The Radical Change In Trump's 2018 State of the Union Address


During the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, he proposed several new policy initiatives including infrastructure repair, right to try for experimental drugs, and criminal justice reform. These are all important policy goals, but within the text of his address, I found something that struck me more than any of the goals he has in mind.

The most striking aspect of the entire address was the conciliatory tone. After a year of highly partisan and personal attacks left and right, the president put forth an address that called for national unity to confront our nation’s issues. Right from the start, he extended an olive branch to all members of Congress.

Some of the introductory parts of his address sharply contrasted with his usual rhetoric.

Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America's soul, and the steel in America's spine.

Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be.

He then mentioned the various difficulties that many of us have had to endure over the past year, the hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings; during these harrowing times, Americans came together in spite of party and ideological differences to help each other.

That kind of unity is rare these days, and we should seek to emulate that kind of compassion and self-sacrifice. More so, if we can do it, Congress must be able to extend its olive branches, and not just in the face of an attack on one of its own.

Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House -- a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.

We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room.

In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. 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 we were elected to serve.

That kind of language is strikingly different than his normal, and I’m glad to see that. The past two years have been so full of hatred and divisiveness, and it’s nice to finally see more unifying rhetoric coming from the man who has largely been the subject of that division.

I hope that this will become the new norm for the president’s rhetoric. Will it? Who knows, but this tone is something to which all of us should aspire.