A little over a year into his presidency, US President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address. Addressing a joint session of Congress, Trump outlines his administration’s goals for the next year, including policies on trade, immigration, infrastructure and national security. Trump had addressed a joint session last year as well, a month after his inauguration.
In his speech, themed ‘Building a safe, strong, and proud America’, Trump calls for “a new America moment,” and promises to extend an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to “protect our citizens, of every background, colour, and creed.” Read his full speech here.
State of the Union highlights
10.36 am: Bernie Sanders, in a series of tweets, responds to Trump’s SOTU. He targets Trump for not talking about climate change, nor “the reality that Russia, through cyberwarfare, interfered in our election in 2016.” He adds, “The American people do not want a president who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation. #BernieResponds.”
President Trump’s State of the Union needs a response. Here’s mine. https://t.co/8YZW8JCl2V
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 31, 2018
10.00 am: Trump’s SOTU is the most tweeted joint address to Congress ever. According to the company, there were 4.5 million tweets clocked during the event — in 2017, there were 3 million tweets.
— Twitter Government (@TwitterGov) January 31, 2018
9.30 am: Trump’s speech, one hour and 20 minutes, is likely one of the longest State of the Union addresses in recent presidential history, according to reports. Bill Clinton’s final SOTU in January 2000 was about an hour and 28 minutes while his speech in 1995 clocked an hour and 24 minutes, reports AP.
9.00 am: Democrats provided a short spurt of polite applause for Trump as he entered the chamber, but offered muted reactions throughout the speech. A cluster of about two dozen Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, remained planted firmly in their seats, staring sternly at the president and withholding applause.
8.57 am: Trump ends his address, “Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.” The House cheers, ‘USA, USA!’
8.56 am: On Iran, Trump says America stands with the people in their courageous struggle for freedom. He asks Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal. He adds that his admin has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.
8.47 am: On North Korea and the nuclear threat: Trump says, “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position. We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.”
I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.
Trump remembers Otto Warmbier, who was arrested in North Korea and charged with crimes against the state. He returned “horribly injured and on the verge of death,” says Trump. Otto passed away days after his return to the US. “Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve,” Trump adds.
8.44 am: On recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Isreal: After countries voted against the US at the UN General Assembly “against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition,” Trump asks Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars “always serve American interests and only go to America’s friends.”
8.43 am: Trump says he signed an executive order to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.
8.42 am: On terrorism, Trump says, “Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.” Trump says the country has “foolishly” released hundreds of terrorists in the past, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi.
8.40 am: On modernising defence: Trump says the country must rebuild its nuclear arsenal — “hopefully never having to use it”. He says, “Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.”
We must modernise and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression
Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.
8.34 am: Trump says the country faces “rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia” that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. “For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military,” Trump says.
We face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values
8.32 am: On the “terrible crisis” of opioid and drug addiction, Trump says 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016 — 174 deaths a day or 7 per hour. “We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge,” the President says.
8.30 am: Trump says the four pillars represent “a down-the-middle compromise.” He adds that in the age of terrorism, this will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system. “It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century,” Trump adds. Read more here.
8.20 am: Towards a merit-based immigration system: Trump says his administration has met both Democrats and Republicans in the recent months to draft “a bipartisan approach to immigration reform.” He details four pillars of the plan: (1) Citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants, (2) securing the border by building a wall, (3) a visa lottery and (4) protecting the nuclear family by ending chain migration.
“We presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs,” Trump says.
8.17 am: On free trade: Trump says the era of economic surrender is over. “From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal. We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones,” he says.
8.10 am: Trump on investment: Trump calls on Congress to introduce a Bill that generates $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure investment. “Any Bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one,” he says.
Trump says, ” We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.”
8.07 am: “One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down,” Trump says.
8.06 am: In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history, says Trump.
8.03 am: On the landmark VA Accountability Act: Trump says his administration has already removed over 1,500 employees who “failed to give veterans the care they deserve.” He adds, “I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.”
8.02 am: On the military: Trump celebrates America’s veterans “as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.” He introduces Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California. Preston noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day, and decided to change that by placing 40,000 flags at their graves.
7.52 am: On taxes: Trump says, “We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.” He adds, “Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.”
7.46 am: On jobs: In the last year, America has created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 jobs in manufacturing alone. “After years and years of wages stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages. Unemployment claims have hit a 45 year low,” he adds.
7.45 am: “That no people on Earth are so fearless or daring or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climate. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it,” says Trump.
7.40 am: Trump speaks of the hurricanes, floods, fire and wildfires America has faced this year. “Through it all we’ve seen the beauty in America’s soul and the steel in America’s spine,” he says.
7.36 am: Trump begins his State of the Union. During his address to Congress last year, Trump says a new tide of optimism was already sweeping across America. “Each day since we have gone forward… to make America great again, for all Americans,” he adds.
7.30 am: In a few minutes, the President will begin his address. Trump has entered the Chamber, and is taking the traditional long walk down the aisle.
7.16 am: FLOTUS tweeted earlier this morning that she will be sitting with “heroes who have served our nation in times of need, families who have suffered at the hands of evil, and citizens who have embraced the American dream” at the event.
I will be joined tonight by an honorable group of Americans. Sitting with me are heroes who have served our nation in times of need, families who have suffered at the hands of evil, and citizens who have embraced the American dream. #SOTU
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) January 30, 2018
7.10 am: So here’s what going to happen today: The Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) will introduce the President, who will deliver a speech for around an hour. In his speech, the President will discuss the economy and national security, among other issues. Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III will then deliver the Democratic response the Trump’s address. To know who’s attending/boycotting the event, click here.
7.06 am: In a break from tradition, First lady Melania Trump arrives at Capitol Hill separately from Trump. However, the two are expected to ride back to the White House after Trump’s speech, reports AP.
6.50 am: In his speech, Trump says that nearly all of Iraq and Syria is now liberated from the the Islamic State. He pledges to continue fighting the terror outfit until it is defeated. “Last year I pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the earth. One year later, I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria,” he will say.
“But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated,” Trump adds.
6.40 am: In his first State of the Union address on Monday night, the US President calls for “a new America moment,” adding that there has “never been a better time to start living the American dream.” Follow our LIVE blog for the latest news and updates.
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