Key Parts Of Trump’s State Of The Union Address
On January 30th, 2018, President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union Address. The State of the Union (SOTU) is an annual speech intended to brief Congress and the nation about the economic and social conditions in the United States as a country, the challenges it faces and the progress it has made. It is also unofficially used to showcase the President’s accomplishments thus far and make him look as good as possible.
Both Fox and CNN predicted that with Democrats rapidly gaining seats in the House and Senate, he would have to appear reasonable, bi-partisan and open to compromise in order to prime the new Democrats to work with him on legislation. However, his speech was firmly right-wing, hitting upon nearly all the major successes, talking points and goals of hardline American conservatives instead.
His speech began with recognizing many individuals and families that had either benefitted from his administration or were the victims of a tragedy. This included small business owners, workers, military and police members and even the North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho. Each of them clearly served a political point, usually either highlighting illegal immigrant crime, showing off the improving economy or responding to natural disaster.
North Korean Defector Ji Seong-ho
From there, he moved on to his accomplishments. He showed the specific policies he enacted, chiefly the tax cuts, abolishing the ACA (Obamacare) individual mandate, and removal of regulations, then stated how the stock markets have been surpassing record highs and that employment is up.
The tone of his speech was one of unabashed American patriotism. He frequently mentioned the unbreakable “American Spirit,” and foresaw the United States once again leading the world in opportunity and innovation. He believed in the ability of the American people to achieve greatness independent of the government, alluding to the large plaque above them reading “In God We Trust.”
Mothers Of Slain Teens
He also made references to restoring law and order, controlling the border, standing for the national anthem and other conservative values.
But perhaps the most interesting part of his speech was the reactions from Congress. While he did make calls for unity and ending the political divide, there was consistently vigorous applause and cheering from the Republican side that was noticeably absent from the Democrats.
The Democrats, suits adorned with ribbons and buttons for various causes implied to be against him, kept their clapping to a minimum and were visibly distressed especially when Trump was listing his accomplishments. This is indicative of a divide so fundamental that what one side considers to be a tremendous victory is seen as a disastrous defeat for the other—not a good sign for an organization like Congress where everyone must work together to help the nation. The Congressional Black Caucus even refused to applaud African American unemployment being at an all-time low.
As with any time a politician, especially a Republican, lists a lot of facts in a speech, the media was quick to jump upon him with corrections and fact-checks about his supposed accomplishments, or how they were not really accomplishments at all. But with however much criticism they levy against him, he at least was able to stay on script and deliver a tactful speech mostly true to the tenets of American conservatism.
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