By Farhad Sethna, Attorney ©2016
At 2:37 in the morning, on November 9, 2016, president elect Donald Trump gave his victory speech following what can be termed – at the time I wrote this article – an “electoral college” election (losing the popular vote, but winning in the electoral college). His speech was significant in not what he said, but what he did not say.
Let’s start with what he said:
He said the usual things- thanked everybody, called for national unity, healing the wounds of a bruising campaign, promising to be a President for all Americans. He congratulated Hillary Clinton on a hard-fought campaign. Praised her years of service in government. He went on to talk how his administration would fix the infrastructure of this nation, putting millions of people to work. He talked about taking care of “our great veterans”. He talked about creating economic growth for the United States and dealing fairly with other nations. He said that the United States would settle for nothing less than the best. Interestingly enough, he mentioned that the United States would deal fairly with everyone, cooperate with other countries, find a common ground, and deal with other nations without hostility. This is very different from his previous belligerent stance on world issues, trade pacts, etc.
Mr. Trump thanked his family extensively and effusively. He has special thanks to Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, and Ben Carson. He singled out Reince Priebus, the Chairman of the National Republican Party for special praise, saying that Reince was a “superstar”.
He thanked the “incredible” people of the Secret Service. He thanked New York City’s law enforcement, saying “we appreciate them”. Mr. Trump closed with defining his election as an historic event. However, he said that it’s only the start of a movement, and that he had to do a great job as president. He promised he would.
At the conclusion of his remarks, he turned around and said, “thank you” to Mike Pence, who had been standing to his right the whole time. It was almost like an afterthought!
What did Trump NOT say?
What is interesting in Trump’s speech is not what he said, which was to be expected, but what he did not say. Keep in mind, that Republicans – tacitly, at least – now have control of ALL three branches of government: Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judiciary (Trump gets to appoint at least two more Supreme Court justices).
Perhaps this is more of me reading the tea leaves, and keep in mind, that this man had a very long day which was culminating after 3:00 am. So, perhaps he should be excused for not saying some of the things he should have.
I found it interesting that in his victory speech he failed to mention several of the signature items that had defined his campaign. These included: No mention of a repeal of any laws, included the much maligned Obamacare. No discussion of dismantling any government departments or nominating a friendly justice to the Supreme Court. Absolutely no mention of immigration or repealing any trade agreements. Maybe he wanted to keep his victory speech non-controversial, in keeping with his intent to be a president for all Americans.
The speech was sensible and thoughtful. Very unlike prior Trump pronouncements on the campaign trail. By making peace with Reince Priebus, it looks like Trump is trying to start the healing process with the traditional Republican Party.
This may be a good thing. Throughout Trump’s campaign, he had not made significant mention of the Tea Party. Does this indicate that the Tea Party and its supporters are not going to have a significant role in a Trump administration? Maybe it does. That is altogether a good thing for the United States, because the Tea Party was not a party of pragmatism, it was a party of negativity. Hopefully, with Trump as president a traditional more sensible and conciliatory side of the Republican Party will finally start to emerge after eight years of Tea Party “block Obama” fanaticism.
Finally, in thanking Mike Pence almost as an afterthought, does that mean that Trump was turning away from the right-wing, conservative, Christian-Evangelical voting block which Mike Pence represents? If so, that too augurs well for the future of church-state separation in the USA.
It’s too early to tell. The coming weeks and months will show. Hopefully a President Trump will eschew the “Dennis The Menace” attitude he has portrayed so far and get down to the serious business of considered and deliberate governance. But as Trump himself said, at the end of two years, or three years, or maybe even eight years, people should be able to look back and say that they were proud to be part of this “great movement”.
We will see. For now, let’s focus on keeping America great always!
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 25 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and New Philadelphia, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.
This is only general legal information. Please consult a qualified immigration attorney for advice on your specific case.