I’m on a train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, and was unable to watch President Trump’s speech to Congress. But by press accounts, it was a winner. The New York Times said he “sounded as presidential as he ever has since taking office.” The Washington Post called it “the best ‘big’ speech he has given as president” and possibly “the best speech Trump has given since he entered politics way back in June 2015.” The Wall Street Journal said it was “an inclusive, generous, and bipartisan message,” free of the usual “bombast”—if not the usual exaggeration.
To win such praise from a press he recently dubbed “the enemy of the American people” is no small thing—and the best sign yet that the Trump administration may be settling into some version of regular order.
The President nodded to an honor roll of companies that have recently pledged to “invest billions of dollars” and create “tens of thousands of jobs” in the U.S.: Ford, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart.
And he foreshadowed an ambitious economic agenda, that included:
- A “historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone.”
- “Massive tax relief for the American worker.”
- A “merit-based immigration system” that will replace the “current system of lower-skilled immigration.”
- A $1 trillion investment in infrastructure, financed through “both public and private capital.”
- A health care bill that, while repealing ‘Obamacare,’ keeps coverage for pre-existing conditions, provides tax credits and health savings accounts to help people purchase insurance, and gives states “resources and flexibility” to provide expanded Medicaid coverage.
- New measures to make “childcare accessible and affordable,” to “ensure new parents have paid family leave,” to “invest in women’s health,” to promote “clean air and clear water,” and to “rebuild our military.”
No details on how to pay for this largesse, although the President did skirt close to an endorsement of protective tariffs, quoting Lincoln as his precedent.
Click here to read the full speech.