President Trump delivered his first State of the Union address to the nation on Tuesday night, calling for bipartisan support for his second year of a “new American moment,” as he unveiled his infrastructure plan to improve rural and U.S. cities landscapes, as well as his desire of enacting a “down the middle” comprise on immigration reform.
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,” Trump said at the Capitol for his first State of the Union address.”
Trump began his address outlining the tragedies that American faced in 2017, from three natural disasters that devastated parts of Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, the California wildfire and the several mass shootings.
“Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans,” Trump said. “In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,”
During his one hour and 20 minute speech, the third-longest State of the Union address, Trump spoke in an optimistic tone as he mentioned his administration accomplishment during his first year from tax cut bill signed in December, ending the war on “clean coal,” cutting more regulations that any other president, and canceling the “one-sided and unfair” trade deals, while detailing his stated theme of “building a safe, strong, and proud America.”
“All Americans deserve accountability and respect — and that is what we are giving them,” Trump said. “We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.”
“In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history. We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world” Trump continued. “America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation’s wealth. The era of economic surrender is over.”
While discussing national security, Trump announced he signed an executive order earlier to keep Guantánamo Bay prison open. The executive order revoking President Barack Obama order that signed in 2009 to close the prison within a year and refusing to bring any new detainees to the prison. Although, the prison didn’t close, 41 detainees remained in Guantanamo when Trump took office. During the campaign, Trump vowed to fill the prison back up with “some bad dudes,” but hasn’t added any newly captured terrorist suspects to date. In his first year, Trump halted signing any orders due to push-back of his first draft calling for reopening the CIA “black site” prisons, a site where it formerly tortured detainees during the Bush administration.
“In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi,” Trump said. “So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay. I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa’ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.”
On infrastructure, Trump called on Congress to produce a bill generating $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure investment that will be leveraged from contributions of federal, state, local and private sector funds, as well as streamline the permitting and approval process within “no more than two years, and perhaps even one” that will be built with “American heart, American hands, and American grit.”
“I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve,” Trump said. “Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.”
With February 8 deadline to address the fate of so-called “Dreamers” fast approaching, Trump presented a “down-the-middle compromise” of four pillars detailing an immigration reform proposal that will “create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.” The four pillars includes a plan of offering a path of citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, securing the Southern border, ending the visa lottery program, and ending chain migration.
“In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform,” Trump said. “Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.”
Trump added, “It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century. These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and a lawful immigration system. These four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.”
President Trump’s speech was interrupted a total of 111 times by applause. Democrats refused to applause for any part of the speech, listening with stone-faced and silent throughout the address. However, a few times during the speech triggered audible murmurs of dissent from Democrats. Democrats loudly booed twice during the speech when Trump denounced “chain migration” and his call to Congress to “finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country.”
The end of Trump’s speech was greeted with chants of “USA, USA, USA” as he ended with an uplifting message of what “Americans have always stood for.”
“It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America,” Trump said in conclusion. “A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us defending hope, pride, and the American way. Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.”
“As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve,” Trump added. “As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail. And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.”