On Tuesday night President Trump gave his first State of the Union Address to Congress where he expressed that the state of our union is “strong” because the people of our nation are “strong”. In a speech that lasted for an hour and twenty-one minutes and had 115 applause lines, President Trump hammered home messages on a plethora of topics from our booming economy to the importance of a strong foreign policy.
What The White House Said Before The Speech
Before the speech, the White House said that this speech would be one that reached across the aisle and attempted to build bipartisan support for his second year in office. This comes after a year where the President addressed issues that came from his campaign that fell heavily toward the Republican side of the balance. In his speech, the president said that he wants to extend a hand to members of both parties, “to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed.”
What Was Covered In The Speech
Immigration: Similar to the campaign, Trump spent a lot of his speech discussing his strong stance on immigration. He laid out a four-pillar plan that he will submit to Congress that includes the following:
- A Path to Citizenship for Dreamers- Trump said he wants to allow immigrants who meet education, work requirements and show good character should be able to become American citizens.
- Fully Securing the Southern Border- Trump said he wants to build a wall on the southern border, close the loopholes for criminals who try and enter into our country illegally, and end the “dangerous” practice of catch and release.
- End the Visa Lottery- Trump wants to end what he refers to as “randomly gave out green cards to people.”
- End Chain Migration- Trump wants to end the current system that allows immigrants to bring family members to the US, citing the New York terrorist attack that was made possible because of the chain migration system in the US.
Infrastructure: Again, similar to his campaign, Trump touched on his somewhat unconventional infrastructure plan. President Trump touched on a few topics:
- Trump wants to decrease the approval process for buildings and roads and decrease it to a max two-year process
- Trump called on Congress to pass a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that uses private and public outlets to create an infrastructure overhaul
Economy: The President touched on his large amount of economic success’ and drew on imagery such as Detroit, to exemplify how he is bringing jobs back to areas of the country that were once ravaged by economic failure. Trump said he will allow the Motor City to “rev their engines again.” The President also touched on all the business regulations he rolled back that have in return allows American companies to prosper and remain in the US.
Prescription Drugs: The President discussed an issue that he is going to most likely get some of the most bipartisan support on as well. He discussed the success the administration has had in approving generic drugs and also ensured the American people that he wants to lower drug prices because he does not want patients to have to travel to other countries for treatment.
North Korea: One of the most powerful moments of the address came when the President discussed the topic of North Korea and drew attention to one of his special guests: Ji Seong-ho. Seong-ho is a North Korean refugee who managed to escape the regime on physical crutches after having both of his legs run over by a train. The president continued his harsh rhetoric about the hermit regime, encouraging Congress to continue to fund our military, and strengthen our nuclear arsenal to deter any acts of aggression by other nations.
While the White House stated that this speech was going to be one of unification, some believe that it did the opposite, and further exaggerated the partisan divide. Fox News political commentator said after the speech that he felt like the speech was no “olive branch” to the democratic party. However, in post-speech polls, CBS reported an extremely positive reaction from Americans. They reported that among speech watchers 65% were proud and 35% felt safer.
Guests of the President
- Ji Seong-ho– Was once a starving boy in North Korea who tried to steal coal to barter and get food scraps eventually passing out, and eventually woke up when a train ran over his limbs. Ho then traveled on crutches throughout China and southeast Asia and now lives in Seoul where he helps North Koreans trying to escape the regime.
- Otto Warmbier’s Parents, Brother, and Sister– Supported their son who was a student at the University of Virginia who was arrested and sentenced to labor in North Korea and was eventually sent back to the US basically dead.
- Staff Sergeant Justin Peck– Saved a fellow service member who was injured in a bomb attack in Raqqa, Syria by performing medical acts to save his life. Peck saved his team member despite the extreme danger he put himself in.
- Preston Sharp– A young boy who organized the placement of 40,000 American flags on the graves of veterans when he realized their graves were not decorated.
- Cpl. Matthew Bradford– Lost his sight and both of his legs when he stepped on an explosive in Iraq. Bradford became the first double-amputee to re-enlist in the Marine Corps.
- The Holets Family of New Mexico– Officer Ryan Holets was on duty when he saw pregnant woman about to inject herself with heroin, and with the overwhelming support of his wife, eventually adopted the baby of the homeless woman that he saw
- Celestino “CJ” Martinez– ICE agent who spent last fifteen years fighting gang violence, eventually commanding operations that arrested over 400 gang members, 200+ of which were MS-13 (who ordered his immediate execution).
- Elizabeth Alvarado, Robert Mickens, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas- Parents of Nisa Mickens (15) and Kayla Cuevas (16) who were killed by the “savage” MS-13 gang on Long Island.
- Steve and Sandy Stoub– Run Stoub manufacturing who just finished the best year in their 20 year history and because of tax reform they are expanding wages and expanding their company.
- Corey Adams– One of the Stoub manufacturing workers who lost their job during the recession and trained to become a welder. Adams is now using his increased bonus that he received because of the recent tax reform to put toward a home for his family
- Ashlee Leppert– A member of the Coast Guard from Texas who rescued countless people during the wild flooding in Texas last year, specifically orchestrating the extraction of a woman and her four children.
- David Dahlberg– A fire prevention technician who rescued 60 children at a summer camp from the California wildfires last July.
- Job Bridgers– Founder of the “Cajun Navy”, a non-profit rescue team that responded to flooding in Louisiana. He still collects donations for the areas that are still affected by the devastation.