Buried under a stack of presidential paperwork President Trump signed shortly after his inauguration was his first official proclamation, declaring last Friday a National Day of Patriotic Devotion.
Trump proclaimed the day to honor his own inauguration, proclaiming a new national pride that would strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country.
But the White House never released the proclamation until it arrived Monday at the Office of the Federal Register, where it was scheduled to be published Tuesday.
The proclamation continues a tradition that began with President George H.W. Bush in 1989 and followed by every president since. The one-page proclamations read like mini-inaugural addresses, and can set a rhetorical tone for the entire presidency.
And Trump’s tone is distinctly different from his predecessors, said Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston professor who studies presidential proclamations.
Trump’s proclamation is missing the personal humility seen in the previous proclamations, he said. Instead, it strikes a more nationalistic note.
A new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart. We are one people, united by a common destiny and a shared purpose, Trump’s proclamation said.
There are no greater people than the American citizenry, and as long as we believe in ourselves, and our country, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he signs paperwork immediately following his inauguration in the President’s Room of the Senate at the Capitol Jan. 20.
Trump’s National Day of Patriotic Devotion is the first inaugural proclamation that doesn’t explicitly invoke God although it speaks of sacred values and prayers for peace or quote previous great Americans like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bush, for example, proclaimed a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in his 1989 inaugural proclamation. “I am humbled before God and seek his counsel and favor on our land, he said.
These proclamations trend towards humble and gracious language as new presidents struggle with the enormity of the task in front of them, Rottinghaus said. There is an awestruck tone to most of these first proclamations as incoming presidents acknowledge they are fallible and burdened with a great responsibility.
For Bill Clinton, the proclamations declared a National Day of Fellowship and Hope in 1993, and a National Day of Hope and Renewal in 1997. George W. Bush returned to his father’s National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in 2001.
And for President Obama, the days were known as the National Day of Reconciliation and Renewal in 2009 and the National Day of Hope and Resolve” in 2013.