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Trial Balloons

Channeling Donald Trump

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Maybe I'm channeling Donald Trump.

Or maybe he's been reading my columns - or my mind.

All I know for sure is that when he gave his great speech to Congress Tuesday night he did exactly what I suggested he should do that morning in my column in The Hill - stop being Donald Trump.

Quoting my father, I wrote that there comes a time when the president-elect has to become the president - and then start acting like one who represents the whole country, even his enemies.

I said the president should be a conservative, make conservative appointments and run a conservative government.

But I also suggested that he immediately stop catering only to his base and tell us in his speech where he wants to take the country and how he plans to take us there.

President Trump did all that and much more in his widely applauded speech Tuesday night, which was a great turning point for his administration to move forward on his agenda.

By spelling out his core goals, and asking the House and Senate to create the legislation to put them into place, Trump proved to Congress he wants to lead.

On Tuesday night he set the cornerstone for his administration's agenda.

Like Trump Tower, he now has to begin rebuilding and rehabilitating America from the infrastructure up.

Many of our bridges and roads are in shambles. We take off and land at airports that would shame a Third World country.

In Studio City, Ca., not far from my house, a 90-year-old pipe burst and caused a sinkhole that swallowed cars but thankfully no people. 

President Trump is absolutely right to want to throw a trillion public and private dollars at the crumbling infrastructure of the country - the more private the funding, the better.

He is also absolutely right to want to rebuild and build-up our military after eight years of neglect by the Obama administration.

As my father used to say, we fought four wars during his lifetime - none of which were fought because America was too strong.

President Trump understands that. So does Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

So does his disgruntled fellow Republican, Senator John McCain, who'll someday applaud the president if he stays on course to rejuvenate the Army, Air Force and Navy.

The president's signature campaign issue, enforcing and reforming our awful immigration policy, will face a huge political fight and a lot of compromising.

He'll need to find the area where we can all come together. Nobody is going to get 100 percent of what they want, so everyone - including the president's base -- has to be willing to give a little.

President Trump's other aims - lowering taxes on people and corporations, cutting regulations on businesses and repealing and replacing ObamaCare - are goals conservatives have been dreaming about for years.

He has a real chance of accomplishing many of his goals and the goals of conservatives in the next 200 days, but he can't do it alone. 

He's going to need the advice and help of thousands of people.

So if I could give one more bit of advice to President Trump, which comes from a placard that was on my father's desk, it is, "There's no telling what a man can accomplish or where he could go if he doesn't worry about who gets the credit."

My father knew it's never about taking credit, Mr. Trump, it's all about getting things done. 

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