On Feb. 28, President Donald Trump gave his first speech before a joint session of Congress since his term started.
History shows that presidents use this time to formally lie out their intentions for the next four years -- something both George W. Bush and Barack Obama managed to do nicely, according to The American Presidency Project.
Unfortunately, Trump is not known for his charisma or his ability to give invigorating speeches, as CNN notes. His inauguration speech was criticized for its dark tone, and every interview and debate he has participated in seems clouded by strange sentence structures and an obvious struggle to remain on topic.
According to The Independent, supporters would argue that this is reassuring -- our new president is human, and not a robotic politician that speaks in false promises. While the opposition would argue that Trump's lack of professionalism is worrisome when it comes to making Americans feel represented and maintaining America's strong position as the leader of the world.
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The New Yorker says that Trump is finally caving into his opposition's plea for change -- how "politician-like" of him. Perhaps it was his lowering approval rates, as noted by Graphiq, after the number of controversial executive orders he passed, as noted by Fox News. Or maybe it was the 100-plus bomb threats to Jewish community centers that CNN noted, or murder of innocent people of color in Kansas City. Whatever it was, Trump decided the time had come for his to take an intensive course on "How To Act Like a President 101," and it reflected so in his speech.
But just because Trump finally acted the part, doesn't mean anything has changed in his platforms and policies. And listening to the speech closely, it's clear his true colors peaked through.
Jane Praeger, a Columbia University professor and the president of the speech presentation and coaching firm Ovid Inc., told Forbes in an article about how to deliver a great speech: "Authenticity is key. ... You can't be someone you're not."
This couldn't be more true in response to Trump's speech, the transcript of which can be found in a New York Times Article. He is not a great speaker, he is not a moderator between two political parties and, as we can all see by looking at his resume, Trump is not a politician. But he now seems to be trying.
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A change in speech writers seemed necessary, especially given the cringe-worthy inauguration speech and First Lady Melania Trump's hiccup in plagiarism, as The Huffington Post reported. And whoever wrote this speech did a great job at making the president not sound like his usual self -- except for a few moments.
When discussing immigration policy, Trump, as usual, cited his promise that a "great, great wall" be built -- only this time, there was no reference as to who will pay for its construction. This is probably because Mexico's President, Enrique Pena Nieto, stated multiple times that Mexico will not be paying for it, the BBC reports.
The policy was followed by a sentence assuring the current removal of "gang members, drug dealers and criminals." But alas, Trump jumped in with what seemed like a phrase of personal improvisation.
"Bad ones are going out as I speak," he added.
Bad word choice doesn't seem to be a concern of his -- but there has to be a better way to describe lawbreakers other than "bad ones."
Briefly outlining his "historic tax reform," the president received a round of applause. To which he followed with one of his infamous fragmented sentences that hold little weight and professionalism
"It will be a big, big cut," he insisted after the room quieted down.
Trump may have reevaluated his take on presidential professionalism, but it still seems difficult for him to break this bad habit of feeding off of applause -- and this usually manifests into undeniably horrible improvisation and wretched sentences (or, oftentimes, fragments).
The room was eerily quiet at the start of the speech, compared to past speeches of this sort, according to New York Times reporters dedicated to analyzing the room's divisive reactions.
Carl Hulse, Chief Washington Correspondent to the Times, said: "I think everyone is holding their breath a bit."
Trump, despite his delivery, followed his routine.
He managed to include a subtle jab to the media regarding the alleged lack of coverage of individuals killed by undocumented immigrants, and repeated exaggerated claims of being handed over a chaotic, unsafe and enormously indebted America.
His facts were not always correct and he didn't budge even an inch on his policies. But he did so with grace, for the most part.
Now everyone is less focused on his political opinions, and more focused on his ability to perform.
Sources: The New Yorker, The American Presidency Project (2), The Independent, The New York Times (2), CNN (2), The Huffington Post, BBC, Graphiq, Fox News, Forbes / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr