The live comments section that is my social media feed jeered the president for making us fearful. The vision of America that Trump laid out can’t be found at their food co-ops and co-working spaces. Our cities are a source of pride, they said, and many of the most diverse cities are thriving and have low crime rates. That’s true. Many American cities are thriving. But there are second and third tier cities that are rotting by comparison. And even America’s successful diverse cities tend to be some of the most segregated places in America by neighborhood. Somehow these functional cities haven’t gotten people as a mass to trust each other beyond the way the market causes them to interact.

Trump also put his travel ban and immigration policies in the context of America’s perennial nagging fear that it will one day become weak, doddering, and vulnerable, like its European elders. Trump was the anti-Angela Merkel: “We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany, and all over the world,” he said. “It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.”…

But overall, he will have re-energized his fans, and given conservative media some relief from what has been a tedious job defending his presidency, or at least enduring its critics.

And there were some moments where Trump managed to evoke something like hope. Looking forward to the 250th anniversary of America’s founding, in 2026, Trump invoked some of the major achievements that a great people should expect: cures to disease, millions lifted into work, better schools and jobs. Even “American footprints on distant worlds.”