Multiple rounds of thunderous applause could be heard in the nation’s legislative body as President Donald Trump delivered his very first State of the Union address before the joint sessions of Congress at the Capital building in Washington, DC on Tuesday night.
Speaking with a sense of confidence and resolve in his voice, the President declared that the nation’s citizenry is now experiencing a “New American Moment.” Implying that a groundswell of optimism is being felt in America, President Trump struck a strong note of unification when he said, “This is your time. You can dream anything. Together we can achieve absolutely everything. We are one team, one people and we share the same heart, the same home and the same great American flag.” He added, “We place our hands over our hearts when pledging allegiance to our flag.” And in a direct statement to NFL players who thought otherwise, President Trump said, “and this is why we stand when we hear our national anthem.”
Throughout his address which lasted close to 90 minutes, on the Democratic side of the aisle, there was a premeditated plan to remain mum and not even applaud at any of the president’s remarks. Sullen faces prevailed amongst Congressional Democrats, while others were draped in African scarves; a retort to Trump’s comments about immigration.
Generally speaking, however, the President’s remarks received outstanding approbation and cheers could be heard amongst Republicans and others.
“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. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it. So let’s begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our union is strong, because our people are strong, “ said President Trump.
Touting his accomplishments over the last 12 months since he took the oath of office, President Trump placed an emphasis on the rapidly expanding economy, tremendous job growth and a soaring stock market.
“Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.
Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.
Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts, “ Trump declared.
On the subject of the most sweeping tax reform bill ever passed in the history of this nation Trump said, “Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses. To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit. A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 — slashing their tax bill in half. This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system — and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month.”
Using soaring rhetoric and highly optimistic verbiage, President Trump told the American people that “every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.”
Touching on the headway his administration has made in furthering religious liberty, Trump spoke to his evangelical base and to all Americans when he said, “In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is “in God we trust.”
Throughout his address, President Trump introduced heroes of all stripes who were guests in the first lady’s box in the visitor’s gallery at the Capital.
12-year-old Preston Sharp, from Redding, California is one such guest that President Trump introduced and extended plaudits to. The President said that Preston “noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done.”
He added, “Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem. Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.”
Concerning American veterans, an issue close to President Trump’s heart, the commander in chief spoke proudly of fulfilling the many promises he made to ensure that our nation’s veterans received quality care and the great respect that he said they deserve for protecting American values at all costs.
“We are giving our brave veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do. I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey,” Trump said.
In terms of the often controversial issue of resolving health care dilemmas for millions of Americans, President Trump spoke of waging a fervent campaign to lower the generally exorbitant prices of prescription drugs.
“One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down, “ he extolled.
Another Trump campaign promise was to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. On that note, and as expected by political analysts and pundits alike, Trump asked Congress to help fund this plan.
“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. Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one,” he exhorted.
President Trump also addressed the inherent inequities in the nation’s prison system as well as addressing immigrants who wish to find a path to citizenship.
He also spoke with passion about the nation’s opioid crisis that has claimed the lives of thousands of Americans and his plans to treat those adversely affected with alacrity. Among other topics, President Trump made note of the fact that the United States has declared that the holy city of Jerusalem is the legitimate and only capital of the one and only Jewish state; the nation of Israel. He also mentioned those nations who voted against the US in the UN over the Jerusalem issue and his plans to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars from nations who have consistently votes against the US.
Mentioning the egregious scourge of the notorious MS-13 gang of criminals who have terrorized American communities and committed murders, President Trump introduced two couples. Their names are Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens.
President Trump said, their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. “These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors–and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school, “ Trump said.
He added, “Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.”
Tipping his hat to his efforts to find a bipartisan solution to solving America’s problems, Trump said, “my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. 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.”
Under his four pillar plan for immigration reform, President Trump said that “the first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age — that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration.”
The second pillar of his plan includes “building a wall on the Southern border.” He added, “Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country — and it finally ends the dangerous practice of “catch and release.”
He said the third pillar “ends the visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.”
He added, “the fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.”
While cynical political analysts and the media “talking heads” mostly all postulated that Trump was again seeking to placate his base in a time when they claim that his poll numbers are precipitously sinking, others felt that the president was genuinely reaching out for bipartisan unity as well as healing the deep wounds of a nation sorely divided by racial strife and economic hardship.
By: Fern Sidman