WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump enjoyed one of his most quiet days yet Wednesday at the White House, allowing for the public discourse to remain on his well-received speech the previous night to a joint session of Congress.
His first tweet after the address was a simple note of gratitude.
“THANK YOU!” he wrote in a message consistent with the presidential and optimistic tone he had relayed Tuesday to what Nielsen media said was a TV audience of 43 million.
It was a departure from the lengthy, heated flurries of tweets he had fired off in recent weeks attacking the media, the judicial system, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), among others.
It also lacked some of his usual boastfulness and self-congratulations.
Even after the Dow soared 300 points to close above 21,000 for the first time ever, Trump did not crow about his potential influence as he has after past spikes.
Then at a luncheon of GOP leaders, the president’s only remark while reporters were in the room were to thank attendees and predict “tremendous success” as the work begins.
Trump’s speech Tuesday featured an about-face in tone compared to his inaugural address citing “American carnage” and his convention remarks, “I alone can fix it.” He stuck closely to his prepared remarks, though he is known for ad-libbing. He offered a sunny vision for the country and urged bipartisanship.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Americans can expect to see more of this side of Trump.
“This is the President Trump, the candidate Trump, the President-elect Trump that I’ve known,” Spicer said. “ . . . This is who he is.”
Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said the lower-key Trump of Wednesday was by design.
“Given that Trump has basked in rare, positive coverage today, his staff is probably trying to get him to avoid ruining the mood with another ill-timed utterance,” Kondik said.
The White House had been expected to release a new executive order on travel and immigration Wednesday to replace the ban hit by a slew of legal challenges, but it did not come.
Some news outlets reported that officials didn’t want the new measure to overshadow how the speech is playing out, but Spicer told reporters a formal release date had never been set and the executive order was still a work in progress.
Spicer described how the widow of slain Navy SEAL Ryan Owens came to be a special guest at Trump’s speech. Carryn Owens’ tears during the applause that thundered through the House chambers was the night’s emotional high point.
Trump invited Carryn Owens to his speech during a Jan. 30 call offering condolences for her husband’s death during a U.S.-led raid in Yemen, Spicer said.
She eventually accepted and brought her three children to meet Trump at the White House earlier Tuesday, Spicer said.
The president had asked her if she wouldn’t mind being referenced in his speech and she obliged, Spicer said.
“We have the right to honor the people who have served this nation and the sacrifice that the families make,” Spicer said of criticism that her presence served as a photo op.
Separately, Spicer declined to directly link Trump’s speech to the surging of the Dow, but said his election and policies were accompanied by a “sustained economic boon.”
Meanwhile, Democrats urged an emphasis on Trump’s substance and not his tone.
Schumer said the president’s policies hurt working-class Americans even if his words resonate with them.
“His speeches are detached from reality,” Schumer told NBC’s “Today” show.
Trump travels Thursday to Virginia and Friday to Florida.