President Trump will address a joint session of Congress this coming Tuesday. It will be his first opportunity, ever, to pitch his vision of making America great to that body, in person. The pundits want the president to give a serious, meaty, policy speech. He’s not going to do that. Instead, Trump’s seductive powers will be on full display.
It’s no accident that Trump became president. The man can sell like it’s nobody’s business. I hearken back to an article by Virginia Hume I read about Trump’s ability to seduce a crowd. Hume’s friend (using an assumed name) “Charlotte” resisted the Trump Network health product MLM, but finally relented and went to hear the master persuader.
But when her friends invited her to a Trump Network convention in Miami she went along, but mostly because . . . Miami!
The convention highlight was Donald Trump himself, addressing the 5,000 distributors in attendance. Charlotte went into the speech still skeptical, amused by how enraptured everyone seemed just by the prospect of hearing from this blowhard.
She came out sold, raring to go.
Six years later, a not-any-richer Charlotte reminisced:
“I know, it looks like B.S. on paper. And it turned out it was B.S.,” Charlotte said, laughing. “But he knew how to reel people in. They’re all about dreams. He was so confident, had so much authority. He convinced us he wanted to make our dreams come true, that he could make our dreams come true. He’s really seductive.”
Trump before Congress is going to be an exercise in unmatched pageantry and bull-s***ttery. Certainly, Democrats will sit down, hands folded, and even groan or boo at points. But expect some them to be moved.
All the pundits are telling POLITICO that this is going to be difficult for Trump. They compare it to threading a needle. Former Boehner press secretary Michael Steel said about Congress “they detest being micromanaged.” Rick Santorum hoped for a “laundry list speech.” They’re hoping for details without telling Congress what to do.
(As an aside, when was Obama ever afraid of telling Congress what to do?)
All the pundits are wrong.
Trump won’t offer any wonky policy details. He’ll seduce. Like he did with voters, he won’t be after all the lawmakers, just those who self-select and react positively to the message. He only needs a few Democrats. Republicans will fall in line because of the party (except perhaps Sen. John McCain).
At his core, Trump is a salesman. He’s not interested in talking points or a policy agenda. He’s interested in getting people on his side by selling and persuading. As he’s proved in politics, there’s nobody better at that art than Trump.