OMG, Trump read a speech off a teleprompter, didn’t dwell on doom and gloom, and did not gratuiously insult anybody! So presidential. The pivot has happened! Or, so you might think from many media takes. Please! We’ve been hearing about the infamous “pivot” for months and months. And, yet, it is so clear that Trump is Trump is Trump. Sure, he can act like a normal human being from time to time. He’s always had that ability. But there’s no reason whatsoever to expect that it will be the new normal anytime he does this. So many good responses on twitter, a sampling:
The best is this Jonathan Bernstein thread in response to the desire to judge this all as theater criticism. A speech is so much more. Read the whole thread.
And, finally, Yglesias with a really good take, “Trump is performing the role of president, not doing the job”
The premise of taking a close look at these speeches to read the tea leaves, in short, is that the president actually understands the policy issues facing him and cares about the words he’s speaking. With Trump, that’s far from true. He doesn’t like to read briefing books or make hard choices. His words about clean air or infrastructure or anything else are completely meaningless until we see real plans. And there’s no real indication that we ever will. The show is an increasingly meaningless spectacle… [emphasis mine]
The Trump show doesn’t matter. What matters is that thousands of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents in cities across America now feel they have been “unchained” to start enforcing immigration law in a more random, more terrifying manner. Beyond the details of Trump’s executive orders, reports of Customs and Border Patrol agents at airports stepping up their level of aggression in detaining and questioning harmless foreigners have been ubiquitous. Jewish community centers around the country are experiencing an unprecedented surge of bomb threats. The new attorney general is openly dismissive of Justice Department inquiries into racism and abuses at police departments nationwide — meaning that misconduct issues are likely to become more severe.