Historically, Oval Office addresses in the United States have been given by presidents to unify the nation after a crisis. For example, George W. Bush gave an Oval Office address after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and Barack Obama delivered an Oval Office address after the San Bernardino shooting on December 6, 2015. On January 8, 2019, Donald Trump delivered his only Oval Office address to date in response to an “immigration crisis.” This crisis, according to Trump, can only be averted with the construction of a wall at the United States’ southern border. This presentation applies Barbara Bieseker’s rhetorical theories in “No Time for Mourning” to Trump’s Oval Office Address declaring a state of national emergency arising from illegal immigration. This analysis dissects the speech with the goal of revealing the rhetorical underpinnings of the speech, and examines how “crisis” rhetoric can mobilize a nation.
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Perkins, Nicole, "Donald Trump’s ‘Presidential’ Rhetoric for the Wall: The Mobilization of ‘Crisis’ Rhetoric on Behalf of a Campaign Promise" (2020). Honors Theses. 274.