President Donald Trump called for unity between two deeply divided political parties, touted a strong economy and called for a wall at the southern border at Tuesday’s State of the Union.
Trump was supposed to deliver the State of the Union last week, but due to the longest government shutdown in history, it was delayed until he and Democratic leaders came up with a budget that would reopen the federal government and get 800,000 furloughed federal employees back to work.
Calling the state of the union “strong,” Trump said that Americans have experienced historic breakthroughs, citing a low unemployment rate and the addition of millions of jobs. “African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have hit the lowest levels ever recorded,” he said on Tuesday.
In an unusual move, Trump, using the strong economy, called for an end to “ridiculous, partisan investigations,” referencing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling.
“The only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” he said. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!”
The president spoke about border security and called for Congress to approve a wall at the southern border. A barrier at the border has been a major point of contention for Trump, who shut down the government in December because Democrats would not agree to give him $5 billion to fund the wall.
“I will get it built,” said a defiant Trump, who said that the wall would not just be concrete, but see-through. He added that he wants immigrants to come into the country legally because “legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways.”
In one of the more powerful moments of
Female members of Congress was seen wearing all white during the president’s speech, to honor past suffragists. A record 102 women are serving in the House and 25 women are senators, per Vox.
The president took time to honor Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine, attended the State of the Union. An emotional Johnson could be seen wiping away tears as the president spoke highly of her and talked about the 21 years she spent in prison before he commuted her sentence June of last year.
Speaking for nearly an hour and a half, Trump said that he wants to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the U.S. within 10 years, fight childhood cancer and called for further diplomacy with North Korean President Kim Jong Un. Adding that he believes the U.S. would be at war with North Korea if he wasn’t elected.
Trump asked for an end to “decades of political stalemate” and called for bipartisanship in Washington, saying, “we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.”