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Expert IQ Report: Trump’s Inaugural Address through the Lens of AI

23 January 2017

Leveraging the intelligence of Cogito, Expert System analyzed the new president’s speech
to identify concepts, style and emotions and compared it with the inaugural addresses of Presidents Bush and Obama

– From a linguistic point of view, how will Trump’s first speech as president be characterized? And, what are the primary differences compared to those of Presidents Bush and Obama?

To address these questions, Expert System used its cognitive Cogito technology to analyze Trump’s inaugural address in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017, and compared it to those given by George W. Bush in 2001 and Barack Obama in 2009.

Trump’s speech was shorter than that of his two predecessors, and he also used shorter sentences.

In terms of other aspects of linguistic style, all three speeches showed a preference for shorter words, a common vocabulary and a greater use of nouns.

The speeches of Trump and Bush were easier to understand compared to that of Obama (Trump’s and Bush’s speeches were rated as medium-level difficulty for legibility, while Obama’s speech was rated at a higher level of difficulty). A striking feature in Trump’s speech was his use of adjectives, which was much higher compared to his predecessors.

“America” and “American” were the focus in Trump’s speech

Expert System’s analysis highlighted the main concepts present in Trump’s inaugural address. Trump made constant references to “America” and “American” (also emphasized in the slogan repeated several times at the end of the address), while Bush emphasized “country” and “story,” and Obama focused on “work” and “generation.”

Trump, like both of his predecessors, repeatedly used the possessive pronoun “our” and the noun “nation”, which convey a strong sense of unity. Like Obama, his words were targeted mainly to “people” while Bush spoke to citizens (“citizen”).

The theme of ecology, which was used often in President Obama’s speech (“planet”, “earth”), was never mentioned by Trump. Instead, the 45th president spoke more frequently of concepts related to protection (“protect”) and dreams (“dream”), while the theme of justice (“justice”, “law”) was more prevalent with Bush.

Cloud Trump

The main themes of Donald Trump’s inaugural address on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Bush-Obama cloud

From Trump, “success”, from Bush “courage” and from Obama, “hope”

The artificial intelligence algorithms from Expert System also make it possible to identify the primary emotions that can be transmitted in text. Trump’s words contain a mix of positive emotions such as “success” and “commitment,” but they also refer to negative emotions such as “fear,” perhaps to emphasize his theme of “protection.”

In contrast, Bush’s speech transmitted “courage”, as well as “hope” and “compassion”. Obama’s speech expressed a greater variety of contrasting emotions, above all “hope,” followed by “action,” “fear,” “contempt”, “courage,” “success,” “effort,” “anxiety” and “trust.”

The full analysis from Expert System is available here.