Is This a 'New' Trump?
The answer could affect the 2018 congressional elections
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2017 11:00 AM CST
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President Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan.   (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP)

(Newser) – President Trump's address to Congress Tuesday night continues to reverberate in part because of the mostly positive reviews. Here's a look at some of the coverage:

  • Politico suggests the speech, and what it signifies about the president, could have a big effect on the 2018 congressional races. Would-be Republican candidates leery of aligning themselves with a more bombastic Trump could have a change of heart, and Democrats' hopes of big, easy gains might fade. Read it here.
  • But, wait, what's all this about a suddenly "presidential" Trump, wonders Brian Beutler in a New Republic piece with a headline calling the media reaction to the speech "shameful." Another piece along these lines at CNN blasts the "ridiculous gushing."
  • In an essay at Fox News, Newt Gingrich lauds the speech as the best of Trump's life, one that shows he "is a serious man focused on achieving serious results." Read the op-ed here.

  • A New York Times analysis says the speech does not represent a substantive shift for Trump, but a lesser nod to political reality. "It is a recognition by the White House, from Mr. Trump on down, that what it had been doing was not quite working and that a softer sales tactic was needed to sell the same hard-edge populist agenda he campaigned on, people close to Mr. Trump said." Read the piece here.
  • Another analysis by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post says the speech deserves to be taken seriously, though he finds support for both sides of the "new Trump" argument: "The substantive evidence plainly weighs in favor of the argument that Trump’s evolution is largely cosmetic—that Bannonism remains the driving force behind the Trump presidency. However, it’s at least possible we may be seeing the beginnings of a genuine search for a different rationale." He lays it out here.
  • A post at Axios says the speech's relatively optimistic tone was the result of others weighing in besides Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, namely Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Mike Pence. (Newsweek says Ivanka, in particular, "set the tone.")
  • Usual Trump critic Van Jones of CNN praised the speech, saying that when Trump singled out the widow of a Navy SEAL, "He became president in that moment." Jones, however, then took all kinds of flak for the praise, notes the Huffington Post.

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