President Donald Trump has indeed undergone a major shift in his relationship with the American public.
On Feb. 28, Trump delivered an address to a joint session of Congress, marking the first time that he has given a major speech since his inauguration back in January. According to The New York Times, there was a notable difference in style between Trump's congressional speech and several statements he made during both his campaign and first five weeks in office.
It is clear that this speech at the very least marks a change in attitude for Trump, as evidenced by the differences between his inaugural and congressional addresses. While his inaugural speech was largely focused on the shortcomings of the United States -- citing such things as poverty and gun violence -- Trump's speech to Congress carried a tone of hope.
"Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice, in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present," Trump said at the beginning of his speech. "That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world."
Throughout the rest of his speech, Trump went on to list many of the accomplishments that he believes his administration has accomplished thus far, citing changes in immigration policy as well as the headway made on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. While he admitted several times that he believes that there is still work to be done, his speech seemed to carry a tone of overall optimism that stood in stark contrast to the more subdued tone of his inaugural address.
Trump's speech was well-received by members from both parties. According to CNN, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota indicated that she was very impressed with Trump's address. "It was delivered with a sense of 'this is who I am, this is what I want to accomplish' and I think the goals are great," she said. Her only reservation regarding the speech seemed to be whether Trump could deliver on the promises he made during it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed sentiments similar to that of his colleague. "Donald Trump did indeed become presidential tonight," he said, according to CNN, "and I think we'll see that reflected in a higher approval rating."
McConnell's assertion that Trump's speech was "presidential" was another point of praise for Trump's speech. For example, according to the New York Times, Trump faced much criticism at the beginning of his term for tweets accusing the media of modifying the size of the inaugural crowd in photographs. Trump's desire expressed during his speech to move past "trivial" matters seems to indicate an acknowledgment of this incident, and a commitment to behave differently in the future.
Only time will tell if these apparent shifts in Trump's demeanor will continue. However, it is clear that -- at least for the time being -- Trump has indeed pivoted from an attitude of despair and anger to one of cooperation and hope; he has become a politician.