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Echoes of Trump in Biden’s inauguration speech

Kyle Smith explains at National Review Online that the 46th president’s inauguration speech didn’t offer as much of a contrast as one might have expected from the speech his predecessor delivered four years earlier.

Credit where it’s due: The president’s repeated calls for unity were a tonic. After an extraordinarily contentious election that his opponent to this day insists on baselessly calling illegitimate, our new chief executive poured soothing oil on roiling waters and patriotically reminded us of how much we all have in common. As many worry about the nation’s place in the world, the new president said he would “reinforce old alliances and build new ones.” As unease poisons the land, it was invigorating to hear him vow to “rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people,” and gutsy, in a time of secularism, for him to mention that “the Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” …

… Yes, all of that is actually from President Trump’s inaugural address. And yes, the “totally unstoppable” gives it away. (And yes, four years later, his vanquished opponent Hillary Clinton still claims the election “was basically stolen” from her.) So it’s unfortunate that his successor Joe Biden had to give an inaugural address that was so dark and divisive, so full of bleak apocalyptic imagery and dire warnings about “white supremacy,” the first-ever mention of this scourge in an inaugural address. Though Barack Obama didn’t even mention racism in his two inaugural speeches, Biden repeatedly brought it up as part of our “ugly reality.” …

… Instead of saying, “This American carnage ends now,” as Trump did, Biden said very nearly the same thing: “We must end this uncivil war.” And though Trump may be a legendary egoist, it was nevertheless Biden who, in his first remarks as president, compared himself to Abraham Lincoln.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...