The man whose inaugural address centered on the idea of “American carnage” offered “one team, one people, and one American family” on Tuesday in a bid to convince a skeptical public – and an equally skeptical Congress – that he is a stable leader who can unify a fractured nation.
Trump’s approach reflects a cold political reality: Without help from Democrats, Republicans face few options for legislative victories and some in the GOP have serious concerns about how their party will fare in the midterms. Trump’s allies inside and outside the White House have warned the president that Republicans could lose the House if Republicans can’t show bipartisan progress in Congress, according to two people familiar with the conversations.
But Trump’s speech also shed light on the president’s desire to prove his doubters wrong. After a year in which Republicans and Democrats alike regularly questioned his leadership ability and even his mental health, the 45th president – a Queens-born political neophyte who never felt accepted by Manhattan society – went to the Capitol once again looking for validation.