The Trump presidency begins with populist themes | Arkansas Blog

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Trump presidency begins with populist themes

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 11:10 AM

click to enlarge THE PRESIDENT: He flashed a thumbs up en route to taking the oath.
  • THE PRESIDENT: He flashed a thumbs up en route to taking the oath.
Donald J. Trump has been sworn in as president of the United States. He began with a 16.5-minute speech emphasizing populism — that he's returning power to the people.

A "small group in Washington" have reaped the rewards too long. "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer." Trump said politicians and insiders had flourished and the "establishment protected itself," but not citizens. "Their victories have not been your victories."

The Trump cabinet seems more representative of the prospering class than the "forgotten," but we shall see. He promised protectionist trade policies to fight back against countries that have taken U.S. wealth. On this, he's already had words of reservation from people like Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who understands how important international trade is to, for example, the state's agriculture industry and major corporate players such as Walmart and Tyson.

He promised a strong defense, a big infrastructure program and more jobs.  He said, "We'll follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American."

He promised not to impose the American way on other countries, but said he'd "unite the civilized world" to "eradicate" radical Islam from the face of the earth.

click to enlarge THE CLINTONS: En route to the oath ceremony.
  • THE CLINTONS: En route to the oath ceremony.
Trump generally avoided his normal pokes at opponents, though he did invoke those who were "all talk and no action." Hard not to read that as a jab at Rep. John Lewis, whom Trump had described that way. Lewis and dozens of other Democratic members of Congress didn't attend events today, though Hillary Clinton, defeated by Trump in the electoral college, though not the popular vote, was there with former President Bill Clinton.

Hillary Clinton Tweeted before the event:

I'm here today to honor our democracy & its enduring values. I will never stop believing in our country & its future.

He did call for a healing of divisions and said there was no room for prejudice. He finished, naturally, with a vow to make America great again. And a fist pump. The speech won't draw comparisons with Kennedy or Lincoln. A cut-and-paste of campaign rhetoric, said one  Twitter analysis.

Here's a transcript.

There was no "pivot" to a new Trump. I noted this comment from Bill Kristol, a mainstream conservative and Trump foe:

I'll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here: It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim "America First."

The inaugural crowd was noticeably smaller than those that gathered for recent inaugurations, particularly those of Barack Obama. Trump would undoubtedly say his supporters had to work. He's left with a recovering economy, a low unemployment rate and other economic indicators that some say are the ingredients for even more prosperous four years.

PS: The Women's March tomorrow promises to bring a big crowd to Washington. They won't be using the mall, so direct photo comparisons won't be possible. But anecdotal evidence suggests a vast number of Pink Pussy Hats will be on display.

PPS: The inaugural parade route  also had many thinly populated stretches, though a good crowd around his hotel. Weather is bad though. Reviews on the speech are not enthusiastic.

click to enlarge SIDE BY SIDE: Obama crowd v. Trump crowd. - VOX
  • Vox
  • SIDE BY SIDE: Obama crowd v. Trump crowd.

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