President Trump devoted less than two minutes of his first address to Congress to discuss energy issues, but he used the plenum Tuesday evening as an opportunity to mention several of his accomplishments during his first weeks in office.
About nine and one-half minutes into his 60-minute speech, Trump kicked off his comments on energy by mentioning theexecutive order he signed last Friday, which requires every agency of the federal government to establish a regulatory reform task force to identify regulations that should be repealed or modified.
"We have undertaken an historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency," Trump said. "And we're imposing a new rule which mandates that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. We're going to stop the regulations that threaten the future and livelihood of our great coal miners."
Trump then segued to thethree presidential memorandums he signed last month: two to advance construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, and a third ordering the Department of Commerce to develop a plan to maximize the use of American steel for pipeline construction.
"We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs. And I've issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel."
Although political pundits and fact checkers were only beginning the process of analyzing Trump's speech and dissecting its contents, the general consensus was that the speech had a more positive tone than his inaugural address, which he delivered less than six weeks ago. Democratic lawmakers sat through most of the speech, while Republicans regularly rose to applaud, and there were moments when it appeared that some were laughing at his comments.
Of note, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) stood when Trump mentioned protecting coal mining jobs. Many Democrats also appeared to be standing when the president mentioned his memorandum on the use of U.S. steel for domestic pipeline construction.