In his one-hour long speech that was interrupted by regular ovations and applause from the Republican caucus, he touched on improving unemployment figures, the growing economy that has begin to benefit from last year’s major tax overhaul.
He called on Congress to pass a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill and urged both major parties to take up immigration reform legislation that could include financing for a border wall along the border with Mexico among other measures.
It’s a moment when he’s the centre of attention; hardly an unfamiliar role for President Trump who touted the Republicans tax overhaul – one that he continues to erroneously refer to as the largest tax cut in American history.
“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,” says Trump.
He urged the divided Congress to pass a massive infrastructure bill as a further boost to the economy while saying the country had turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals, warning that the era of economic surrender was over.
And touted an immigration plan he hopes will win bipartisan support and avoid a looming February 8th deadline to another government shutdown.
Democrats have sought guarantees that children brought into the country illegally would be protected.
“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. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States over a 12 year period.”
President Trump said they were rebuilding America’s strength and standing abroad and urged the modernizing and rebuilding of the country’s nuclear arsenal while promising to keep Guantanamo Bay open.
“My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela. But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea,” he adds.
“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 happening.”
He also called it, a new American moment.
“There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. So to 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.”
The Democratic response delivered by Congressman Joe Kennedy – the grandson of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy – warned that bullies could never match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.