Breakfast Briefing, 3.1.2017: 7 takeaways from Trump's speech to Congress

A softer-edged President Trump received mostly positive reviews for his Tuesday night speech to a joint session of Congress.

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress. (Screenshot via WhiteHouse.gov).
President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress. (Screenshot via WhiteHouse.gov).

Trump takes the edge off policies in speech to Congress
No name calling. No shouting at journalists. No wild conspiracy theories. President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night was notable for its similarity to other presidents’ speeches. Although his policy proposals were unchanged, viewers largely approved of Trump’s new tone, according to polls from CNN and CBS News.

The big moment
Trump’s acknowledgement of Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Seal who died in a raid in Yemen in late January, won widespread praise. The moment, and Trump’s assertion that the raid "generated large amounts of vital intelligence," also pushed back against media reports that the commando raid resulted in no significant intelligence gains. The father of late Seal William "Ryan" Owens, who has reportedly refused to meet with Trump, has called for an investigation into the raid.

What Democrats really didn’t like
Trump proposed creating a government office called the Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement, "VOICE" for short, that would publicize crimes committed by immigrants. Democrats in attendance audibly groaned at the suggestion.


What to remember next time you’re on Twitter in the morning
Trump, who has used Twitter to pick fights with everyone from actors and actresses to department stories, told Congress, "The time for small thinking is over. The time for petty fights is behind us." He’s stuck to his word for more than 10 hours; there were no tweets, petty or otherwise, from @realDonaldTrump as of 7:30 a.m. EST.

What Trump didn’t say
After the White House hinted earlier Tuesday that Trump may be open to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the president said there is room for compromise but didn’t go that far in his address. Pre-speech reports that Trump would call for a return to manned space exploration were also wrong.

Big-ly on Twitter
The speech broke the record on Twitter, Trump’s social medium of choice, for most activity during a presidential address, previously held by President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union. Some of the discussion was driven by images of Trump rehearsing his speech in the presidential limo on the way to the Capitol.

The Democrats respond
Former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, not exactly a rising star, delivered the Democrats’ folksy response to Trump’s speech from a diner in his home state. Why Beshear? He was the ideal Democrat to defend the Affordable Care Act, which is under siege from the White House and Republicans in Congress, according to Business Insider.

Getting lost in the post-speech news cycle:
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick apologized and said he needs to grow up after he was caught on tape arguing with a driver about falling fares. The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo: Uber's crisis could be a watershed moment for women in tech. Snapchat, which is reportedly working on a drone, could be heading for a better-than-expected IPO. Facebook has introduced a suicide-prevention tool.

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