Though the number of attendees is contested, one fact is not: Donald Trump’s inauguration speech was as unorthodox as his campaign.
He took a dark tone, a fact that prompted surprise all over the world, according to GroundTruth Director Charlie Sennott.
“The whole world was watching this vision of a really dark, bleak picture of America,” he said. “It seemed to overlook the incredible bright light of technology and pioneering ideas. I think there’s a view of America that was revealed in the language of President Trump’s inaugural address that was just very unusual.”
Sennott explained that though Trump’s message was bleak, it contained some bipartisan truths about states in the middle of the country that have been overlooked. He said drawing the public’s attention toward those left behind, despite a surge in innovation in the U.S., is a part of “the brilliance of Trump.”
“It’s really important to remember not to get so wildly divided and partisan that we overlook some of the deep truths that were in that messaging, even though it was pretty dark in the way it was expressed,” said Sennott
Despite the surprise around the world at Trump’s inauguration speech, similar movements are afoot in Europe, said Sennott, as evidenced by the Brexit vote and the upcoming French presidential election.
“The way President Trump has articulated the values that he holds in this new spirit of change that he wants to bring to the country is something that’s really resonating in Europe,” Sennott said. “The far-right is on the rise in Europe.”
He was also quick to point out that despite the popularity of the movement championed by Trump, some aspects of his ascension should raise red flags.
“There are elements of watching the way this administration is dealing with the media that absolutely remind me of authoritarian regimes I’ve covered all over the world,” he said. “It’s like a playbook.”
Charlie Sennott is a news analyst at WGBH and heads up the GroundTruth Project. To hear his interview in its entirety, click on the audio link above.