doubt that Donald Trump believes that.
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