In a finely tuned political speech Monday, Donald Trump reached out to mainstream Republicans on taxes and regulation, while sticking with the populist message on trade that helped him win the GOP presidential nomination.
The mix of policy prescriptions added some substance to Mr. Trump’s slogans and sought to unite Republicans bordering on panic over his sliding poll numbers. In the week after the conventions, the billionaire-turned-politician had veered into attacks on the family of a slain Muslim American soldier and resisted backing top Republicans in their reelection bids, before eventually relenting.
By Monday, in his economic speech in Detroit, a new Trump emerged – one who calmly withstood 13 interruptions by protesters and delivered a policy agenda that Republicans could rally around, including sharp digs at Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
But Trump also threw in some red meat for workers attracted to his “America first” philosophy. “Americanism, not globalism, will be our new credo,” he said.
“This was a reset and contrast speech,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Overall, it was one of his best policy speeches, because he was able to blend conservative economic theory with a mix of Trump populism. This was about solidifying the Republican base, but also pushing back on the meme that he doesn’t have substance and is all bluster and personality.”