AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
The new president's 16-minute address tipped his hand — in ways both subtle, and stunningly blunt — about his political plan for the coming years. Yes, he plans to pound his America-first, Washington-sucks message that the establishment and media hate. But it was telling how much time he spent talking about infrastructure and jobs for ALL Americans, twice sounding racially inclusive notes.
Stephen Miller, the speech's principal writer, and Steve Bannon, whose worldview dominated and who helped with the prose , see a huge infrastructure bill as a way to attract voters, especially minorities, who opposed Trump in 2016. They argue privately they will shake up voting coalitions if they run new roads, repair tunnels and provide web access to other classes or regions of forgotten Americans. They also believe tariffs and bullying of corporate-outsourcers will change some minds, too.
The coastal bubbles hated the speech. But, like the campaign, it wasn't aimed at them.
Bannon told Bob Costa the address was "an unvarnished declaration of the basic principles of his populist and kind of nationalist movement. … I don't think we've had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House."
- Between the lines: Bannon is usually press-shy, so it's important and telling that he went public to not just defend the speech, but double down and contrast it with Xi's speech at Davos.
Bannon suggested: "I think it'd be good if people compare Xi's speech ... and President Trump's speech in his inaugural. Axios' enterprising Jonathan Swan did just that, and you can see his findings in the Axios STREAM.
- Why it matters: Trump advisers see confrontation with China over trade, territory and now the merits of globalism as a fight they WANT to define their presidency.
- What's next? We have a fair idea of how Trump's nationalism will affect immigration and trade policy. But something that's brewing under the surface — and seriously troubling business leaders — is the extent to which Trump will interfere in corporate America (think mergers, regulations) in what he believes is the service of the American worker. In other words: How Bernie will Donald get?
Framer for Steve Miller and Bannon … Via WashPost, "Words Donald Trump said for the first time in any U.S. inaugural address": bleed … carnage … depletion … disagreements … disrepair … flush … infrastructure … Islamic … lady … landscape … overseas … ripped … rusted … sad … solidarity … sprawl … stealing … stolen … subsidized … tombstones … trapped … trillions … tunnel … unrealized … unstoppable … urban … wind-swept.
Breakdown of speech topics, per WSJ: 58% nationalist themes … 16% role of government … 15% U.S. role in world … 9% equality.