WASHINGTON - Not long after President Donald Trump was sworn in, we happened to run into the Rev. Jesse Jackson on the street. He gave a thumbs-up to Trump’s inauguration speech but said the new commander in chief has much work to do in order to unify a nation riven by a divisive campaign.
“The speech was full of hope and inclusion and he reached out to cities in a way they’ve not been reached out to for a long time,” he said. “But with that must come a target, a timetable and a budget.”
Trump’s speech hit many of the populist chords he refined on the campaign trail, portraying Washington as full of elite insiders indifferent to the common man.
“That all changes, starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you,” he said, before ticking off goals: “We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.”
Trump capped his speech with his famous phrase: “Together, we will make America great again.”
Jackson says Trump must back up his rhetoric with action.
“I’m hopeful. There’s an awful lot of damage done that needs to be cleaned up,” he said. “The campaign was very divisive and very painful… Referring to President Barack (Obama) as the founder of ISIS, Hillary (Clinton) as a nasty woman. He’ll have to have to clean that stuff up and then put forth some concrete plans.”
Jackson pointed to Trump’s low approval ratings and issued a challenge.
“What does a man with so much power do? Grace can expand your power. Arrogance can diminish it. I hope he’ll have the grace and commitment to put all of us under one big tent.”
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