Local professor: Trump takes different tone in address to Congress

Trinity professor says president trying to hit "reset" button

SAN ANTONIO – In a departure from his usual style, President Donald Trump spoke of unity and laid out a clear policy agenda as he addressed Congress on Tuesday night.

Professor David Crockett, chair of the political science department at Trinity University, said the president dialed back the usual bombast, and his speech lacked the sort of negative outlook that some attributed to his inaugural address.

"There's much more of him kind of buying into a more traditional rhetoric, and in some cases even moving away from campaign rhetoric," Crockett said.

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His goal, Crockett said, was possibly to "reset" his agenda and give Republicans their "marching orders."

The president has signed numerous executive orders, but many of the big things he wants to do will require a hand from Congress.

"He made very specific promises on the strength of his ego to accomplish, and that has to be done," Crockett said.

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Of course, a change in tone wasn't enough to sway many across the aisle. "There's a low bar here among a lot of the media," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who said it was the president's actions, not his speeches, that are the problem. "'Oh, well he wasn't nasty.' That is not enough to get America in the place where we have to go."

Winning over the Democrats en masse isn't in the cards, anyways, Crockett said. However, the president may be trying to carve out maybe half-a-dozen vulnerable Democrat senators facing re-election in 2018.

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Trump may be out "to try to convince them he's not completely unhinged and that there might be areas where he could craft a policy that they would sign on to and move that forward," Crockett said.

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