The Presidency is commonly referred to as the Bully Pulpit. There is no doubt that the President sets a tone, for good and bad. I thought it would be interesting to quantify how different these first months of the Trump administration has been compared to the same period for the Obama administration in terms of their use of the bully pulpit.
I searched the compilation of Presidential documents for keywords in speeches and interviews (but not Twitter) through May 31 of their second year to demonstrate what a shift this has been.
A repeated concern about the Trump administration has been its lack of respect for Democratic Institutions. Trump highlights issues like democracy, democratic institutions and the Founding Fathers only a fraction of the time President Obama did.
A hallmark of a democracy is respect for essential human rights and here is where there is a big gap between then under President Obama and now.
A hallmark of a democracy is respect for essential human rights and here is where there is a big gap between then under President Obama and now. The Trump administration has downplayed human rights and, given the bigotry that appears to be at the heart of the Trump administration, it is not surprising to see Trump’s relative silence on matters such as civil rights, tolerance and gay rights.
One of the benefits of the bully pulpit is its ability to set the agenda by what is prioritized. Here is where you see a big break between the two camps.
Issues like health care, education and poverty received far greater attention under President Obama.
The same is true when it comes to talking about the environment, climate change and science.
Words you do hear from the Trump administration are immigration and Islamic, which are major dog whistles to his base.
It should come as little surprise that the words the Trump administration uses to belittle the media were rarely spoken under Obama.
Finally, while one of the more puzzling aspects of the Trump administration has been the continued devotion of his evangelical base despite his conduct, it was President Obama who invoked his faith far more than this President.