After one year of Donald Trump in the presidency, there are a lot of questions that still remain. Is the wall going to get built? Did president Trump collude with Russia? What are taxes, healthcare, and education going to look like over the next three years? In tonight’s State of the Union, Trump may cover all of these important topics for our nation. Or he might avoid the difficult questions altogether. Tune in at 9:00pm ET to find out what the future of nation holds!
Here is Elliott Lehrer, a longstanding political activist and our live blogger for the 2018 State of the Union Address.
That’s it for Blog’s 2018 live coverage of Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address. We hope you enjoyed!
Overall, President Trump was calmly spoken and talked about various points important to many of the American people—whether you think his plan of action will actually benefit or detriment the nation is up to you. Let us know what you think in the comments!
And, last but not least, the President implored congress to increase military spending
Trump has a large desire for a recognition of “The American Hero,” placed emphasis on national security and priorities rather than international cooperation
For those who missed any part, here is a summary of the biggest points of Trump’s speech:
He placed a large focus on infrastructure and immigration, with a new bipartisan bill combining aspects of DACA with the building of the southern border wall
There was certainly a message of unity, with various bipartisan values being emphasized as well as the pointing out that sacrifices are being made on both sides of the aisle to put American’s interests first.
Given Trump’s low approval rating so far, this speech will most likely boost the nation’s view of him.
Trump finishes his first State of the Union Address!
“People dreamed this country, people built this country, and it is the people who are making America great again” says Trump, in an attempt to put the burden of improving the country on the people rather than on the government—in unsurprising conservative style.
Notice the slight distinction between the focus on freedoms and focus on rights. Reminiscent of John Stuart Mill’s infamous quote “Your liberty to swing your first ends just where my nose begins”
Describes the “yearning of every human soul to live in freedom” that original Americans had
Describing a story of how a North Korean escapee had to “eat dirt” in his childhood, but was inspired to leave the torturous country because he heard of both the high quality of life and the Christians outside the country.
Trump administration puts maximum pressure on North Korea because being passive allows corrupt countries to continue what they are doing, according to Trump. Yet, appealing to Putin’s good sensibilities is one of Trump’s core tenets.
Tough sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela because they are “communist and corrupt dictatorships”
He wants to only give foreign aid to those who are “friends of America, not enemies of America,” implying that if you don’t vote in agreement with the US’s position (as much of the world did surrounding climate change, or the previous Jerusalem comment), there will be economic repercussions.
Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—a highly controversial decision given the unstable nature of the Israel-Palestine situation.
Trump wants to reverse Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay, one of the largest US detainment centers used for those engaging in topics like terrorism.
Terrorists are “unlawful, enemy combatants, not just criminals.” This is potentially a statement in support of using techniques that would otherwise be outlawed in the questioning of terrorism suspects, such as torture.
Out of the 31 aircraft carriers being used around the world, 19 of them are American ones. This helps put in context the US’s current military spending.
He says he is disappointed that nuclear weapons are still prevalent, but his administration has not yet stated whether they will be working towards reducing their existence.
Trump wants to increase military spending, similar to the past dozen republican presidents. The US has by far the largest military in the world, with over double being spent compared to the second place nation, China.
Trump wants to work on “strength and standing abroad” instead of cooperation. “Weakness is the path to conflict,” he says, somewhat in alignment with Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Speak softly, and carry a big stick”
Over Trump’s entire immigration segment, the wall was only brought up once—this is in large contrast to the immense focus that was placed on it during the presidential race and Trump’s first few months in office.
Trump brings up opioid and drug addiction—64 thousand Americans died to drug overdoses in 2016—wants to not just continue, but strengthen, the war on drugs
Overall, the idea is to “bring immigration into the 21st century.” This seems like a largely uncontroversial idea, but, as Trump points out, no other recent administration has created such large immigration reform.
He wants to “Protect the nuclear family”—something that has dropped to consisting of 66% of American households http://www.philly.com/philly/news/How_American_families_are_changing.html
No longer would American Visas be given out on a lottery—a merit-based system will replace it. How merit will be exactly defined and enforced, however, is yet to be seen.
On the other hand, “fully securing the Southern border” involves hiring more ICE members and building the infamous wall. This is the portion appealing to Republicans.
Path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants in the country. Wants to allow them to become citizens if they have a job, have good moral character, etc. This seems like it should please the democratic bloc.
Trump says there is bipartisan approach on immigration reform—”no one gets what they want.”
“Border Patrol and ICE have sent thousands of gang members out of the country or into our prisons,” says Trump, in an attempt to gain sympathy on the increasingly controversial Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency—especially in so-called “sanctuary cities”
“Americans are dreamers too,” Trump says, as he takes a subtle shot at DACA.
Puts the focus on “American children, American jobs, American communities.” As expected, he brings a national focus instead of an international one.
So far, Trump has been incredibly articulate and in control. This is unusual for him—he has stayed stringently along party lines.
Trump brings forth a case of 6 current gang members who had entered the country illegally. He wishes to sway those opposed to harsher immigration laws
Reform prisons to help former inmates “get a second chance at life”— this is a large point considering that the US has by far the largest prison revisitism rate out of any developed country in the world!
Trump wants to invest in job training—this is highly important because many estimates project that automation could replace millions of manual labor jobs in the next few decades
Domestic infrastructure projects in the US have been a classic presidential tool for creating American jobs
He calls on congress to add 1.5 trillion dollars towards infrastructure creation in the US—wants to reclaim “our great building heritage”
“Rebuild crumbling infrastructure” is something Trump has consistently been repeating through his time in office—wants less bureaucracy involved in getting permits to build roads, buildings, etc.
“The era of economic surrender is totally over,” Trump refers to his NAFTA deal as well as the TPP pull out
Trump wants to reduce cost of drugs in the US because they cost less in other countries. However, the high cost in the US exists so that developing countries can have access to the drugs that would otherwise be too expensive
“Patients with terminal illness should have access to controversial treatment,” says Trump. This is a new stance for his administration
“Ended the war on beautiful, clean coal”… coal is well known to be the dirtiest of common fuel sources for the environment
Administration in the first year has removed more policies than any other administration in the US—one of Trump’s largest stated goals going into the presidency
Trump calls on congress to remove federal authorities who fail the American people
Trump brags about removing 1500 jobs of VA administrators—somewhat hypocritical given his earlier bragging about creating jobs
In no large surprise, Trump is proud of the country’s protection of religious liberty and the second amendment
“Why we proudly stand for the national anthem”—Trump is clearly referring to the controversy in which NFL players used their First Amendment rights to kneel during the national anthem in political protest
He refers to our motto “In God We Trust,” which was actually only added during the Cold War because we were opposing in every way the atheist communists.
In Republican fashion, Trump states “Faith and family…are the center of American life”
Trump appeals to unification under “the same great American flag”
Apple and Exxon investing in US jobs—is this due to tax changes?
Trump administration reduced business tax from 35% to 21% in order to “make American businesses the most competitive worldwide”. Some think that America no longer being the sole technological and scientific lead in the world (China, Western Europe, Japan, etc. have all but caught up in various industries), though, may contribute to the difficulties our businesses have in the international marketplace.
He touts small unemployment for African Americans and Latino Americans and the largest tax cut ever. We must consider what the repercussions of those tax cuts on the government’s availability to do its job are, however.
“The union is strong because the people are strong”—2.4 million new jobs have been created since Trump’s election. The economy has continued to rise since Obama turned its downfall around
Trump implores all present to set aside party values and be true representatives of the people—an idea repeated but practically never implemented for the past 250 years
A very compassionate “we are with you, we love you, and we will pull together, always” to those that have had to deal with hard times in the last year
He praises the heroes who have dealt with troubles in the last year, from Hurricanes to the Las Vegas Strip attack.
Trump starts by describing a “new tide of optimism” that his administration has been bringing—he hopes to “make American great again for all Americans”
One important issue Trump might touch on tonight is Russia sanctions: one of the few bipartisan agreements in congress that the presidency is still opposed to.
Donald Trump enters the chamber!
The Trump administration has stated tonight will be about bringing the nation together—much like last year’s inaugural address was. Large amounts of unrest in the past year, though, point to that this should not be one of his bragging points
First lady Melania Trump enters the chamber, we’re moments away from the start of the State of the Union!
President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address tonight at 9 p.m. EST. Stay tuned for live updates.