Larry Kudlow, the Reagan administration economist who advised the Trump campaign on policy, said President Trump fulfilled his goals for the State of the Union speech last night. That is: Talk up key successes from his first year in office and show that he’s a selfless leader with real ideas.
“This speech last night had the same positive, cooperative tone as Davos,” Kudlow said, referring to Trump’s upbeat address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week. “He was extending his palms up to the Democratic side — which didn't really feel like getting out of their seat. But he did it several times. He's kind of saying, ‘Join me, these are good ideas: infrastructure, immigration and so forth. We can do this. Let's do it.'”
Speaking to a joint session of Congress, Trump predictably touted the “extraordinary success” of his administration’s first year while avoiding the nationalistic bombast, political volleys and combative tone that have characterized his behavior for years. The speech drew many rounds of applause from Republicans, while Democrats mostly sat stone-faced.
Trump's rhetoric contrasted with the “American carnage” message from his inauguration speech a year ago, when he trashed Washington's complacent lawmakers, bureaucrats, special interest groups, lobbyists and their media lapdogs for ignoring America’s dying middle class, violence-plagued cities and declining prestige in the world.
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people,” Trump said. “This, in fact, is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.”
Trump sounded grown-up and conciliarity, in a marked contrast from his Twitter messages that mock political opponents with nicknames and highlight "fake news" from the the country's most prestigious journalism organizations.
"As President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers and America's forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise," Trump said. "So, tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed."
Kudlow said the president’s tax reforms provide more incentive for companies to do business in America, which will help to drive growth, put people back to work and boost the tax base.
“Because of Trump's policies, particularly on the economy and taxes and so forth, we can have 3 percent to 4 percent growth for a whole bunch of years, and that will do more than anything else to lower the budget deficit,” Kudlow said on cable channel CNBC.
Trump has the weakest approval rating of any president of the modern era entering his second year in office, with 37 percent of Americans approving of his performance in the job, The New York Times reported. Congress has an even worse approval rating of 15 percent, while 75 percent of people surveyed disapprove of the legislative branch, according to Real Clear Politics.
“Under Mr. Trump, [Republicans have] become the reform party of ideas. The Democrats right now are not,” Kudlow said, contradicting media reports that criticized Trump’s speech for being devoid of workable policy. “Obama had ideas, I didn't agree with him, but I give him credit for ideas. Right now, the pendulum has swung. The GOP is the party of ideas. It's going to be great for the country.”
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