Good talk, Mr. President, but America is still not buying what you're selling
© Getty Images

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE had to deliver tonight. He is a president with a historically low approval rating. So he certainly tried talking a good game tonight but he didn’t say much that convinced most Americans that he would govern in the best interest of all America’s communities and that he would bring the country together.

He started out by saying that “a surge of optimism is sweeping through our country.” Not in Muslim neighborhoods. Not in immigrant, multi-cultural or Latino communities. On these streets, residents are scared their families will be ripped apart, members deported to countries they don’t know, and children forced to grow up without fathers and mothers.


Trump continued his draconian talk of building the wall, and in the ruse of “keeping America safe” he previewed his coming Executive Order Muslim Ban 2.0 which does not seem will be any different from the first one which was found to be illegal, unconstitutional and un-American. Thanks to our independent judiciary, the same fate awaits the next one.

On jobs, Trump talked a great game, which is easy to do when you are not wedded to facts, truth, reality or honesty.

Trump took credit for decisions business leaders made long before he became president, pushing the mirage that it was Trump creating or saving those jobs. From Ford, to GM, to Chrysler, to Intel, to United Technologies, Trump’s claims do not pass the smell test of truth and specifically, cause and effect. Simply, Trump took advantage of what was already happening.

When it came to immigration, lawmakers were listening in curious anticipation since during the day, Trump had intimated he was open to a compromise on immigration reform that would give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship, and other undocumented immigrants who have been here for a long time and had no criminal history, a pathway to legalization.

But did he say it? Of course not. Perhaps President Bannon would not allow it. Nor would his hard-core, xenophobic base who will only accept Trump’s campaign promise to deport the 11 million “illegals” in the country. I am sure they have been thrilled to see that on this promise, Trump is making good, empowering a thuggish ICE Deportation Force to expand their powers to deport anyone they come into contact with even if they only thing on their record is a parking ticket.

And on the Affordable Care Act?  Well, Trump supporters will be happy to hear that he is sticking to his promise to get rid of it completely, falling back on exaggerations, lies, and falsehoods that depict the law as a complete failure when in fact it is the opposite.

Trump should listen to former Republican Speaker of the House John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE who in an astonishing breath of truth said this past week that Republicans would not be able to get rid of Obamacare. That they should hope to tweak it, rebrand it as a conservative program, and be done.

He knows. He has been there. He was at the helm when the GOP Congress tried more than 50 times to repeal the law, passing more than 50 repeal bills in 6 years. So where is the great plan they came up with to replace the ACA?  I mean, they had almost 8 years to come up with a brilliant replacement right?  

Yeah. Still waiting.

So if Trump thinks Republicans are eager to take away the healthcare of 20 million Americans, and replace it with a plan that covers less people, with less protections, giving less access, and making coverage less affordable, he should attend one of the rowdy town halls Republicans have avoided lately, because they have no response to their constituents who are angry that their healthcare in on the line.

On the issue of violent crime, Trump talked up the dystopian views he loves to espouse about America’s inner cities, painting a picture of war zones where none exist, underscoring a rise in the violent crime rate in 2015 (it did go up a bit but overall violent crime is had been cut drastically to historic lows in the last two decades).

He also depicted only half the argument when it comes to fighting crime. He honors police men and women as we all do, because the vast majority of them are honorable, brave heroes. But there are those who need to be punished for bad behavior that has led to unjust killings of young African Americans and Latinos at the hands of police officers.

Trump does not call out these officers nor has he offered a solution to the problem of racial bias in police departments around the country. The best police officers actually support robust training, good policing and holding bad cops accountable. The president of the United States should as well.

But alas, as always, Trump does not let facts or truth get in the way of an applause line.

Tonight was no exception. What did Trump accomplish tonight?  He proved he could stick to a teleprompter for an hour. He proved he could say the word “unity,” and not back it up with any meaningful policy pronouncement or remorseful rhetoric that could actually lead to unity.

Once again, Trump missed a golden and desperately needed opportunity to reach out to the more than 55% of Americans who do not approve of the job he is doing, did not vote for him, and do not want him in the White House.

He did nothing to bring them along, to make them want to work with him towards common solutions. It was a typical Donald Trump speech wrapped up in higher quality quasi-presidential rhetoric.

But unwrap the rhetoric and you get the same radical nationalistic prescriptions that divide the country, make us less safe, make Americans more afraid, and sadly, will not change a thing.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.

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