June 19, 2019 - Wednesday
Orlando Magic? Trump Makes 2020 Bid Official
They braved the traffic, the scorching temperatures, and endless lines -- all hoping to catch a glimpse of history: the official kickoff of Donald Trump's 2020 campaign. From tents, where people camped out, to the parking-lot tailgates, the pictures outside Orlando's Amway Center went a long way to dispelling the media's myth of the president's unpopularity. With tens of thousands of people packing out downtown, the scene looked more like a national championship than a politically rally. Except that in this case, the prize is much bigger: America -- and its future.
After two and a half years of doing exactly what he said he would, the president's 2020 launch felt like a celebration -- in large part, because it was one. Donald Trump enters his reelection season having checked off more campaign promises in half a term than most elected officials do in their whole careers. For long stretches in Tuesday night's speech, he could revel in those hard-earned accomplishments. "Our country is now thriving, prospering and booming. And frankly, it's soaring to incredible new heights. Our economy is the envy of the world, perhaps the greatest economy we've had in the history of our country. And as long as you keep this team in place, we have a tremendous way to go. Our future has never ever looked brighter or sharper."
Part of the reason for that goes back to something the president touched on last night. "Since the very first day I walked through the doors of the White House. I have never forgotten who sent me there." The base, who was energized in 2016, is just as galvanized now after seeing what three years of Donald Trump has meant for our faith, our families, and our freedoms. While the other side runs over the values that make America great, this White House has made the administration a safe haven for the millions of people who still care about the ideals that founded our nation.
"Our political opponents looked down with hatred on our values and with utter disdain for the people whose lives they want to run. They called you and us -- do you remember this? -- they called us 'deplorables.' That was a mistake. That was a big mistake. I'll never forget." The Left, he insisted, has "been afflicted with an ideological sickness." This is a movement, the president points out, so radical that it "now supports taxpayer-funded abortion right up to the moment of birth, ripping babies straight from the mother's womb." Top Democrats, he shook his head, "have even opposed measures to prevent the execution of children after birth." Boos rained down from the arena. "Republicans believe that every life is a sacred gift from God," the president countered. "That is why I have asked Congress to prohibit extreme late-term abortion."
The president reached back into 2016 to borrow another galvanizing cry: the courts. His opponents, he warned, "They want to take away your judges. They want to pack the court with far-Left ideologues and they want to radicalize our judiciary." Almost three years into his term, he didn't mind bragging, "[Mine] is going to be a hard record to beat." "I will soon have appointed my 145th judge," he told a cheering crowd. "President Obama was very nice to us. He didn't fill the positions... By the time we're finished with the rest, we will have record percentages... except for one person [who] has a higher percentage than your favorite president, Donald Trump. Do you know who that president is?" Trump asked. "His name is George Washington."
While 24 Democrats compete for the mantle of "most extreme," the contrast from Tuesday night's podium couldn't be starker. Instead of infanticide, censorship, LGBT activism, and socialism, the president promised, "privacy, free speech, religious liberty, and the right to keep and bear arms." Those were the values that powered him to victory in 2016, and they'll be just as important -- if not more so -- over the next 18 months. Judging by the themes he chose to close out his speech, the president understands that better than anyone.
"We will never stop fighting for the values that hold us together as one America. We believe in the American Constitution and the rule of law. We believe in the dignity of work and the sanctity of life. We believe that faith and family not government and bureaucracy are the true American way. We believe children should be taught to love our country, honor our history, and always respect our great American flag. And we will live by the words of our national motto: In God We Trust... Two and a half years ago... [w]e won a victory for American self-government, self-rule, and self-determination. We have been blessed by God with the greatest nation on the face of the earth, and we are going to keep it that way!"
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.