Trump Delivers First State of the Union Address

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Source: Los Angeles Times

Morgan Golliver, News Editor

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address after serving one year in office.

In the address, he outlined the main topics of jobs, infrastructure, immigration, trade and national security. In addition, he brought up other important topics such as tax cuts.

Jobs

After being elected as the 45th president of the United States, one of Trump’s goals was to create more jobs for Americans.

After his introduction, Trump announced that there have been $2.4 million jobs created, 2,000 of these jobs are in manufacturing alone.

The result of the new jobs also helped lower the unemployment rate for Americans, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.

“Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low,” Trump said. “Something I am very proud of, African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded. Hispanic-American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.”

Tax Cuts

Trump also discussed tax cuts, which he stated to be the “biggest tax cuts and reforms in American History.” But according to Politifact, this statement was false as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 ,was the biggest tax reform with $321 billion inflation per year while the Tax Cuts in 2017 was only $150 billion.

One tax cut Trump’s administration reduced was the business tax rate. The rate went from 35 percent to 21 percent, which helps American families.

“These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000, a lot of money,” Trump said. Because of tax reform, they (small businesses) are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.”

Infrastructure

In terms of infrastructure, Trump has asked Congress to produce a bill worth at least $1.5 trillion to fix the U.S. infrastructure deficit. Trump hopes to build new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways, as well as new buildings such as vocational schools.

“As tax cuts create new jobs, let’s invest in workforce development and let’s invest in job training, which we need so badly, “ Trump said. “Let’s open great vocational schools, so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential.”

Immigration

During his discussion on immigration, Trump shared the story of two teenage girls from Long Island who were murdered by a gang called MS-13 that consisted of illegal immigrants. He connected this story to his proposed immigration plan which is made up of four pillars. This immigration plan is also Trump’s decision on Obama’s DACA program, after there were rumors the program was coming to an end.

The first pillar helps protect the illegal immigrants who came to America at a young age. This decision allows the DACA program to remain open and allows “those who meet education and work requirements and show good moral character, will be able to become a full citizens of the United States over a 12-year period.”

The second pillar refers to the idea of building a wall to secure the southern border and making sure there are stronger border control officers and hiring the right people for the job.

The third pillar is ending the visa lottery, which is a program where green cards are given to selected applicants. Trump believed the green cards were being handed out randomly, but this statement is false because green card recipients must meet a certain education and work criteria.  

“It’s time to begin moving toward a merit based immigration system,” Trump said. “One that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society and who will love and respect our country.”

The last pillar helps end chain migration. Currently, any immigrant who comes to America is allowed to bring in an unlimited amount of relatives, which creates a overpopulation. Trump wants to limit the number of relatives and only allow immediate relatives such as spouses and children.

With these four pillars, Trump’s goal is to create “a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.”

Trade

Trump’s discussion on trade was very brief as he hopes to fix trade relationships and make trading “fair.”

“We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones. And they’ll be good ones. But they’ll be fair,” Trump said. “And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules.”

National Security

Trump discussed a military plan to “modernize and rebuild the nuclear arsenal.” This plan will help the U.S. defeat ISIS and other rival countries that challenges or threatens the interests and values of the U.S. Trump hopes Congress will fund the military and help upgrade the nuclear weapons the U.S. already has, while keeping Guantanamo Bay open and secure.

“I am asking Congress to ensure that in the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them, and in many cases for them it will now be Guantanamo Bay,” said Trump.

Overall, Trump anticipates that countries will someday come together to eliminate their nuclear weapons, but it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Trump also advised that the U.S. no longer tell enemies our plans, in order  to protect our military and eliminate attacks.

This, in fact, is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream,” Trump said. “So, to every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you have been or where you have come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything. And together, we can achieve absolutely anything.”

Democratic Response

Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., presented the democratic response shortly after Trump’s State of the Union address. He never once said Trump’s name but referred to him and his administration as “bullies.”

In the response, Kennedy expressed concerns with the immigration plan and how no one should be left behind, regardless of their citizenship status. Also, Kennedy thought that healthcare and other specific cuts shouldn’t be reduced to be “privileges” when many Americans have worked hard and fought for them previously.

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