President Donald Trump promised during his State of the Union address Tuesday to make America great again — for all Americans.
During an 80-minute address, Trump added, “This is our new American moment.”
“There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream,” he said. “So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you’ve 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 absolutely anything.”
What were some of the night’s most-talked about moments?
- Trump called for the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to remain open.
- While offering a path to citizenship for “Dreamers” — a plan which included several “pillars” — Trump maintained his position that “Americans are dreamers, too,” hammering home his “America First” agenda.
- Trump hosted many emotionally charged guests, including U.S. student Otto Warmbier‘s tearful and broken parents, the parents of two teenage girls brutally killed by violent MS-13 gang members, Albuquerque Police Officer Ryan Holets, who adopted a drug addict’s unborn child, and weeping North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho, whose harrowing journey to freedom Trump called “a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.”
- Trump made a fervent call for bipartisanship among what many have perceived as divisive politics, stating that it’s lawmakers’ duties to effectively “deliver for the people,” noting “these are the people we were elected to serve.”
- Trump also noted that bipartisanship is necessary to make effective infrastructure reform, and unveiled plans to push Congress to approve a minimum $1.5 trillion plan, which is significantly more than the $300 billion transportation bill that the GOP-led House passed and Trump predecessor Barack Obama signed. Conservative House Republicans heavily criticized the bill at the time.
- Promising an overhaul to U.S. trade policy, Trump said that the “era of economic surrender is totally over” and noted that America’s future holds expectations that global trading relationships be fair and reciprocal to the U.S.
- Trump delivered a hardline stance against U.S. threats such as North Korea and the Islamic State, and also discussed the “terrible” Iran nuclear deal.
- Trump reaffirmed his declaration of victory against the Islamic State and said that a year after pledging to “extinguish ISIS,” the coalition to defeat the terror group “has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria,” adding that the administration will continue their fight until ISIS is completely defeated.
- Trump said that North Korea remains a nuclear threat to the U.S. and the world at large and that the administration is “waging a campaign of maximum pressure” to reduce those nuclear threats. “I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position,” he added.
- Turning to Iran, Trump said that “America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom,” but noted that the administration is still vehemently opposed to the “terrible” Iranian nuclear deal, which he said has “fundamental flaws,” which he implored Congress to address.
What have others said about the speech?
A Tuesday ABC poll reported that three out of four Americans watching the address approved of Trump’s speech.
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) January 31, 2018
Despite ABC’s positive poll results, CNN reported that Trump’s address received the “least positive reaction in at least 20 years.”
The Washington Post called the address “divisive and misleading,” with the outlet’s editorial board writing that Trump’s words rang “hollow.”
Additionally, CNN’s Jake Tapper said that he visualized Trump “reaching out” to Democrats with one hand, but “holding up a fist” with the other.
The Los Angeles Times, for its part, wrote that Trump took “a softer tone” for his address, but delivered “the same awful message.”
But the president had his supporters, too. Fox News contributor Liz Peek said that Trump’s address delivered “more drama, passion and feel-good patriotism than his critics in Tinseltown delivered all year,” and The Washington Times even lauded the president’s path to citizenship for Dreamers as a “generous amnesty.”
Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.) offered the official Democratic response from Fall River, Massachusetts, and discussed the #MeToo movement, the wage gap, LGBT rights, and offered support to Dreamers in Spanish.