Tags: Donald Trump | Immigration | Trump Administration | border wall | government shutdown | oval office | speech

Pundits Say Trump Made Good Speech, But Who Did He Move?

president donald trump speaks from the oval office
President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 09 January 2019 07:04 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Pollsters, political consultants, and political scientists generally agreed President Donald Trump performed well Tuesday night in his first televised address from the Oval Office.

But, almost to a person, the same observers voiced doubts as to whether he changed the political landscape or moved any undecided voters to support his controversial $5.7 billion to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S.

"It was a fine speech, but I don't see it moving the Democrats," Ari Fleischer, press secretary to President George W. Bush from 2001-'03 and now a private consultant, told Newsmax.

Fleischer added Trump's "refusal to compromise by spending $2.5 billion on a wall is frustrating. All it takes to solve this is a compromise."

Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center agreed.

"Trump's tone was a big improvement, but I'd be surprised if the speech or the response [from congressional Democrats] changes many minds," said Olsen, author of the much-praised book, "The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism."

The arguments Trump made, Olsen told us "are largely the same as we've been hearing for months. The focus on violence and drugs just is too remote for most people to think it's really a crisis rather than a problem."

G. Terry Madonna, widely considered the premier pollster in Pennsylvania, agreed Trump "was very presidential. He made arguments he has made before without the disruptive rhetoric."

But Madonna also agreed "the two camps [in the debate over illegal immigration] are too locked in, with no end in sight. There is plenty of room for compromise but not likely to be quickly accomplished."

Steve Mitchell, the dean of Michigan pollsters, agreed. 

"It is difficult to tell a story in a short time, but I think it was needed," Mitchell told us. "I would have directly quoted [Senate Democratic Leader Charles] Schumer and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi on their support for a wall prior to the Trump presidency. I don't think this will move Independents."

Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute dismissed the presidential address as a "nothingburger. I call it Miller Lite [a reference to White House staffer Steve Miller, considered Trump's top adviser on immigration]. Nothing that will move the ball or change a thing."

"The president's speech was concise, persuasive, compassionate, and presidential," veteran North Carolina political analyst Marc Rotterman told Newsmax. "It most likely will be panned by the Democratic Left and many of its allies in the media, but I think Mr. Trump will get a buy-in from many Americans outside of Washington D.C.

"From my perspective it was a home run."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Pollsters and political consultants agree President Donald Trump made a good speech, but they doubt whether it changed any minds, Newsmax's John Gizzi reports.
border wall, government shutdown, oval office, speech
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2019-04-09
Wednesday, 09 January 2019 07:04 AM
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