If Friday’s inauguration address was any indication, President Donald Trump doesn’t think much of the state of the nation he now leads.
Rather than quote from specific passages of his short speech, here’s part of a list compiled by The Washington Post of all the words President Trump used for the first time in any inaugural address in the country’s history: “bleed,” “carnage,” “depletion,” “ripped,” “rusted,” “sad,” “stealing,” “stolen,” “tombstones,” “trapped” and “unrealized.”
There’s a good reason those words haven’t appeared in any president’s term-opening speech before. Presidents usually try to use this opportunity to unite the country and talk about what makes us who we are. So many legendary quotes have sprung from this occasion. From Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none, with charity for all,” to John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you” this has traditionally been seen as a time to set aside petty differences and coalesce around our shared values.
Trump (or chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior adviser Stephen Miller, who, according to the Wall Street Journal, actually wrote the speech) decided to take a different route. The text presented a new version of the same campaign speech Trump delivered at his rallies for over a year. Now that he’s president, he’s not just speaking to those who supported his candidacy, but the whole country. The difference in tone was stark.
So what hope can we draw from this? Well, if Trump is correct, he and he alone can fix the problems he’s outlined. Drawing from the pre-World War II isolationist group, America First Committee, Trump pledged: “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first.”
Trump has made his name and secured the presidency by playing the outsider. Now, he is all the way inside. We as a country should hope he delivers on the incredibly lofty promises. He’s in charge now.