By Caleb Slater, Columnist “The Compassionate Conservative”
“Ryan died as he lived — a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation. … Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country and for our freedom — we will never forget him,” the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, declared in his first address before a joint session of Congress.
President Trump’s address, given before the 115th joint session of Congress, was intended to establish his plans to tackle the issues of our nation over the next four years. The Commander-in-chief, Donald J. Trump, approached the lectern with the same fervor viewers have noted over his relatively short political career. The viewers at home quickly realized that the man who spoke before Congress was not the tone of the raw politically incorrect celebrity they had grown accustomed to, but rather a more reserved and soft spoken leader who was prepared to lead the nation into a new era. The man who spoke before Congress was Donald J. Trump in his most presidential appearance to this date.
The president was prepared, and he presented his aspirations for the nation in a structured format that broke the flow of his usual off-the-cuff style. A Trump speech tends to consist of non sequiturs and fragmented concepts that are phrased in a way that appears less like a speech and more like a conversation. In front of Congress, however, Trump managed to address his concerns to the nation in an orderly fashion, and that proved to be quite successful. President Trump succeeded in unifying the nation for the first time, with 7 in 10 viewers saying the speech made them feel more optimistic about the direction of this country.
The night began with a condemning of recent threats among the Jewish community, amidst deep criticism for failure to act swiftly in denouncing the hateful acts.
“Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries … remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms,” Trump said to roaring applause.
President Trump’s best political tactic of the night was his inclusion of guests with backstories to push specific policies. An example of a policy that he used a guest to push was cutting regulations within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Trump has a history of discussing plans to cut FDA regulations, with the hopes that life-saving drugs can be supplied to the market much more swiftly.
To stress the importance of why the drug approval process must be improved, Trump invited a 20-year-old survivor of Pompe disease named Megan Crowley. Crowley suffers from a rare and life-threatening illness and was not expected to live past the age of five. It was because of the resources her father had to start up a company and create a life-saving drug that Crowley is still alive today. Most Americans do not have the resources, or the capital, to invest in creating a life-saving drug.
Although the FDA is well intentioned, their over-regulation is doing more harm than good. Think of an overprotective parent. They are well intended, but by not allowing their child to explore the world around them, they are actually harming the development of the child. Similarly, the FDA is well intended, but over-regulation prevents life-saving drugs from being released in a more timely fashion.
As the president stated in his speech, “If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA but across our government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles like Megan.”
As a conservative who believes in trimming the fat of unnecessary government spending, I could not resist the urge to cheer when Trump mentioned his intentions to cut FDA regulations.
None of the guests created as much national attention than that of Carryn Owens, widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator William “Ryan” Owens. Owens died in a controversial raid on an al-Qaeda compound in the Al Bayda province to attain intelligence to assist in the war on terror. The mission was initially approved by the Obama administration, yet occurred while Trump was Commander-in-chief.
Trump’s decision to pay tribute to the life of fallen soldier was considered the highlight of the night by many, including Van Jones, who, despite his sharp opposition of the president in the past, praised the performance.
“He became President of the United States in that moment,” Jones said. “That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics, period. And he did something extraordinary. And for people who have been hoping that he would become unifying, hoping that he might find some way to become presidential, they should be happy with that moment.”
For Caleb’s full thoughts, check out the JCS podcast here.