For this Latino, Trump’s speech underwhelmed

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (2.5 minute read)  

Here’s my impression in six words: the speech was unexpected and predictable.

It was unexpected because it wasn’t Trump’s usual stream of consciousness, shoot from the hip style of antagonistic rhetoric. It was written, measured and teleprompted. He didn’t deliver it with his aggressive, guttural, and grinding off the back of his throat tone.

It wasn’t Trumpian in that respect. And if he expects this particular speech to be a new standard he may have some trouble with that, because the tone and the rhetoric of the past year and a half and the chaos of his first month in office won’t be easily forgotten.

It was predictable because he said nothing new.

[pullquote]There was nothing in the speech for U.S. Latinos, in general, to applaud, because it lacked the substance needed for Latinos to hold on to.[/pullquote]

He’s going to secure the border, deport criminals, build a wall, replace Obamacare, renegotiate trade agreements, invest in infrastructure, build the military, support veterans, bring law and order, and unite America because America is a bad, losing, dangerous place to be, because everything that’s come in the proximate past has been terrible.

The rest was applause lines and playing to the inimical media.

Presidential speeches to congress tend to be broad-stroke overviews of goals and reasons.

Screenshot courtesy of C-SPAN

They give the why and the what of the things to come. Rarely do they delve into the minutia of the how.

That’s where lofty rhetoric sinks.

How is he going to secure the border, and deport criminals; how will he pay for the wall, replace Obamacare, renegotiate trade agreements, invest in infrastructure, build the military, support veterans, bring law and order, and unite America?


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We don’t know and we shouldn’t have expected an answer last night – they never come in such moments.

Screenshot courtesy of C-SPAN

At best he reached for a reset button.

But Trump is going to find he, himself, is a hard act to follow.

He wasn’t finished saying “God bless the United States of America” at the end of his speech before the Democratic side of the aisle were buttoning their jackets and heading for the exit.

Photo by McBeth/Flickr

There was nothing in the speech for U.S. Latinos, in general, to applaud, because it lacked the substance needed for Latinos to hold on to, because Trump’s past rhetoric has been antagonistic towards Latinos. And no, “the Latinos love me” doesn’t even count as pandering, much less acknowledgement.

If I were to advise this particular president on this particular speech I would have told him to lead with his vision of infrastructure investment and feed off the American optimism that survey after poll after survey have told us is thriving in the U.S. Latino community.

Read more stories about Latinos and Trump in NewsTaco. >> 

But he didn’t, as I expected he wouldn’t.

What should we look for now?

On healthcare, a quagmire. Repealing and replacing the ACA won’t come easily.

On deportations, controversy. It’ll be costly and get jammed in court.

On trade negotiations, brinkmanship. Our trading partners will push-back on U.S. vulnerabilities: immigration, and global security.

On infrastructure, a funding battle. The GOP didn’t play ball on this in the past, and the arguments used against Obama’s infrastructure plans remain intact – how will it be paid for?

It’s a long list, and it’ll be a long four years.

Do you like stories that reflect authentic Latino life in the U.S.?

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[Screenshot courtesy of C-SPAN]

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