The United States President used his State of the Union to call for bipartisan unity in a divided Congress while laying out an agenda, including his hard-line immigration policy that is unlikely to win over much Democrat support.
In a speech lasting 1 hour 22 minutes and punctuated by boisterous applause mainly from members of his own Republican Party, President Donald Trump pivoted from calls of political reconciliation to confronting opposition lawmakers with his insistence on a southern border wall with Mexico and warnings that the only obstacle to the continued economic boom in the country was “ridiculous partisan investigations.”
A new Democrat Speaker, a Democrat majority prompting calls to reject the politics of revenge and resistance.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!” says Trump.
In a chamber that often grew boisterous from members of his own party, Trump touted the country’s roaring economy, confirmed a new summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong UN in Vietnam later in February, promised to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the country within a decade but also had fodder for his base calling on Congress to pass legislation to prohibit late term abortions while making the case for his southern border wall. Congressional negotiators have until February 15th to conclude talks on border security or face a possible second government shutdown within weeks of each other.
He says, “My Administration has sent to the Congress a common sense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border. It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall, but the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built.”
He talked to areas of possible bipartisanship over healthcare and prescriptions drug costs, an infrastructure bill and this moment that united the Chamber.
“All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before — and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.”
A record number of women at 131 were elected to Congress last November, mostly Democrats who wore white to celebrate the centenary of women’s right to vote in the country. Trump also confirmed accelerated negotiations to reach settlements that would allow American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and Syria and return home over the advice of his generals.
Meanwhile New York based political journalist and analyst Luke Vargas believes President Donald Trump did not go far enough in reaching across the aisle in order to achieve his main policy objectives during his State of the Union speech.
“Technically, he did make appeals on healthcare, on prescription drugs, on infrastructure which is always something that is talked about in his speeches but rarely ever accomplished. However, I think the biggest thing holding back President Trump from actually getting any bipartisan breakthrough on legislation is the tone in which he speaks about the issues and immigration is the one we’ve got to look at. We can talk about all these other big ticket issues but the one that is holding up the functioning of this country right now is immigration and I don’t think Trump changed his language or softened it in any way to broaden support for his immigration proposals.”