Trump speaks of unity, immigration plan at his first State of the Union Address


Now-President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd about then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails on Sep. 13, 2016 in Clive, Iowa.

Danielle Gehr

During his first State of the Union address, Trump spoke of unity ditching his previous rhetoric. 

Trump used a more presidential tone than what was seen on the campaign trail and during his first year as president, urging for Democrats and Republicans to work together during the speech which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. 

The president mirrored his original campaign with a reoccurring theme during the speech; make America great. 

“So let’s come together, put politics aside and finally get the job done,” Trump said.  

“If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it…so let’s begin to by recognize that the state of our union is strong because our people are strong.”

A main point of Trump’s address was immigration as he revealed his four-pillar plan. 

The first pillar focuses on giving a path to citizenship over a 12-year period to 1.8 million people who prove merit and contribution to society. He touted that this is almost three times more people than the previous administration.

The rest of the plan focuses on securing the border and increasing restrictions to immigration.

“Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country—and it finally ends the horrible and dangerous practice of catch and release,” Trump said. 

It would also end the visa lottery which Trump said doesn’t account for merit or safety for the country. He also plans to end chain migration by limiting the people an immigrant can bring into the U.S. to spouses and minor children. 

Trump said “outdated immigration rules” were the cause of terrorism in the U.S. and it’s time to bring the policies into the 21st century. 

He said his priority remains with the protection of Americans, saying Americans are DREAMERS, too, referring to the DREAM act which is meant to protect undocumented children brought into the U.S. at a young age from being deported. 

Trump also recognized an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, CJ Martinez. Trump said he plans to increase the number of ICE agents to fight against gang violence after telling the story of two young women killed by MS-13 gang members. 

He also brought up a strong economy, saying 2.1 million jobs were created. He also said they passed the biggest tax cuts and tax reforms in U.S. history. 

USA Today published an editorial stating that a healthy economy will likely be a topic at the address, titling the article “Roaring economy gives Trump bragging rights for State of the Union Address.”

“With his pro-growth agenda, Trump has delivered economic prosperity to millions of Americans,” the editorial said. “Job creators and job-seekers alike are benefiting from lower taxes, fewer regulations, and an unwavering commitment to free-market principles not seen since the Reagan years.”

Unemployment is said to be the lowest since 2000 in the editorial and Shelley said the economy is growing at a fairly rapid rate—about 3 percent. He added that this growth doesn’t seem as fast as somewhere like China where 7 percent is seen as slow growth.

“Purely objectively, it’s not wrong to say the economy’s in good shape. It always depends on your indicators, so national unemployment rate is right around 4.1 percent,” Shelley said. “It’s been there for a while, so it’s not exactly a new thing, but Trump I supposed will claim credit whether you can really justify it or not.”

Professor Joshua Rosenbloom from the department of economics said the growth and unemployment rate cannot be attributed to anything done in the last year.

“I think in general presidents get more credit and more blame for what’s happening in the economy than is appropriate,” Rosenbloom said. “In many respects, what happened in the last year in the economy is the result of decisions that were made many years ago.”

Trump said the “economic surrender” is now over.

Trump also brought up the repeal of Obamacare which received a standing ovation from Republicans while Democrats remained seated. 

Opioid and drug addiction. In 2016, 64,000 Americans were lost to drug overdoses, Trump said. He said the U.S. must become tougher on drug dealers and pushers. 

“The struggle will be long and it will be difficult,” Trump said. “But, as Americans always do, we will succeed and we will prevail.”

He also pushed for the growth of nuclear weaponry in order to be so powerful that it deters other countries from ever using them. 

Grand-nephew of John F. Kennedy and called a rising star, Rep. Joseph Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, gave the democratic response to the State of the Union Address in Fall River, Massachusetts 

The representative called Fall River a city built by immigrants. 

Kennedy touched on immigration, equal rights for all sexualities and genders and the opioid epidemic. 

“We choose a better deal for all who call our country home,” Kennedy said. 

Trump, following a tradition of past presidents, recognized several people, most of them Americans who would be described as heroes. 

One of the recognized people was a North Korean man, Ji Seong-ho, who lost his legs after passing out from hunger on a railroad track, was tortured by North Korean Officials and traveled on crutches to escape the communist regime. 

Seong-ho now lives and Seoul while helping other defectors escape. 

Trump ended his speech with a familiar mark of his campaign. 

“Americans fill the world with art and music,” Trump said. “They push the bounds of science and discovery and they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country.  And it is the people who are making America great again.”