Political Speech: The Rhetorical Analysis Of Donald Trump

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On 20th January 2017, as an inaugural address, Donald Trump delivered a political speech at the steps of the United States Capitol, when taking the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States of America. However, Trump’s speech did not carry out the genre in the usual way – by bringing the country together, reiterating common values and setting forth guiding presidential principles, instead, in a persuasive attempt, he called for unity in a rather isolated “us against them” manner. Contrary to most inaugural speeches, Trump kept the rhetorical flourishes to a minimum. His strong use of ethos portrayed him as a disruptor of the political establishment and as a forerunner, paving his own way. With multiple ad hominem attacks to his predecessors, he evoked a sense of urgency of his appointment as President in these dire times to “Make America Great Again”. He also extensively appealed to the pathos or emotions of the audience by using simple and direct language. In a nation where patriotism should never be underestimated, Trump tugged the heartstrings of his target audience to provide reassurance. However, Trump’s persuasiveness is weakened as a result of his failure to establish any logic to his ample arguments, especially to the American citizens who did not vote for him but have to accept him as their President for the next four years. Echoing a nationalist and populist undertone, Trump approached the topics of American policy and economy with a focus on
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