President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union address, delayed by the government shutdown. The speech comes in a time where faith in American politics is rocky. Our political process continues to deteriorate around brinkmanship, hysteria, and anger. To change course, the White House promised that President Trump would deliver a speech aimed at unity, not division. As the case with all State of the Union addresses, President Trump would tout achievements over the past years.
The State of the Union is always a dog and pony show. Presidents take advantage of the opportunity to lay out their agendas to the frequent applause of party supporters. The assessment of the status of society resides largely on the perception of issues polled to be important for the general public. In his second address, President Trump focused his narrative on the growth, resilience, and resolve of our economy, deeming society to be in great condition. President Trump also called on both parties to help push our nation towards continued greatness.
President Trump’s economic message focused on the strength of job creation, wage growth, and expansion of manufacturing opportunities. Employment statistics across our nation gives credibility to the claim of robust and historic growth, as all demographic subgroups see historic employment performance. While many worried the shutdown would negatively impact the job creation trend, the economic data proved doubters wrong, exceeding estimates and forecast. Many thought the tariff programs would hurt economic gains. They were wrong as well.
The United States economy is undeniably in good condition. The Trump economy is providing historic growth and resiliency the likes many Americans never experienced before. While anti-Trump Democrats want to play class warfare themes, the economy is producing opportunity for all walks of life. Besides the economy, President Trump was able to tout progress on NATO contributions by our allies, rebalancing of trade, and implementing the bipartisan supported First Step Act. Also, Trump spoke to the progress in foreign policy, discussing North Korea and the war on terror.
The question is what’s next. Going forward, President Trump put forth an agenda to focus on making progress on fixing our health care system by driving down the cost of prescription drugs and reducing the discrepancy Americans pay compared to our foreign counterparts for the same drug produced in the same factory. President Trump wants to aggressively pursue the fight against AIDS in America and battle childhood cancer. The question remains on how President Trump, Congressional Republicans and Democrats can come together for making realistic changes that drive down the cost of health care and improve insurance coverage in a free market manner. This will be a major focus for this year.
President Trump will also seek to reset relationship with both China and Russia. The Trump Administration is working to negotiate a trade deal with China and include them in new missile reduction treaty. Recently, President Trump announced the United States suspended participation in the 1987 treaty with Russia on reducing nuclear missiles, due to lack of compliance by Russia. Trump hopes to negotiate a modernized agreement and include China and other nations. There may be problems with Russia’s willingness to negotiate and China already having missiles that violate the current terms.
President Trump called for measures that included some Democratic priorities, like expanding family leave and infrastructure. As many know, Ivanka Trump champions the idea of expanding family leave, including both paternity and maternity leave. For infrastructure, President Trump appears willing to work with all parties in addressing the crumbling condition of infrastructure that negatively impacts many communities. Based on past reporting, the measure could be a significant expense to the American taxpayer.
President Trump was not going to declare a national disaster for the border wall during his speech but did mention border security. For a segment, President Trump called for both parties to united and find solutions to stem violence related to illegal immigration. President Trump called for and praised immigration, relaying the message of supporting legal immigration. Trump spoke about the effects of border walls in many communities, including those of prominent Democrats. Reduction in crime and illegal immigration.
The goal of the speech was to promote unity, which Trump spoke to throughout the night. Trump called for the end of revenge politics and destructiveness, in favor of cooperation and compromise. Made interesting puns about potential partisan investigations planned by anti-Trump Democrats. President Trump challenged both parties to unite and move forward towards greatness.
Americans now know what to expect from the Trump Administration over the next year.