President Trump Delivers First State of the Union Address

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President Trump Delivers First State of the Union Address

By Jenna Sundel, National News Editor

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On January 30, 2018 President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address. He began by addressing Congress on a variety of achievements in his first year as president, including a record-breaking stock market, overcoming national tragedies such as Hurricane Harvey and the Las Vegas shooting, low unemployment rates, bringing jobs back to America, and appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He then talked about increasing trust in government, helping veterans, helping businesses thrive, and improvements in American medicine. His main concept was that America was entering a new great era where the American Dream is coming back to life.

President Trump explained how he will improve the economy by ending trade deals that the U.S. does not gain enough from and negotiating fair trade deals. He requested that Congress pass a bill to appropriate trillions of dollars to fix America’s infrastructure, allowing the country to build bridges and roads faster than ever before. An interesting and exciting point was when he announced that he wanted to get paid family leave and prison reform, helping prisoners get jobs after their sentence.

The speech took a darker turn. He stepped into controversial territory when he started to talk about illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes. He did back up his claims by explaining the story of guests attending who had their daughters murdered by the MS-13 gang. However, he used this opportunity to talk about border control, stereotyping all illegal immigrants.

“I felt that there was a lot of selective perception, for example when he talked about the family whose daughter was murdered by an illegal immigrant. Americans commit crimes too. He spun a lot of things in his favor so I think people should take what he says with a grain of salt,” said junior Jacob Park.

Other stories of triumph told included a boy who noticed that veterans’ graves didn’t have flags on Veterans Day, a man who escaped North Korea, a soldier who rescued a fellow soldier from a bombed building in Syria, and several more.

President Trump revealed a DACA plan as well, which caused the government shutdown the previous week. The first portion offers a path to citizenship for children brought to America by illegal immigrants. The second part includes securing the border with a wall. The third part ends the visa lottery and instead opts for a more merit based system. The fourth part plans to end chain migration by allowing immediate family only.

He then touched upon defeating terrorists, improving detention policies, and keeping Guantanamo Bay open.

Some Democrats in Congress boycotted the address to show their disapproval of the controversial presidency. Others attended but noticeably did not clap when the Republicans did. Some wore black to show their support for the Time’s Up movement and others brought DREAMers as their guests.

There was no mention of the Russian investigation by Robert Mueller as President Trump focused on positive aspects and his plans for the future. Many believe that this speech was not like most of President Trump’s other speeches because he stuck to the pre-written script.

The rebuttal was delivered by Representative Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts. His speech focused on trying to help all Americans to help our nation come together. He explained how the Republican Party is making people choose what group is going to get helped by the government. Kennedy stated that this pits people up against each other when government should help everyone.