His ‘most serious’ speech is a stark reminder why he can’t become president
Donald Trump’s first 100 days as theoretical president will be extra busy.
The New York-born businessman chose Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the greatest battles between the Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War, to announce how he’d spend his first 100 days as president.
Yes, Donald Trump chose the site of one of the most famous speeches in American history, “The Gettysburg Address,” given by President Lincoln to mourn the fallen soldiers, as the place to talk about how he’d spend his time in office.
For a refresher, the historic speech given by Lincoln concluded with the famous line, “ … we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth..”
Trump’s remarks struck a different tone. Maybe Trump’s most memorable line, which perhaps was not as elegant as Lincoln’s, referred to the women who stepped forward claiming sexual assault and inappropriate behavior by the candidate in the past. Trump said:
“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”
Hardly a hopeful appeal to the better angels of our nature.
Beyond denial of wrongdoing, the Gettysburg speech was also memorable for outlining Trump’s plans to swiftly remake government. He did so in keeping with the theme that America is in precipitous decline and that the entire economic and political system is rigged against working class and poorer Americans.
Here are a few things he wants to do:
Beyond suing the women who have accused him of sexual transgressions Trump said he’d break up the merger between NBC and Comcast and that he’d make Amazon’s founder and The Washington Post owner, Jeff Bezos, pay more taxes (The Washington Post has been particularly scrupulous in investigating the Trump campaign).
Trump also made clear his plan to make America more isolationist and less involved in global trade. He said that the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States needed to be renegotiated or scrapped, and that the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations would immediately be halted .
Trump also spoke of a day-to-day action plan which he called a “Contract with the American Voter.” In the wildly ambitious plan, he plans to overturn President Obama’s executive orders, freeze new federal hiring, impose a five-year ban on government officials becoming lobbyists, and place term limits on members of Congress, among other things.
He also said that he’d elect a Supreme Court justice in the spirit of the recently-deceased, deeply-conservative Antonin Scalia.
Keeping with his earlier statements, Trump said he would build a wall on the border of Mexico, deport undocumented immigrants, and suspend immigration from “terror-prone” countries (read, countries with majority Muslim populations).
The Atlantic pointed out that Trump is not the first American presidential candidate to visit Gettysburg on the campaign trail. Most have sought to use the imagery of the battle to sow for more unity and understanding.
Trump’s speech was a far cry from that, with most of his energy directed at accusing his detractors, whether in the media, in government, and even the women who he is alleged to have harmed.
You can watch the full speech below: