President Trump emerged from the recent government shutdown with “unifying” messages in his second State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
People across the nation “are hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one nation,” Trump said.
This approach strayed from his customary message in speeches and on social media platforms.
“We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before,” Trump said.
Trump said several of these opportunities contain the potential for a political consensus. These opportunities include his administration’s First Step legislation, the fight against the opioid crisis, criminal justice reform and the restoration of America’s infrastructure.
“Together, we can break decades of political stalemate,” Trump said. “We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make.”
While the majority of his speech was dedicated to this central theme, Trump highlighted the most significant problems for harmony: partisan regulations and immigration.
“As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States,” he said. “We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection.”
Trump challenged Congress to pass a bill to enforce the border against the “ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers and human traffickers.”
To promote this point, Trump introduced a family whose grandparents were robbed and murdered by an “illegal alien” in their Reno, Nevada home.
“Not one more American life should be lost because our nation failed to control its very dangerous border,” he said.
Trump is presenting the Common Sense Proposal to Congress as a solution to this issue. This bill would include adding 75 immigration teams, 2,750 more Border Patrol agents and $1.6 billion for “urgent humanitarian assistance” and technology to prevent drugs from entering the U.S., according to the Business Insider.
Other guests included Alice Johnson, a former inmate who served over 20 years for a non-violent drug charge. In prison, she became a minister, inspiring others to choose a better path.
Trump explained that stories like this inspired him to sign the First Step Act. The legislation “gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens,” according to Trump. Johnson’s sentence was lifted last June by the President.
He also invited Matthew Charles who, in 1996, was given a 35-year sentence for drug offenses. Like Johnson, Charles worked to improve himself and other inmates while behind bars. Charles was the first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act.
Some female senators took to wearing “suffragette white” on Tuesday as a testament to the suffragette movement in the early 1900s, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Trump ironically recognized this political statement and 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.”
At the top of Trump’s priority list is the cutback on prescription drug prices and his intention to “protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” He said that 2018 drug prices reached the largest drop in 46 years and further proposed that Congress pass legislation to require drug and insurance companies “disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.”
Trump focused the end of the address on military presence, both domestically and internationally.
He announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which limited our missile capacities.
Trump concluded the State of the Union as he started, by calling for unity from the members of Congress.
“This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination,” he said. “No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenged to come, we must go forward together.”