Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress as president was a triumphant, defiant, and highly personal one.
But for many, it was also a cautionary tale about the dangers of ignoring the people’s will.
Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, delivered a speech that began by talking about the “great and glorious job” he’s done as president and the “invisible hand” that has made it possible.
“I am so proud to be your president.
We are a nation of laws and rules,” he said.
“You know, the Constitution says the president is elected by the people.
That’s how we run our government.”
Trump said the job of the president “is to be the guardian of the constitution and the rule of law” and to “protect, preserve, and defend it.”
He went on to describe a country that is in a “ticking time bomb” of “economic dislocation, rising crime, and terror.”
“Our country is in serious danger.
We have no choice but to act,” Trump said.
Trump’s speech was delivered at a time when Congress was in recess, but the country was not.
And while the House had voted to delay the inauguration, it would not have happened if the Senate had not been in session.
“Our president-to-be should be a president who knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an attack, to be attacked, to see people being attacked,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called Trump’s words “disheartening,” adding, “I don’t think you can just throw all of the nation’s resources at a president and expect it to work.”
“I’m not saying this is going to be a cakewalk,” Cardin said.
Cardin, a member of the GOP’s leadership team, said the president should speak with the “wisdom and common sense” of someone who “is not a Republican, but knows the consequences of a bad policy.”
Ryan said the party should take a “couple of days” to get to work.
“The president-in-waiting is going have to get himself briefed on the issue, and I think that is what I think he should do,” Ryan said.
Ryan also said that the president has “no choice” but to use the full power of the government.
“This is not something that’s going to happen overnight, so we’re going to have to have an orderly transition and have some serious discussion about it,” Ryan told reporters.
Trump and his team have not said whether he will address the Senate and the House before returning to Washington.
His speech marked the first time in nearly three decades that the nation had been in a state of crisis since Trump took office.
The country is experiencing a national emergency because of a pandemic that has killed an estimated 15 million people.
But Trump’s address also drew attention to a national problem: Americans are tired of waiting for their president to act.
Trump said “this is an election year, and the American people are tired.”
The president-of-the-people-elected-tobe “is going to put out a plan,” he added, “and it’s going for the American economy, and it’s not just a job-creating plan.
It’s a plan to build our country back up again.”
Trump also pledged to take on the opioid crisis, a crisis that has taken a toll on the lives of people across the country.
“Everywhere we go, people are dying, people have to go to the hospital,” Trump told the assembled lawmakers.
“People have been getting sick, they’re dying, and we’re not doing anything.
We’re not paying attention.”
He added, “[I’m] gonna be president for everyone.
We will do it together.”
But the president’s words could have been interpreted in ways that hurt Democrats and independents alike.
Polls show the public has little faith in Trump and he is struggling to get the support of Republicans in Congress.
The public is deeply distrustful of Trump’s temperament and he has been accused of having ties to Russia.
While Republicans have been more likely to trust Trump than Democrats, the gap is narrower than it was in the past, when Trump was the party’s standard-bearer.
The poll shows the public is also more concerned with the size of government and its impact on the economy than they were when Trump became the nominee.
Trump did not say in his speech whether he would consider a partial government shutdown or a partial spending bill.
But Republicans are eager to keep him on the job as they seek to pass their first major legislative achievement in more than a year.
In a sign of the public’s growing discontent with the president, the majority of Republicans said they would be more likely if they were allowed to hold a vote on a partial shutdown.
“There’s a lot of discontent in the country,”