With Pitch for Unity, President Trump Urges Republicans and Democrats to ‘Choose Greatness’
“President Trump in his State of the Union address Tuesday night issued a call for unity and an end to the political divisiveness that has ensnared Washington,” Melissa Quinn reports for the Washington Examiner.
During the speech—with its theme of “choosing greatness”—President Trump laid out five priorities that should unite both parties in Washington: “American jobs and fair trade, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, reducing the price of healthcare and prescription drugs, creating a safe and lawful immigration system, and pursuing a foreign policy agenda that ‘puts America’s interests first.’”
“There is a new opportunity in American politics if only we have the courage together to seize it,” Trump said. “Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.”
The president struck notes of unity and bipartisanship with his speech, which marked the third address he has delivered before a joint session of Congress and lasted 82 minutes. During the remarks, he urged lawmakers in attendance to put aside their differences and reject gridlock.
“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,” the president said. “But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.”
Trump used his address to tout the accomplishments of his first two years in office, including the passage of tax reform in 2017 and the addition of more than 5 million new jobs to the economy. He also noted the legislative achievements of the last Congress, including reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the farm bill, and criminal justice reform.
Trump’s comments about the economic gains particularly benefiting women earned the him a standing ovation and chants of “USA, USA” from lawmakers led by female members, including Democrats.
“Don’t sit yet. You’re going to like this,” he joked. “And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time.”
But the president took aim at the ongoing investigations on Capitol Hill, including those focused on his administration and presidential campaign. Those probes are expected to ramp up this Congress, with Democrats now controlling the House and gaining subpoena power.
“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,” Trump said. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.”
Casting a shadow over the State of the Union is the ongoing fight over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and efforts to avert a second government shutdown. Trump continued to push for Congress to quickly pass legislation that will fund a slew of government agencies, for which funding will lapse Feb. 15, and secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This is a moral issue,” the president said of border security. “The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well‑being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws.”
Trump added, “Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.”