Donald Trump tried to deliver an inauguration speech for the ages today, and instead he ended up essentially delivering his standard campaign rally speech in a manner which made him sound like he might have taken a sedative. There was the usual elementary school level verbiage, the usual fiction about bringing factory jobs back, the usual promise that we’re all going to be rich, and a weird moment where he thanked President Obama by name and then immediately proceeded to trash him.
For a moment it seemed Trump might have been on track to give a dignified speech. But after he made a point of thanking past presidents by name, and Barack Obama in particular, things went south rather quickly. He quickly pivoted to blaming existing politicians for everything that’s supposedly wrong with Washington, and insisting he’ll undo everything that’s being done. He then went on to speak directly to the white trash voters who elected him, insisting that they’re the special ones now, and that it’s their country now.
Trump also went on to tell these people that he’ll magically bring their factory jobs back, even though anyone with an understanding of economics knows those kinds of jobs are gone. He also implied that he’ll make all of his poor white trash supporters wealthy, because apparently these factory jobs pay a whole lot more money than anyone is aware. He also went on to use phrases like “radical Islamic terrorism,” marking the first time someone has made a racist remark in an inauguration speech in so many generations we’d have to look it up.
Donald Trump did have a few moments where he sounded vaguely sincere. But after all he’s said and done over the past year and a half, does anyone take him seriously when he says he’s going to unite America? By the end of his speech, he was clipping his words and was nearly shouting, as if he were back at one of his divisive racist campaign rallies. Based on his rhetoric today, he might as well have been.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report