Here’s what President Trump would probably like to say Tuesday when he addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time as president:
“Members of Congress, please remember one thing. I’m in charge.
And I’d like to remind all of you — whether you are sitting to my right as Democrats or on my left as Republicans — that few of you wanted me to be here tonight. Few wanted me to be president.
Therefore, few of you earned any goodwill with my administration. I don’t owe any of you any favors.
I hope we’ll have a cordial working relationship. But I’m the boss.”
All of that would be true.
And Trump could follow up with another one of his patented mean-spirited speeches about the woeful nature of the US economy, the mess left by former President Obama, how a world full of terrorists is taking aim at our country, and how working Americans are tired of paying more than their fair share because too many people — including the richest among us — are paying too little.
And all of that would also be true. This is why Trump was elected.
Shocked Democrats have certainly been sore losers since the November election. Sore, sore losers the likes of which a democracy has seldom seen. But Trump hasn’t exactly been a gracious winner, either.
So I think it’s time for our president — who, as I’ve said before, I met for the first time 30 years ago — to brush that block of arrogance off his shoulder before he enters the House chamber tonight and offers up a speech that’s more like this:
“Members of Congress, please remember one thing. Despite our differences, we all want the same thing — what’s best for the country.
And while we may differ on the details, we are all aiming for one goal. There is plenty of blame to go around for our nearly $20 trillion federal debt and the lack of enough quality jobs in this country and the deteriorating infrastructure and the violence in some of our cities and the drug epidemic and the ease with which bad people can hurt Americans.
I could go on, but I won’t because today’s speech is about something else — about how to fix these problems. Since I took office a little over a month ago, I’ve done a lot of things. Some may not have been very well thought out.
But I promised Americans I would get things done — “drain the swamp” — and I’m doing that. Now, let me make sure you know where I stand.
On the economy: It needs to grow faster.
My plan is to cut taxes dramatically. Some of you, even Republicans, are concerned this would balloon our already monstrous federal debt before there is a payoff in high tax revenue.
Well, then, find me a better plan. Despite increasing the federal debt by $9 trillion over the past decade, the US economy is still growing at the slowest pace in half a century. And the situation is so mixed up that, even with growth coming in at less than 2 percent a year, the Federal Reserve is in the process of raising interest rates to slow the economy down.
On jobs: A think tank connected with the Democratic party recently concluded that 94 percent of all jobs created since 2009 are nontraditional. That means they are freelance positions, part time, contract or some other sort of job that doesn’t come with benefits.
Who’s to blame for this? Who cares! Let’s just fix the problem.
As you know, I’ve been pressuring companies lately to keep jobs in the US. And I do mean pressuring. That’s my style. Can’t help it.
If any members of Congress have a better approach, I’m willing to listen. Certainly allowing US companies to bring home the many billions in profits they have stashed overseas would be a start. We let them bring the money back at an attractive tax rate — and if they pledge to create jobs.
And that pledge would be inviolate. If the companies break their promise, their tax rate on the repatriated money would jump big league.
On health care: I don’t like the Affordable Care Act because it doesn’t live up to the name “affordable.” Everyone deserves medical care. But we don’t have to go broke providing it. We will negotiate this, too.
On immigration: Nobody listening tonight either in this chamber or at home wants bad people in our country. Terrorists need not apply for admission to the US. Good, hard-working people are welcome to come here legally.
What about those who are already here illegally? We will have to work something out. Perhaps you can stay; maybe not. The circumstances will matter — whether you are a productive member of society, whether you will contribute to the greater good, whether you have an American citizen sponsoring you, as has been done in this country in the past.
Finally, about The Wall. The Wall can be taken as literal or symbolic. Yes, I’ve been talking about putting up a physical wall and making Mexico pay for it. But there are other ways to protect our southern border. And our technology geniuses on the West Coast can certainly come up with a better way to prevent undesirable people from coming into our country.
If we stop one terrorist. One drug dealer. One person from coming into the US illegally and then hurting an American, it will be worth it.
Anyone here who thinks protecting Americans isn’t a worthwhile goal, please raise your hand. We will tell your constituents back home.”
President Trump, of course, probably won’t say any of that tonight. But at some point in the near future, he is going to have to reach out to those who hate him and those who merely dislike him if his administration is going to be successful.
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