Eric Tataw – Wednesday February 6, 2019.
The 45th President of the United States, Donald J Trump has delivered his second State of the Union speech, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Although he urged lawgivers to “break decades of political stalemate” and “heal old wounds”, himself failed to allow the pendulum a natural pattern.
Just returning from the longest Government shutdown in American History, compounded by all the to-dos between him and House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump still shut made another shutdown. Not on government though but on the peculiarity of State of the Nation addresses.
The House Speakers traditionally introduce United States presidents before their State of the Nation addresses. However, just like President Trump made History during the shutdown, he made another History at the State of the Union address. He sauntered by Nancy Pelosi and did not wait for her to introduce him.
Once President Trump walked up to the podium, greeted Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi, he turned around and began to speak before the House Speaker could introduce him. The House had already been called to order by Pelosi earlier in the day. Even when Trump ended his discourse, a perturbed handshake ensued.
The reasons for the warlike scene between Trump and Pelosi all found in the gallery of some few actions in the shutdown epoch. Pelosi had invited Trump to give the State of the Union speech and later requested
President Trump too fired back, cancelling Pelosi’s traditional tour. Trump wanted the wall come rain, come shine but Pelosi only re-invited him to deliver the State of the Union after he agreed to reopen the government without funding for the border wall. You didn’t expect Trump to give Pelosi the pleasure of introducing him. He didn’t disappoint his colours; Pelosi didn’t get the introduction role.
Being his second State of the Union but his first address to a joint session with one House controlled by Democrats and as he strives to impress Congress and Americans for a way out of the logjam on border security to prevent another shutdown before the mid-month deadline didn’t go down well with House Speaker.
Nancy Pelosi responding to Trump’s State of the Union address said; “It will take days to fact-check all the misrepresentations that the President made tonight,”. She continued that “Instead of fear-mongering and manufacturing a crisis at the border, President Trump should commit to signing the bipartisan conference committee’s bill to keep government open and provide strong, smart border security solutions.”
Pelosi also criticized Trump for ignoring gun violence and also cited Trump’s “assault” on the LGBT community. “With the complicity of the GOP Congress over the last two years, President Trump failed the middle class by trying to take away Americans’ health care and enriching the wealthiest 1 percent. The state of the American middle class has been weakened by President Trump’s special interest first agenda,” Pelosi said.
In some of the high moments, Trump said the “State of our Union is strong,”. He went on that “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,” adding that “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”
“The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world”. He also talked of the tax overhaul which passed Congress at the end of 2017.
Trump defended his pronouncement to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, which has been met with resistance from many Republicans. “We have spent more than $7 trillion dollars in the Middle East. As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars, claimed that the U.S. has helped liberate Syria and Iraq from the terrorist group ISIS.
He also discussed the war in Afghanistan, which has been ongoing for the past eighteen years. The administration is currently negotiating peace talks with the Taliban “As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism,” He said. “We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement, but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.”
Trump would also announce a second summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un at the end of the month. “If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea,” Mr. Trump claimed. “Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one.” He confirmed a meeting with Kim on Feb. 27 and 28 in Vietnam.
The addressed the issue of abortion rights. He criticized a law recently passed in the New York state legislature which strengthened abortion protections. “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”
The law passed in New York permits abortion past 24 weeks of pregnancy. Trump didn’t spare to criticized embattled Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, who was criticized last week for his comments on how late-term abortions occur.
“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” he said, adding that “And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”
Trump also urged Congress to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.” “I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future,” he said.
While discussing the need to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices, Trump called on Congress to pass a bill to fund the government before hitting on migration.
“Now is the time for Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business,” he said, adding that he ordered 3,750 military troops to the southern border to stop “caravans” of migrants from entering the United States.
“Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country,” Mr. Trump said. He repeated an argument he has often made to justify the wall, saying that wealthy and powerful people keep walls around their houses to protect from intruders.
“Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate, it is actually very cruel,” Trump said, citing human and drug trafficking concerns. However, much of the drugs which pass over the border is smuggled in through legal points of entry, he added.
He also cited the victims of crime by illegal migrants when he talked of three of his guests, the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Gerald and Sharon David, who were killed by an illegal immigrant in Reno, Nevada in January. “Not one more American life should be lost because our nation failed to control its very dangerous border,” Trump said.
Trump also denounced the “vile poison of Anti-Semitism,” and referred to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earlier this year, where eleven (11) people were. “With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs,” Trump then praised Judah Samet, a survivor of the massacre at the synagogue and of the Holocaust.
Trump concluded with a final call for bipartisanship. “Think of this Capitol, think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire, he said, adding that the country’s “biggest victories are still to come.”
“We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them,” “We must choose whether we squander our inheritance or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans: we do the incredible, we defy the impossible, we conquer the unknown.” He said while calling on Congress to keep America “first in our hearts” and to “choose greatness.”