Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP

A rundown of what to note from Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress.

  1. Tone: The speech was, by some distance, his most "presidential" since running for the office. He was totally on message, controlled, uncaffeinated, un-Trumpian.
  2. Breaking the ice: Trump began his speech with riffs on Black History, civil rights, and a condemnation of anti-Semitic violence. He received standing ovations.
  3. Head fake on immigration: As we reported, there was no way Trump was going to have a conversion to Jeb Bush-style immigration reform. He spent much of the speech highlighting the crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally, and he gave no concessions on immigration
  4. Declined to endorse the border adjustment tax: "We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers. Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes -- but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing."
  5. More detail on healthcare: Trump gave Speaker Paul Ryan a big win by listing some components of the House GOP plan — and, as we forecast, the big one was tax credits. See David Nather's analysis.
  6. Says his budget will increase funding for veterans. A well-received line: "Our veterans have delivered for this Nation –- and now we must deliver for them."
  7. Crucial language on infrastructure: "To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States — financed through both public and private capital –- creating millions of new jobs." The key phrase — "that produces" — coupled with the mention of private capital — means the Bernie Sanders dream of $1 trillion in new government spending remains a fantasy.
  8. Sought to tie the African-American experience to nationalism: "We've financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit -- and so many other places throughout our land."
  9. Promises: Listed pledges made and kept. He gave plenty of applause lines for (at least some) Democrats, including withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and his request that "new American pipelines be made with American steel."
  10. "Radical Islamic Terrorism": Trump is still using the phrase, despite the reported disapproval of his new national security advisor.
  11. NATO: Trump made a happy man of Defense Secretary Mattis and the rest of the foreign policy establishment, which has worried about his previous comments that NATO is "obsolete." Tonight, Trump said: "We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism. But our partners must meet their financial obligations."
  12. A emotional moment — and the longest applause of the night: "We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens. Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero –- battling against terrorism and securing our Nation."

Go deeper

Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!