NYT Shudders at Trump's 'Dark...Angry Jeremiad' of an Inaugural Address

January 21st, 2017 2:36 PM

“Dark” was the New York Times’ theme for Donald J. Trump’s Inauguration Day, even in the banner headline that began the paper’s coverage of the 45th President: “Trump, Sworn In, Issues A Call: ‘This American Carnage Stops – Uniquely Dark Vision Of The U.S.” Peter Baker and Michael Shear’s underlying report set the “dark” tone.

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Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new era that he vowed would shatter the established order and reverse a national decline that he called “this American carnage.”

In a ceremony that capped a remarkable rise to power, Mr. Trump presented himself as the leader of a populist uprising to restore lost greatness. He outlined a dark vision of an America afflicted by “the ravages” of economic dislocation and foreign exploitation, requiring his can-do approach to turn around.


Mr. Trump’s view of the United States was strikingly grim for an Inaugural Address -- a country where mothers and children are “trapped in poverty in our inner cities,” where “rusted-out factories” are “scattered like tombstones across the landscape” and where drugs and crime “have stolen too many lives.”

“This American carnage,” he declared, “stops right here and stops right now.”

Notice how the “objective” reporters at the NYT and partisan liberal Democratic pols just happen to have the same take on Trump’s speech (and since when did the left become so high on America?).

Democrats were not impressed. “I was pretty shocked by how dark it was,” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said of Mr. Trump’s Inaugural Address. “I love this country, and I don’t understand how a president of the United States that loves his country could paint a picture of its failures.”

David Sanger shook his head over Trump’s missed opportunity in “A Harder Line: ‘America First.’” The online headline: “With Echoes of the ’30s, Trump Resurrects a Hard-Line Vision of ‘America First.’”

America, and the world, just found out what “America First” means.

President Trump could have used his inaugural address to define one of the touchstone phrases of his campaign in the most inclusive way, arguing, as did many of his predecessors, that as the world’s greatest superpower rises, its partners will also prosper.

Instead, he chose a dark, hard-line alternative, one that appeared to herald the end of a 70-year American experiment to shape a world that would be eager to follow its lead. In Mr. Trump’s vision, America’s new strategy is to win every transaction and confrontation.

Points for originality to reporter Mark Landler, who forsook “dark” for “angry” in his own front-page report, “A Broadside for Washington.”

President Trump’s Inaugural Address on Friday was a scalding repudiation of the Washington establishment. The question left hanging after this angry jeremiad: How will the new commander in chief be able to work with these people to govern the country?....He dispensed with the usual grace notes of inaugural speeches, not even mentioning or shaking the hand of his vanquished opponent, Mrs. Clinton, who sat watching with her husband, former President Bill Clinton. (Mr. Trump did recognize the Clintons at a lunch at the Capitol after the ceremony.) While he thanked former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, for their “gracious aid” during the transition, he described the country Mr. Obama left behind as a Mad Max-like dystopia.

The Times was far more laudatory of Barack Obama when he was ushered in as the 44th president. Here are the headlines to the three front-page stories from January 21, 2009: “Obama Takes Oath, and Nation In Crisis Embraces the Moment – Milestone for America.” “Nation’s Many Faces in Extended First Family.” “Rejection Bush Era, Reclaiming Older Values.”

The paper’s lead editorial Saturday, “President Trump’s Dark Vision," was predictably dour: “President Trump presented such a graceless and disturbingly ahistoric vision of America on Friday that his Inaugural Address cast more doubt than hope on his presidency.”