On Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. EST President Donald Trump presented his State of the Union address to Congress. The government shutdown delayed the State of the Union address. Various media sources live-streamed the event from the House of Representatives chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
President Trump’s introduction
“The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or Democrat agenda, it is the agenda of the American people,” Trump said, “victory is not winning for our party, victory is winning for our country.”
President Trump began by briefly describing American history and 20th-century accomplishments. He welcomed three D-Day veterans and retired U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the start of the address.
Trump said that in order to continue moving forward “we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.”
He then described what he believed were some important accomplishments of the Trump administration: the economy doubling in size, the lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years and the elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate penalty.
Border security and bipartisanship
President Trump described the success of bipartisan action. His examples included the reforms of the Veterans Affairs under Obama and the First Step Act which focuses on reforming criminal justice.
“Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland and secure our very dangerous southern border,” Trump said. “Now is the time for Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers and human traffickers out of business.”
Following his explanation about the threats of having an unsecured border, he welcomed Deborah Bissell. An illegal alien recently burglarized and murdered Bissell’s parents in their Nevada home.
Trade and foreign policy
Trump highlighted the new trade deal between the U.S. and China. In addition, he touched on the $100 billion defense spending increase from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. After that, he explained the need for Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the United States Reciprocal Trade Act. Trump addressed improving healthcare infrastructure, continuing diplomacy with North Korea, attempting constructive talks with Afghan groups and addressing anti-Semitism.
Democratic Party’s response to the address
Stacey Abrams was the speaker for the Democrats’ response to the state of the union. Abrams began her address with a story about growing up in a working-class family and described why she ran for public office.
“The shutdown was a stunt, engineered by the President of the United States,” Abrams said. “This White House responds timidly while first-graders practice active-shooter drills and the price of higher education grows ever steeper.”
She then expressed the need for protection of the Affordable Care Act and brought up the topic of climate change, which Trump did not address.
“Families’ hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn’t understand it,” Abram said.
Abrams talked about the reality of voter suppression and her reasoning for starting a nonpartisan organization called Fair Fight to advocate for voting rights.
“Even as I am very disappointed by the president’s approach to our problems, I still don’t want him to fail,” Abrams said. “But, we need him to tell the truth and to respect his duties and respect the extraordinary diversity that defines our progress.”
Edited by Ciera Noe
Featured image courtesy of The White House