In his first prime-time address to the nation since February, President Trump delivered forceful but restrained remarks announcing changes in the administration's approach to the war in Afghanistan.
One week after engaging in a wild, off-the-cuff presser with reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower that drove a critical news cycle for days, the president stuck closely to his script on Monday night. Trump's demeanor was appropriately grave, escalating in voice and tone at rhetorical crescendos to signal severity. "America will never let up until you are dealt a lasting defeat," he intoned, addressing the nation's enemies directly.
The president alluded to the debate swirling around his reaction to white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Va., proclaiming, "When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate."
Trump did not appear to ad-lib, visibly following the teleprompter as it scrolled through the script. Monday's speech also marked the president's first major address after the resignation of chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Following his performance at last week's presser in Trump Tower, one that lead to what some described as the worst week of his administration, the president proved on Monday he's still capable of playing the part.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.