Please tell me he’s not going to do this. The Washington Post is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump is planning to write his own inaugural address.
In the history of presidential bad starts, Trump writing his own inauguration speech is right up there with William Henry Harrison, who wrote an 8,460-word monster, which took him nearly two hours to deliver on a cold, wet March day in 1841. It killed him.
When I went to a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, just over a year ago, the then-candidate spoke for about 90 minutes, most of which was ad-libbed, or culled from a few pages of handwritten crib notes. It was a painful cacophony of blather.
It was like listening to my crazy uncle talk about buying his Mercedes with paper bags filled with cash, except more boring. I won’t even go into the other stuff Trump said, most of which fell into the “just plain stupid” category.
Well, I’ll hit the low points: doubling down on his despicable mocking of disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski; praising CNBC, then repeating his debunked claim that he single-handedly caused them to shorten their debate by an hour; and inexplicably launching into a canonization of General George S. Patton as a “horrendous human being, but he’s great!”
Trump reportedly is telling people he’s “drawing inspiration from Presidents Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy.” Both Reagan and Kennedy were finely-honed, practiced and polished orators. Trump has some talents, but “polished” isn’t one of them.
The average inaugural address in the last 30 years is about 2,135 words, or about 30 minutes. That’s plenty of time for Trump to make his points. That is, if he’ll allow someone competent at speechwriting to do it for him. The man isn’t even particularly computer literate.
For all that’s good and holy–I’m addressing Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and the Trump children: Please, please don’t let him write his own speech.
But if he insists, here’s a good place for inspiration. George Washington’s second inaugural address. Short, sweet, and to the point at 135 words. Just edit out “again,” and voila, it’s done.
I AM again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate. When the occasion proper for it shall arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the confidence which has been reposed in me by the people of united America.
Previous to the execution of any official act of the President the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be found during my administration of the Government I have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.