I don’t want to unnecessarily alarm you, but someone needs to check the basement of the White House for pods, because Donald Trump is clearly not himself. Oh sure, the new president looks like, talks like, and combs his hair like the man who won the Oval Office back in November, but I’m pretty sure he is not the same guy.
This week 47 million people tuned in for an address to Congress by the fire-breathing, populist scourge of the DC establishment. No doubt many had buckets of popcorn and Junior Mints ready for the political equivalent of Wrestlemania — a hair ripping, eye-gouging smack down of the Capitol Hill gang, with all the hyperbole Mr. Trump wears like a cape.
And what did they get? A normal, reasoned, thoughtful speech — one that his political foes still deeply disliked, but a speech that could have been given by any number of his predecessors. No wild conspiracy theories. No lashing out at imaginary enemies. Not even a swift backhand for those of us in the media. So what can explain the change?
Maybe it was just the people at hand. Many have noted President Trump, like a good auctioneer, reads his crowds well. When he stands before his hyper-partisan fans he heaves red meat. When he faces a roomful of reporters, he swats at them like mosquitoes knowing he’ll get headlines for what he says, and praise from supporters for how he said it. So when he stands in front of a bunch of career politicians…you get the drift.
Or maybe it was the battering he and his team have taken in these early weeks. Perhaps his plummet in the approval polls convinced him to change his tone.
Or could it be he realized he must get along with some people in that chamber to get any kind of legislation or money to back his big plans?
Or maybe it was the work of aliens.
Whatever the cause, a lot of people are saying he looks presidential - and for all the many things that have been said about Donald Trump, that is a first.