(CNN) – As President Trump basked in the glow of his big speech to Congress, the hard work of turning those promises into reality was the first order of business Wednesday at the White House, with the president sitting down for lunch with republican congressional leaders.
Trump said, “We’re just here to start the process. It begins as of now and we think we’re going to have tremendous success.”
Yet tremendous success depends not only on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, but on persuading the party’s rank-and-file to pay for his agenda.
The president delayed again Wednesday the signing of a travel ban to replace the one blocked in the courts.
The secretary of state, defense secretary, and national security adviser are all pushing for Iraq to be removed from the administration’s list of majority-Muslim countries included in the ban.
But in most of his prime-time address, Trump struck a more optimistic note. Trump said, “A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.”
But it remains an open question whether it was a lasting pivot or a one-night performance after a rough start to his presidency. In either case, his wish list is an expensive and complicated one, even among republicans, not to mention democrats who are largely resisting the Trump agenda.
After the speech, Speaker Ryan offered praise, but walked away when asked about the price tag for the president’s proposals.
Several fiscal conservative lawmakers said they could not support an agenda that would add to the nation’s deficit.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin explained that the plans would be paid for through economic growth. He said, “It’s the number one issue. We’ve got to get back to sustained long term growth rates of 3% or higher. We’re going to have a tax plan that’s going to bring business back to the U.S. and make it competitive again.”
The president’s biggest moment of the speech, which is still reverberating with many, was in his new role as commander-in-chief when he paid tribute to the widow of fallen Navy Seal Ryan Owens, who died in a raid in Yemen.
Nielsen says more than 47-million Americans watched Trump’s address. About 70% of them said it made them more optimistic about the direction of the country, according to a CNN-ORC poll.