President Trump’s State of the Union

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President Trump’s State of the Union

Roselind Zeng, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, President Donald Trump gave his second State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill. Speaking to both Congress and the citizens all over the U.S., the President called for the unification of what he finds to be fractured bipartisanship after the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The long-awaited speech was given a week later than intended after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi retracted her invitation to President Trump amidst the shutdown. The 82-minute speech covered a variety of topics. One of the first was an attack on the investigations directed towards him and his administration. Calling them “ridiculous partisan investigations,” he called upon all his enemies not to default to “the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution.” Alluding to the feud he has been embroiled in with Speaker Pelosi, he announced to all: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!”

He then moved on to try to heal the divide between his own party. Following some unpopular decisions made on the President’s part, such as his $5.7 billion request for the wall and his removal of troops from Syria, the Republican platform has split into supporters and dissenters of his policies. In hopes to redirect his base, President Trump called upon the war on abortion and socialism. Referencing the efforts of New York and Virginia Democrats to open up abortion rights, he said that “There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days.” As for socialism, the President is “alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in [the] country” after Democrats unveiled possible plans to increase taxes on the wealthy. Defending his record with women, he then moved on to cite that women “have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year” —a statistic that met a standing ovation from women on both sides.

However, the conversation took turn when the immigration issue was hit head-on. Standing up for his proposal, President Trump described his wall as “a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier— not just a simple concrete wall.” In one of the most memorable moments of the night, he stated,” Simply put, WALLS WORK and WALLS SAVE LIVES.”

The Democratic response was immediate. In the chambers of the Capitol building, Democrats shook their heads and mouthed words of dismay, with some going so far as to boo the President’s remarks.

After the speech, Stacey Abrams presented the formal Democratic response. Pinning the government shutdown immediately, she called it “a stunt engineered by the President,” deeming the move that “crushed [American families with] Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn’t understand it.” Abrams immediately pushed back on the President’s dismissal of voting rights with her statement, “Let’s be clear: voter suppression is real. We cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote.” She continued to address other aspects of issues that the President brought up during his speech, from gun rights to immigration, climate change, and the bipartisan system.

With the second government shutdown deadline coming soon, Congress members from both sides are racing to reach a deal that will truly meet the demands of all sides.

 

Photo courtesy of POST-GAZETTE.COM