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Politics

Can Trump sustain newfound aura of gravitas?

Kathleen Parker on

None of these tidings erase errors of Trump's first year in office or the negative effects of his often-mean-spirited rhetoric. Nor does it alter the realities of the ongoing Russia investigation, the likely-to-be released memo by the House Intelligence Committee or the administration's general dysfunction. Nor am I inclined to redact the many critical columns I've written.

But it was a good speech.

A more complete and fairer appraisal would note that Trump also said plenty to engage the other side of the aisle, including a $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal and a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, also known as "Dreamers." Naturally, one of the first things to pop up Wednesday morning when you Googled "SOTU and immigration" was that David Duke praised the president for his line, "Americans are dreamers, too." Please. Who cares what David Duke thinks or says?

And by the way, Trump didn't begin his day Wednesday by tweeting. Wait. Let me rephrase that: THE PRESIDENT DIDN'T TWEET!!! OMG!

Not to jump the gun -- or the shark -- but, prematurely speaking, it would seem that Trump has turned a corner. Overall, his address to Congress was conciliatory in tone; his morning after was free of the usual rant aimed at someone he doesn't like; and his speech, for all the harrumphing in the usual corners, made no matters worse.

It's a low bar, I'll concede, but in a word, he seemed "normal." Is this a new Trump? Can he sustain Tuesday night's aura of gravitas? Can he just-not-be-weird for a while? As in, no more taunting North Korea, no more slamming critics, no more "fake news," and for pity's sake, no more strategic firings. If I may suggest a mantra: I will not fire Robert Mueller; I will not fire Robert Mueller; I will not fire Robert Mueller.

 

My fingers keep stabbing the keyboard to write: Don't hold your breath. But a more productive observation is to say what is, in fact, true: It was a good speech, Mr. President. Congratulations. You made us feel less crazed. And that, too, is good.

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Kathleen Parker's email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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