What they are saying about Donald Trump's speech to Congress

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What they are saying about Donald Trump's speech to Congress

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President Donald Trump reacts after addressing a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP)

President Donald Trump gave his first address to Congress Tuesday in a speech that called on Republicans and Democrats to put the needs of the country before politics.

The speech, which lasted a little bit more than an hour, received high marks from many quarters for Trump’s delivery and his “presidential” manner.

Here’s what media outlets are saying about the speech.

The backstory on the speech

“President Donald Trump sat in the White House Map Room Tuesday with a coterie of advisers, a black Sharpie, stacks of paper and a teleprompter. Beside him much of the day — the 40th day of his presidency — were Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller. Other aides frequently circled in, from Gary Cohn to Reince Priebus to Kellyanne Conway to Jared Kushner to Sean Spicer to Hope Hicks, suggesting language and offering advice.”

Immigration, health care and the budget

“It was Donald Trump at his most presidential.

In his first address to Congress, President Trump defended controversial policies pushed by his administration and optimistically outlined a bold agenda highlighted by immigration reform, an expansive infrastructure program and reform of the nation's health care system.

While Trump advocated many of the hot-button issues he championed during the 2016 presidential campaign, he also struck a more conciliatory tone than the bombastic new president has done since entering the White House.”

Trump gives GOP leaders rallying cry 

“President Donald Trump gave Republican congressional leaders a rallying cry and even a roadmap as they try to push through a sweeping and divisive agenda on health care, taxes and more. In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Trump said largely what GOP leaders were hoping to hear Tuesday night, staying on-message and talking in optimistic tones, even weighing in at one point to settle a brewing dispute over how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday morning that Trump showed Congress and the nation his "broad shoulders, big heart, reaching out, focusing on the future." Pence spoke on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." House Speaker Paul Ryan declared the speech a "home run," pointing to Trump's embrace for the first time of tax credits - a central element in the Republican plan to replace former President Barack Obama's health care law.”

‘New chapter of American greatness’

“President Donald Trump sought to repackage his hardline campaign promises with a moderate sheen Tuesday night, declaring what he termed "a new chapter of American greatness" of economic renewal and military might in his first joint address to Congress. Seeking to steady his presidency after a tumultuous first 40 days, Trump had an air of seriousness and revealed flashes of compassion as he broadly outlined a sweeping agenda to rebuild a country he described as ravaged by crime and drugs, deteriorating infrastructure, and failing bureaucracies. Trump's 60-minute speech touched on his plans to overhaul the nation's health-care system and tax code, but it was short on specifics and heavy on lofty prose. Struggling to steer a bitterly divided nation with his job-approval ratings at historic lows, Trump effectively pleaded with the American people to give him a chance and to imagine what could be achieved during his presidency.”

Shifting his tone

CNN

“President Donald Trump reached for poetry and conjured a vision of common national purpose Tuesday during his first address to Congress, shifting his tone from the dark, searing approach of his previous big speeches to the nation.

Trump adopted a statesmanlike cadence, hitting notes of inspiration. For once, this most unorthodox of politicians struck a conventional presidential posture as he sought to stabilize his administration after a tumultuous five weeks in office.”

Setting aside disputes with Democrats

“President Donald Trump told Congress on Tuesday he was open to immigration reform, shifting from his harsh rhetoric on illegal immigration in a speech that offered a more restrained tone than his election campaign and first month in the White House.

Trump, in a prime-time address to a country that remains divided over his leadership, set aside disputes with Democrats and the news media to deliver his most presidential performance to date, seeking to regain the confidence of Americans rattled by his leadership thus far.”

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