The Columns

W&L's Strong Composes “The Trumpsburg Address”

— by on September 23rd, 2016

The following opinion piece by Bob Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in The Roanoke Times on September 23, 2016, and is reprinted here by permission.

Strong: The Trumpsburg Address

As the first presidential candidate debate in this 2016 election cycle gets closer, the Trump campaign is still focused on the challenging task of making their candidate appear to be more presidential. They need fewer photographs in the baseball cap, more words on teleprompters, some speaking engagements that don’t look like high school pep rallies, policy proposals that include a few details and periodic efforts to elevate the tone of the campaign.

Thus far there have been no great Trump speeches. But that may be about to change. It seems that Melania’s speechwriters, who haven’t had much to do since the convention, have recently gotten together, looked at examples of famous presidential addresses and worked hard to give those texts the Trump touch. It’s not really plagiarism; it’s just making speeches great again.

An example of their good work has recently come to light. The speech does not yet have a formal title, but it might be called:

The Trumpsburg Address

Twelve score years ago our forefathers, all four of them, brought forth on this continent a newly constructed nation, conceived in competition and dedicated to the proposition that most people are losers and only a few of us get to be winners.

Now we are engaged in a great uncivil election testing whether that nation, so constructed, has enough losers to make me President of the United States. We are met on a great stage in that election. I have come to dedicate a portion of this stage to vicious and vile insults of crooked Hillary and the media monsters who unfairly support her in a rigged political process. It is altogether fitting and proper that I should do this, believe me.

But, in a larger sense, I can not insult, I can not insinuate, I can not incite on this stage. The things I have previously said, truthful and otherwise (mostly otherwise), have already destroyed this election far above my poor power to now add or detract from that destruction. The world will little note, nor long remember what I say here, but it can never forget my hair, and the desecration I have done to the presidential selection system. It is for me to be here dedicated to that cause for which I gave the full measure of my twitter account — that I here highly resolve that this election shall not have gone on endlessly and in vain — that this nation, under Trump, shall someday have a new wall of freedom — and that publicity of the Trump, by the Trump, for the Trump,shall not perish from cable news networks.

Robert A. Strong | Strong is the Wilson professor of politics at Washington and Lee University and is currently completing a book on the presidency of George H.W. Bush.