Michael Reagan: In speech to Congress, Trump needs to be presidential
© Getty Images

My father, Ronald Reagan, knew a lot about just being president.

ADVERTISEMENT

Once when I was talking to him, he said, “It’s one thing to be elected. It’s another to be sworn in as president. But at some point you have to become the president of the United States.”

 

Tonight, when the president addresses Congress, it’s time to stop being Donald Trump.

We’re no longer looking for a TV celebrity. Or a permanent campaigner-in-chief.

Trump's fellow Americans, his friends and enemies, have heard all his campaign speeches before and they haven’t changed.

We’re very aware of Trump's Electoral College score, the many things he has accomplished so far with executive orders and great things he promises to accomplish in the future.

But after four weeks on the job, President TrumpDonald TrumpFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Giving thanks for Thanksgiving itself Immigration provision in Democrats' reconciliation bill makes no sense MORE should stop catering to his base.

Trump is the president of the entire country now, and that includes people who disagree with him today and many will disagree even more four years from now if he does what he promised.

There are thousands of Americans out there holding “not-my-president” events and protest marches in cities every weekend.

But when Trump speaks at press conferences or tweets bites of raw steak to the people who put him in the Oval Office, he might as well be holding a “not-my-constituency” event.

By all means, Trump should please his base. Be a conservative, make conservative appointments, and run a conservative government.

But President Trump shouldn't forget everyone else.

What the country—the world—is looking for right now is not a tweeter-in-chief or a media critic.

We’re looking for a successful conservative president who will become a symbol of the greatness and goodness of America to the rest of the world, like Ronald Reagan was.

After Francois Mitterrand of France met my father in person for the first time, he said that he felt like he had met America.

That’s what I’m hoping foreign leaders will someday say after they meet President Trump—that they felt like they met America.

I also want foreigner leaders to feel like they’ve truly met the commander-in-chief of the United States of America—not the star of “The Apprentice.”

So it’s time to do away with the old Donald Trump. It’s time to become the president of the United States—and tonight he can take the first step by giving us an uplifting speech, not a political one.

Trump should tell us what he thinks about America and what makes it great.

What’s his vision of “The Shining City on a Hill”? Tell us where he want to take us and how he plan to take us there.

Make me and other conservatives feel good about where he is going to take us and how. 

Trump should tell Americans how he is going to put together the legislation for a tax package or for health care reform and present it to Congress, instead of waiting for Congress.

Someone has to take the lead in Washington and that’s what a president is supposed to do.

Trump needs to become every American’s president. Tonight’s his big chance to show that he knows what that means.

Michael Reagan, author of "Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald Reagan," is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. He is the son of former President Ronald Reagan and Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman. Follow him on Twitter @ReaganWorld.


The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.