Following a historic 35-day government shutdown, President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address on Feb. 4 following Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s call to delay the speech until the government was reopened.
If you’re wondering which parts of it to watch if you missed it, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has your answer in a tweet: “None of it.”
It was a speech that marked Trump’s accomplishments from his past two years in office, such as the “Right to Try” law, the elimination of the individual mandate penalty from Obamacare and “massive tax cuts for working families.”
But throughout his speech, Trump also reminded the American public of why there is such a great deal of fracturing around his presidency.
He denounced the Mueller investigation as a “ridiculous partisan [investigation].”
He asserted that, “Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.” Which could be correct, if you remember that illegal immigrants can also enter the country via airplanes and boats, and that they’re not just coming from Mexico.
Trump also called on Congress to “pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb,” after using inflammatory, insensitive language to describe a late-term abortion as “[allowing] a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth.”
This is not only a tactic to connect with conservative voters ahead of the 2020 election, but it presents a false image of what an abortion is, what really occurs during the decision making process and the actual event.
There’s still the call for more military funding, as Trump said that the U.S. is “developing a state-of-the-art missile defense system” and that we “really have no choice.”
“Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't – in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far,” Trump said.
If there’s one thing Trump thinks we need, it’s another arms race if America cannot get China and Russia (which is heavily implied here) to agree to an arms-control treaty.
By far, the most reaching claim of the night was, “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.”
This is incorrect. According to a Washington Post article published on Wednesday that included an interview with a professor of North Korean studies, Kim Yong-hyun stated, “The possibility of North Korea waging an actual war had been low even before Trump took office.”
One of the highlights of the speech was when Trump said, “No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year.” All of the women elected to Congress this year rose up and stole his applause.
“Exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than ever before,” the president said, in direct opposition to all of the stances he has supported over his tenure.
There was one statement I appreciated from the whole of his speech. Toward the end of the address, Trump stated, “No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.”
It was a unifying statement that attempted to mend the rift that politics has been dealing with since the 2016 election, and perhaps in the future we will see a more united country.