Donald Trump’s inaugural address was historic. Not because it was good, although it was very good indeed. But because it didn’t give an inch. Trump’s message to the world was: if you thought I wasn’t serious; if you thought I might go native; if you thought the weight of responsibility might force me to accept the conventional wisdom; forget it. I meant every word I’ve been saying for the last two years.
There were very few fancy turns of phrase, and those felt slightly false. For the most part, Trump’s sentences were like sledgehammers. He appealed strongly for unity among the American people, but he didn’t back off from his critique of the Washington establishment, most of which was assembled before him. Washington has enriched itself at the expense of the American people, Trump said, but that will end.
At some points, the speech was bracing. He pledged that the “civilized world” would wipe radical Islamic terrorism off the face of the Earth. That is something that most politicians wouldn’t say–not “radical Islamic terrorism” as much as his reference to the civilized world.
Some will say that Trump’s pledges to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and to reform our lavishly funded, but failing, public schools have no more prospect of success than Obama’s promise to stop the seas from rising. Time will tell. But after today, no one can doubt that Trump intends to put American interests first and to give priority to the “forgotten Americans” who more than anyone else fueled his campaign.
ONE MORE THING: CNN’s breaking news: President Trump is already signing executive orders. Good.