‘We Will End Illegal Immigration’: Trump’s State of Union Speech
The State of the Union speech saw US President Donald Trump seeking to heal Republican-Democratic divide.
US President Donald Trump urged unity in his State of the Union speech on Wednesday, 6 February, pitched for to heal the Republican-Democratic unity, adding that all members of the Congress work towards a common aim – for better America.
Touching upon immigration in State of the Union speech, Trump said Republicans and Democrats "must join forces" to confront what he's calling "an urgent national crisis."
Trump says Congress "has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland and secure our very dangerous southern border" ahead of a February 15 deadline. Critics dispute the level of danger at the border.
‘I Will Build the Wall,’ Says Trump
Looming over the president's address was a fast-approaching 15 February deadline to fund the government and avoid another shutdown. Democrats have refused to acquiesce to his demands for a border wall, and Republicans are increasingly unwilling to shut down the government to help him fulfill his signature campaign pledge. Nor does the GOP support the president's plan to declare a national emergency if Congress won't fund the wall.
Wary of publicly highlighting those intraparty divisions, Trump made no mention of an emergency declaration in his remarks.
He did offer a lengthy defense of his call for a border wall, declaring: “I will build it.” But he delivered no ultimatums about what it would take for him to sign legislation to keep the government open.
"I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country," he said, painting a dark and foreboding picture of the risks posed to Americans by illegal immigration.
“Prohibit Late-term Abortion of Children."
The 72-year-old Trump harkened back to moments of American greatness, celebrating the moon landing as astronaut Buzz Aldrin looked on from the audience and heralding the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. He led the House chamber in singing happy birthday to a Holocaust survivor sitting with first lady Melania Trump.
“Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history. What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?” Trump said.
The president ticked through a litany of issues with crossover appeal, including boosting infrastructure, lowering prescription drug costs and combating childhood cancer.
But he also appealed to his political base, both with his harsh rhetoric on immigration and a call for Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the “late-term abortion of children.”
Trump Announces Second Summit With Kim Jong Un
Trump devoted much of his speech to foreign policy, another area where Republicans have increasingly distanced themselves from the White House. He announced details of a second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, outlining a 27-28 February summit in Vietnam.
Trump and Kim's first summit garnered only a vaguely worded commitment by the North to denuclearise. But the president said his outreach to Pyongyang had made the US safer.
“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,” he said.
As he condemned political turmoil in Venezuela, Trump declared that "America will never be a socialist country" — a remark that may also have been targeted at high-profile Democrats who identify as socialists.
Trump’s Address a Beginning of 2020 Campaign?
The president was surrounded by symbols of his emboldened political opposition. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was praised by Democrats for her hard-line negotiating during the shutdown, sat behind Trump as he spoke. And several senators running for president were also in the audience, including Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Another Democratic star, Stacey Abrams, delivered the party's response to Trump. Abrams narrowly lost her bid in November to become America's first black female governor, and party leaders are aggressively recruiting her to run for US Senate from Georgia.
Speaking from Atlanta, Abrams calls the shutdown a political stunt that “defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values.”
Trump's address amounted to an opening argument for his re-election campaign. Polls show he has work to do, with his approval rating falling to just 34 percent after the shutdown, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
One bright spot for the president has been the economy, which has added jobs for 100 straight months.
“The only thing that can stop it,” he said, “are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations” — an apparent swipe at the special counsel investigation into ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign, as well as the upcoming congressional investigations.
The diverse Democratic caucus, which includes a bevy of women, sat silently for much of Trump's speech. But they leapt to their feet when he noted there are "more women in the workforce than ever before."
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