A presidential speech before Congress is one of those typically American acts that ooze ritual and decorum. Standing at the back of the room, the usher will announce the arrival of Donald Trump to the joint session of the cameras with the well-known phrase, “the President of the United States.”
Trump will walk down the center aisle between enthusiastic applause and strong Republican hand shakes. First Lady Melania Trump, accompanied by special guests, will smile from the tall gallery.
However from that point on the president can head in any of many possible directions. So can the Democratic opposition.
The White House promises that Trump’s first speech to Congress will focus on the future with a view to “renewing the American spirit.”
Facing millions of viewers in the country and the world, Trump will have the opportunity to rethink his mandate after a chaotic start in which he baffled foreign rulers, furiously attacked the leaked information, fought a pitched battle against the press and saw how the Courts thwarted their first steps on immigration.
Probably Trump will highlight some initial achievements such as Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court and a series of decrees to eliminate regulations.
Presidential Advisor Kellyanne Conway told CTN News that “Trump’s speech will not be boring because Donald Trump is not boring.”
The formal realm of the House of Representatives is not the most appropriate for Trump, who won the White House with an incoherent discursive style in noisy campaigning and wearing a red cap with the caption “Make America Great Again”).
Trump has shown that he is able to stick to a script, but not necessarily the one people expect.
His inaugural address, which is usually an expression of optimism, was a lugubrious description of “American carnage.”
One also has to wonder how Democrats will respond, especially if they are emboldened by Trump opponents who have come in large numbers in the community assemblies attended by legislators in their districts.
They have already invited immigrants and foreigners to the speech, as a choreographed counterpoint to their anti-immigrant policies.
There is no shortage of resentment among the Democrats. Trump has mocked his Senate leader Chuck Schumer, calling him “boss of the clowns” and “lightweight,” and underestimating him for shedding “false tears” by those who can not enter the United States.
The president seems to have a cordial relationship with Republican lawmakers. He speaks often with House Speaker Paul Ryan, but Republican lawmakers are waiting impatiently for details of the president’s position on issues such as tax reform, repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care bill and Trade policy.
Asked what he wanted to hear in Trump’s speech, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “A tweet-free, optimistic and uplifting message on the direction the United States should take.”