Speechwriters sound off on Trump's inaugural address

PRWeek reached out to several agency executives who got their start writing speeches on the campaign trail to get their reaction to President Donald Trump's inaugural address. A selection of their responses follows.

(Image via the White House's Facebook page).
(Image via the White House's Facebook page).

What was the theme of the speech in 140 characters or less?
Dan Hill, president, Hill Impact
The campaign must continue—populist to the core.

Rich Masters, EVP, Qorvis
#manifesto2POPULISM

William Pierce, senior director, APCO Worldwide
If you support Trump, you liked this speech. For those who did not, this speech just reinforced their concerns for the country.

Was it effective?
Dan Hill, president, Hill Impact
It was probably effective for his supporters who are frustrated with Washington and concerned Trump will abandon his campaign commitments. For those who didn’t support Trump, they probably don’t feel any better today. It was so strident that whatever effort was made to be inclusive was probably lost on anyone concerned about the direction of the country.

Rich Masters, EVP, Qorvis
It was very effective for his supporters and was grounded with no ideology whatsoever and more nationalism and populism than ever before. He did miss the opportunity to bring the country together as is traditional in these addresses.

What surprised you?
Dan Hill, president, Hill Impact
Nothing surprises me these days, but if there is anything, it’s that he didn’t attack the media, and he thanked "citizens of the world." Considering concerns over Russian meddling, it seemed odd to thank the world for his victory. If I wrote a speech for him, I would have thanked Hillary [Clinton] for her services and for being there.

Rich Masters, EVP, Qorvis
What surprised me is that I think it is clear he actually did write this by himself. There were almost zero rhetorical flourishes that speechwriters normally employ. However, this is precisely what made him president in the first place: no poetry, just plain and simple talk.

William Pierce, senior director, APCO Worldwide
No surprises. Reprise of campaign speeches. Predictable. Populist. Presented U.S. as a victim. Nationalistic in tone. No historic context. Not a healing speech.

Other prominent speechwriters weighed in on the speech on Twitter. David Frum, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, made headlines with his. 

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