President Trump wowed supporters and skeptics alike on Tuesday night during his address to a joint session of Congress, but what remained unsaid might have as much importance as what was, Politico reports.
Trump shed many of his usual hallmarks, including talk of his Electoral College win or unfair treatment by the press. But there were some strategic omissions as well, Politico notes. Trump, for example, became the first president since George W. Bush in 2001 to not mention either Afghanistan or Iraq. Trump also skipped a mention of Syria, and only briefly mentioned the fight against the Islamic State. While he still referenced "radical Islamic terrorism," Trump elsewhere moderated his message and significantly scaled back his usual combative portrait of the world.
Trump also "seemed to stick to his promise from the opening of the speech, to 'deliver a message of unity,'" Politico writes, by steering clear of topics like abortion, same-sex marriage, or transgender rights. Defunding Planned Parenthood did not get a mention, nor did overturning Roe v. Wade.
While what Trump didn't say might indicate a long-awaited presidential pivot for some, others criticized the unspoken topics between the lines. "I did not hear President Trump say one word — not one word — about Social Security or Medicare," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Facebook. "I urge President Trump, keep your promises. Tell the American people, tweet to the American people, that you will not cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."