State of the Union Address: To the American People

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On Tuesday, Feb. 5th, after a 35-day government shutdown – the longest in U.S. history – President Donald Trump gave his second State of the Union address.

With Vice-President Mike Pence and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seated behind him, President Trump started off with a message of solidarity, stating, “The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.”

Trump emphasized unity between the two parties; about the importance of compromise and the similarities both parties share. He reminded Congress that people on both sides want the same things: jobs, fair trade, better infrastructure, cheaper healthcare, prescription drugs and a safe immigration system. He pointed out, “Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.”

Continuing with his message of unity and cooperation, especially at a time of great party division, the President said, “We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution – and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.” To this, Speaker Pelosi stood up and applauded, a hint at a sense of irony in his statement that has since gone viral on YouTube.

Trump continued with the booming economy of the United States, emphasizing that 5.3 million jobs have been created since his election, adding that it was, “Something which almost everyone said was impossible to do.” He also mentioned growing wages and 5 million people being lifted off of food stamps.   

Soon after, Trump shifted his speech toward his controversial immigration policy. For fifteen minutes, he talked about the issue of immigration and the need for the infamous border wall. Part of the reason for the shutdown’s everlasting state was Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build the wall that will prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Pelosi refused to fund the wall, calling it “an immorality.”  

After a month-long standoff, President Trump agreed to reopen the government for 3 weeks. He began his speech on immigration by reminding Congress that there are 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund the government. He didn’t, however, threaten to declare a national emergency, as many speculated he might. “This is a moral issue”, he noted. “The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans.”  

The address went on to congratulate the record-breaking 117 women who were elected into Congress in 2018. “Exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before,” he proudly announced. This statement aroused a thunderous applause from the Congresswomen, 106 of whom wore white suits to SOTU as a tribute to the women’s suffrage movement.  

Caught off-guard by this reaction from both sides of the party, Trump quipped, “You weren’t supposed to do that,” scoring a quick laugh.

The President took the opportunity to announce the time and place for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which will take place in Vietnam on Feb. 27th and 28th, 2019.  

During the first historic meeting with the Korean leader on June 12th, 2018, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and President Trump signed a joint statement that would usher a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. “As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Trump informed in his address. “Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months.”  

In typical Trump fashion, he claimed, “If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea.”

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