Consider, for instance, these commonly used inaugural words: “freedom,” “liberty,” “rights” and “public.” In the nation’s first 57 inaugural addresses, each of these four words occurs, on average, once in every 72 words. This is to be expected, as our founding documents make clear that liberty, justice, public welfare, and human rights are the notions that constitute the U.S. political system.
Trump’s inaugural usage of these words was quite different, using freedom-related words (e.g. “freedom,” “freedoms,” “liberty”) only once. The president also used “public” only once, and did not make any reference to democratic rights.
His inaugural address was consistent with his previous political speech. We analyzed 62 transcripts of Trump’s speeches, from 2015 to 2017, for a total database of about 75,000 words. The president generally uses “freedom,” “liberty,” “public” and “rights” in his speeches at around one percent of the rate that presidents usually do in their inauguration addresses.
We have also begun comparing Trump’s speeches to the wide sampling of previous presidents’ speeches contained on the Miller Center Presidential Speech Archive. He uses democratic vocabulary at a significantly lower rate than previous presidents, according to this large database, as you can see below.