WASHINGTON A day after President Trump struck a more conciliatory tone in his address to Congress, aides said Wednesday he will follow through on his campaign agenda while critics predicted he would revert back to his more combative and divisive approach.
Vice President Pence said the speech sets the stage for a Trump program that includes cutting taxes, rolling back regulations, reworking trade deals, building up the military, repealing and replacing President Obama's health care law, and putting "America First" in a variety of economic and foreign policies all items Trump promised during his presidential campaign.
"That's the reason why this speech and this agenda is resonating so well around America," Pence said on ABC's Good Morning America.
While White House aides praised the speech and touted the good reviews "last night was a big night for the president," spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump himself returned to Twitter early Wednesday with a short, up-tempo message: "THANK YOU!"
Trump met later with Republican congressional leaders to discuss the timing of legislative plans that include a health care plan overhaul and a tax cut package.
"We are here to start the process," Trump said. "It begins as of now, and well have tremendous success."
Democrats, meanwhile, said Trump has tried a softer approach before, then followed up with chaotic organization and attacks on critics while pursuing a conservative agenda that favors the wealthy at the expense of the poor and the middle class.
Trump's effort "was clearly a bait and switch speech," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Noting that Republicans have yet to put up specific plans for jobs or health care, Pelosi said that "all they have is rhetoric we don't have any reality in terms of any legislation."
During his hour-plus address to Congress, Trump offered to work with Democrats on a variety of domestic priorities, possibly including a compromise immigration bill. The president said he is already working with foreign allies on better sharing the costs of mutual defense, citing recent talks with NATO members.
Proclaiming that "the time for trivial fights is behind us," the president said that "I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold, and daring things for our country."
Trump also voiced policies that have drawn intense opposition and will continue to do so.
His proposed travel ban from Muslim countries continues to be the subject of lawsuits and protests. While Trump says his deportation policies focus on criminals and gang members in the the United States illegally, critics say his plan is scooping up hardworking people who have had only minor scrapes with the law.
Even some Republicans have questioned Trump's criticisms of free-trade agreements, saying his polices amount to protectionism that could slow the economy and isolationism that could alienate long-standing allies.
"What he says and what he does how he talks and how he walks are totally different," said House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Schumer noted that, when Trump spoke with journalists just hours before his speech, he mentioned the possibility of a path to legal status for migrants who are in the country illegally. In the speech itself, Trump did not mention legal status.
"Mark my words," Schumer said, "this is going to be walked back. We're going to see no plan at all."
Trump, meanwhile, said voters had their reasons for electing him, and he will follow through on his promises.
Casting his election as a "rebellion" by people who have felt ignored for too long, Trump said that "the chorus became an earthquake, and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand: That America must put its own citizens first, because only then can we truly make America great again."
Skeptics noted that Trump has expressed a new tone before, citing his carefully crafted speeches at the Republican convention and on election night.
In each case, they noted, Trump quickly returned to Twitter fights and political attacks.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who conducted a focus group Tuesday night that gave Trump high marks for his speech, said the follow-up will be key.
"On election night, and again last night, he proved that he could reach across the aisle with a strong appeal to Democrats and those opposed to him in the past," Luntz said. "The question is, 'what does he say and do the next day?'"