Trump Pats Back for Jobs, Slams Chain Migration in SOTU Speech
Here are highlights from his first State of the Union address.
US President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on 31 January. Amid cheering Republicans and protesting Democrats, Trump called upon the gathering to set aside "differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve".
But even as he pushed for unity, he took an orthodox stance on immigration, claiming he was "extending an open hand" to be able to strike a "down-the-middle compromise" on immigration policies where Dreamers get citizenship in a decade or so, in exchange for funding for the border wall.
Trump also urged the reining in of "chain migration" – the ability of legal immigrants to bring a wide-ranging number of family members into the country.
"Let's come together, set politics aside and finally get the job done," Trump said.
We have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission — to make America great again for all Americans.Donald Trump, POTUS
On Hurricane Harvey, US Employment Rates
In his speech, he honoured army officers and firefighters who risked their lives to rescue people during the natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, that struck the USA in 2017.
Trump also took credit for US economic gains 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 hit a 45 year low...” he said.
“African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded,” he said.
Hispanic American unemployment also at the lowest level in history… stock market smashed one record after another… we have seen the biggest biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.Donald Trump
“We repealed the core of the disastrous Obamacare,” he proudly announced. He said his government made the maximum reforms “than any other American government in history.”
Trump warned of the dangers from "rogue regimes," like Iran and North Korea, terrorist groups, like the Islamic State, and "rivals" like China and Russia "that challenge our interests, our economy and our values" and urged Congress to boost expenditure on the military. Trump said, “Weakness is the surest path to conflict, unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.”
Branding North Korea’s leadership “depraved”, Trump told Americans that Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear missiles could “very soon threaten our homeland” urging for that US “must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal and hopefully never have to use it
North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening. We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies.Donald Trump
Trump also refrained from referring to Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” a nickname he he frequently uses but called out on his “cruel” dictatorial regime.
Melania & ‘New American Moment” Gaffe Dominate Early Pre-SOTU Coverage
First lady Melania Trump arrived at Capitol Hill separately, ahead of Trump. Melania has not been seen in public with her husband since The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that in 2016, Trump allegedly paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair with him. Trump’s lawyer later denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, the tagline of the address — "new American moment" – sparked a debate ahead of the speech. While Trump supporters hailed the tagline, dissenters pointed out that the phrase was also used in a 2010 speech by then-Secretary of State Clinton to the Council on Foreign Relations. This is hardly the first time Trump has appropriated a slogan. His campaign slogan "Let's Make America Great Again" was popularised in 1980 by Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign.
(With inputs from Reuters and AP)
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