What does Donald Trump need to say in his speech tonight to unify the party and appear more presidential? And what could he say that would attract Michiganders and other Midwest, “rustbelt” voters?
The descriptions of Donald Trump given by his children and supporters at the Republican National Convention have been positive and humanizing, but come as a bit of a surprise, says Matt Resch, founder of Resch Strategies public relations firm in Lansing. He’s also the former deputy communications director for Gov. John Engler and press secretary to then-Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus.
“The thing that has struck me the most, listening to the speeches I’ve listened to the last few nights, is that the person who’s being described is not the person that we’re seeing or have seen for the last year and a half,” says Resch, “And that’s kind of the thing that had me scratching my head a little bit.”
The potential downside to this, says Resch, is that Trump’s speech needs to show how he can fit these descriptions and still remain authentic. The risk doesn’t come from the loyal supporters he has already secured, he says, but those who are wavering. Republicans trying to increase their confidence in Trump are looking for seriousness and substance, says Resch, but he would benefit from a speech that shows who he is as a person rather than one that addresses policy.
“Why hasn’t (Trump) said any of the things that (his son) said?” says Resch of Donald Trump Jr.’s speech earlier this week. “Why has he not offered any of the substance that his son offered, and why should it be the son’s job to get up on the national stage and say, ‘hey, this is what my dad’s going to do,’ when his dad has given us really nothing over the last year to back any of that up.”
It will be hard to sway people’s feelings, says Resch, because more people than usual have already established an opinion of Trump going into the convention. He’s speaking to the angst of Americans who feel they haven’t been represented, he says, and who are willing to look past his millionaire status. He’s a train conductor, says Resch, and doesn’t care if voters get on or off, as long as they don’t slow him down.
To hear more of the conversation with Matt Resch, including what Trump’s speech might be like, click on the audio player above.