Craig Shirley: Trump’s Address Gave Optimism We Haven’t Seen in Years
Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017 03:03 PM
Presidential historian and Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley tells Newsmax TV that President Donald Trump revealed he is a “very capable politician” during his address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
“Trump, I think, is emerging as his own individual. I think obviously he’s always been his own individual, but people weren’t really paying attention until last night,” Shirley said Wednesday to Bill Tucker on “America Talks Live.”
“And I think that’s really the difference — that for once the intelligentsia is paying attention to Donald Trump and realizing this is a very capable politician.”
Shirley was also impressed with Trump’s message of unity, something that many popular presidents of the past have used — not that that goal will be easy to deliver.
“Most people, I think, want a peaceful, free and prosperous America. But the dreams, unfortunately, have become smaller. Franklin Roosevelt spoke like that also, as did John Kennedy, as did Ronald Reagan,” he said.
“Franklin Roosevelt talked about defeating the evils of Nazi Germany and the empire of Japan. John Kennedy talked about going to the moon and new frontiers. And Ronald Reagan talked about defeating the Soviet Empire and turning around the malaise of America.
“So yes, Trump spoke about dreams but unfortunately they seem fairly small by comparison to the great expectations of previous presidents.”
Trump’s optimism, Shirley told Tucker, is not something the nation has heard much from recent commanders-in-chief.
“We haven’t heard that for the last eight years, we didn’t hear that from Jimmy Carter, we didn’t hear that from Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, or Lyndon Johnson,” he said.
“It takes an exceptional man, I think, to see into the future and see a better, more prosperous, more freer, more healthier country. I think that Trump is heading in that direction.”
In addition, Trump’s address was “a complete break with Obamaism and Bushism.”
“Now I’ve seen a lot of discussion of the era of Reagan is over. Donald Trump was restating many of the Reagan-era principles of less government, more freedom, projecting American power, defending American interests,” Shirley said.
“Ronald Reagan would have been very comfortable saying, I’m not the president of the world, I’m simply the president of the United States. In fact, there were a lot of things last night that I would say that Reagan would be very comfortable saying.
“But not the Bushes and certainly not Barack Obama. Barack Obama always viewed himself as president of the world and not just president of the United States.”
Shirley is the author of “Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980,” to be published later this month by Broadside Books.
“It is about Reagan’s third run. He’s already 66 years old, many people were saying he’s too old to run a third time for president. He’s tried in ’68 and failed, tried really in ’76 and failed, and he ought to step aside for younger leaders,” Shirley said.
“And it’s about Reagan’s mighty struggle against the headwinds that opposed him, including the Washington establishment, the Republican Party establishment, the media establishment — sounds kind of familiar, right?”