White House Watch: The speechwriting conversation this week was dominated by President Trump’s speech to Congress. After the speech, most scribes agreed at least that it was professionally written and struck a tone appropriate to the occasion. Even the snarky comments spoke to this. “Big winner from last night's #JointAddress: professional speechwriters,” speechwriter Brian Reich tweeted. “If Trump can look/sound presidential, think what we can do for you!”
But it was before the speech where we heard the strongest statements about Trump’s rhetoric, in a Washington Post interview with Michael Gerson, chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush. “I love well-crafted rhetoric and I have never seen Trump practice it,” Gerson said. “He seems to believe that whatever is off the top of his head plumbs the depths of any topic. He is the living, riffing embodiment of anti-rhetoric.”
Over this speech, Politico reported, the president and his aides agonized.
I wonder if it changed Gerson’s mind. Speechwriter, did it change yours? —DM