“Everybody wants to be where the action is and the United States of America is indeed the place where the action is,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump addressed the nation on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at Capitol Hill with Democratic and Republic leaders, military personnel, guests of the president, amongst others, in attendance.
The circumstances surrounding this event were quite spectacular. The speech was juxtaposed between a disastrous Iowa Caucus on Monday and the Senate’s impeachment vote which has acquitted the president of all charges.
Trump’s speech covered a wide range of topics. A large portion of his time was allocated to discussing the economy. Healthcare, education, immigration, military, among others, were also touched upon.
“I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been,” Trump said.
Getting right into the information, Trump opened with discussing qualitative data regarding the health of the economy. Trump stated that the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in over 50 years and the average unemployment rate “is lower than any administration in the history of our country.” Seven million jobs have been added since Trump took office. According to the president, that is 5 million more than what was expected by experts.
Trump appealed to his minority base by highlighting the impacts the economy has had on them.
“The unemployment rate for African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans has reached the lowest levels in history,” Trump said, later adding, “Last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added.”
According to Trump, a “record number” of young Americans now have employment.
Rollbacks to food assistance programs were also highlighted. According to Trump, the previous administration accepted 10 million new applicants for food assistance programs. Seven million Americans have consequently come off of food stamps since Trump has been in office. He added that 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare.
“After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast. And wonderfully, they are rising fastest for low-income workers who have seen a 16 percent pay increase since my election. This is a blue collar boom,” Trump said as the gallery rose in applause.
Trump added that consumer confidence has reached “amazing new highs.” Citizens with 401k’s and pensions are reportedly seeing increases of 60-100 percent, plus.
“US stock markets have soared 70 percent, adding more than $7 trillion to our nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed is possible. This is a record. It is something that every country in the world is looking up to; they admire.”
Trump highlighted the Opportunity Zones initiative spearheaded by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). The president stated that through this program, investments are infiltrating “thousands of previously neglected neighborhoods.”
“I got it done and the people in this room got it done,” Trump said with regards to criminal justice reform. Adding that, “Our roaring economy has, for the first time, given many former prisoners the ability to get a great job and a fresh start.”
“A good life for American families also requires the most affordable, innovative, and high quality health care system on earth,” Trump said.
Trump noted that health insurance premiums had more than doubled in five years prior to his election. Trump said that he moved swiftly to provide “affordable alternatives” that are, as he stated, 60 percent less expensive and simply “better.”
“We will always protect your medicare and we will always protect your social security. Always,” Trump promised.
A new price transparency executive order that the president signed into law, set to be fully in effect at the beginning of 2021, is predicted to be “even bigger than health care reform” according to Trump. Families will save a significant amount of money while also receiving “substantially” better care.
“We will eradicate the AIDS epidemic by the end of this decade,” Trump announced.
Following Rush Limbaugh’s announcement Monday that he has advanced-stage lung cancer, the president bestowed the nation’s highest civilian honor. The First Lady presented Limbaugh with the Medal of Freedom during Trump’s address. The frail radio show host was visibly moved by this gesture.
Immigration and Border Security
Trump mentioned the “long, tall, and very powerful” wall that is currently under construction. It is projected that 500 miles of the wall will be completed by the beginning of next year.
“As the wall rapidly goes up, drug seizures rise and the border crossings are going down,” Trump said, “and going down very rapidly.”
Trump called on Americans to support the “heroic ICE officers.” According to Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested more than 120,000 criminal aliens last year.
Trump denounced the efforts of sanctuary cities stating that “dangerous criminals” have been released into the population to “prey upon the public.” Particularly, he called out California as the entire state has declared itself a sanctuary city.
“A very terrible sanctuary with catastrophic results,” Trump said of California. Later adding that, “The United State should be a sanctuary for law-abiding citizens, not criminal aliens.”
Trump made note of the “disastrous” NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement) trade deal that he subsequently replaced last week.
“In fact, unfair trade is perhaps the single biggest reason I decided to run for president,” Trump said.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was signed into law Wednesday, Jan. 29.
“I keep my promises,” Trump said with regards to his campaign promise to abolish the agreement. “We did our job.”
According to the president, this is the first trade agreement for quite some time that has been backed by labor unions. Trump predicted that this new agreement will create a surge of “high paying jobs” for Americans.
Trump called out Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and praised Venezuela’s “true and legitimate president,” Juan Guaido, who was present for the address. Trump praised Guaido’s efforts against the socialist dictator and offered his solidarity for Venezuelans.
“Please take this message back,” Trump said to Guaido, ”all Americans are united with Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom.”
Trump thanked Guaido for being there as Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and all those in attendance rose and applauded.
Trump mentioned the tariffs he has placed on China to counter their “massive theft” of American jobs.
“Days ago we signed a ground-breaking new agreement with China that will defend our workers, protect our intellectual property, bring billions and billions of dollars into our treasury and open vast new markets for products made and grown right here in the USA.”
Relations with China are the “best” they’ve been in years according to Trump.
“They respect what we’ve done because, quite frankly, they could never really believe that they were able to get away with what they were doing year after year, decade after decade without someone in our country stepping up and saying ‘that’s enough.’”
“To safeguard American liberty, we have invested a record-breaking $2.2 trillion in the United States military,” Trump announced.
Top-of-the-line military equipment has been purchased. Trump said that he has held our allies accountable to pay “their fair share.”
After Trump highlighted First Lady Melania Trump’s “Be Best’ campaign he called on Congress to pass the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act because “no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school.”
“Every young person should have a safe and secure environment in which to learn and to grow,” Trump said.
According to the president, over 400 companies will be providing educational and employment opportunities to nearly 15 million Americans.
“Tonight I ask Congress to support our students and back my plan to offer vocational and and technical education in every single high school in America,” Trump stated as Pence, Pelosi, and many others applauded.
Trump stated that America is now “energy independent” and jobs within that field are at record highs.
“We are restoring our nation’s manufacturing might,” Trump said, “even though predictions were, as you all know, that this could never, ever be done.”
Noting that the previous two administrations had, allegedly, lost 60,000 factories Trump stated that 12,000 new plants have opened under his administration with “thousands upon thousands” of new factories being planned or built currently.
Nearing the end of Trump’s address, in dramatic fashion, similar to what you might see on a reality TV show, the president reunited an armed forces sergeant with his family. The crowd, already on their feet applauding, began chanting, “USA. USA. USA.” While rising, Pelosi joined in on the patriotic act.
However, the cordiality was quickly lost. Upon the completion of Trump’s State of the Union Address, Pelosi subsequently ripped up her copy of the president’s speech.
As Trump made his way out of the Chamber’s, he interacted with some of the attendees.
“You get better every year, buddy,” boasted one supporter as Trump signed the man’s tie.
Following the president’s address to the nation, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer represented the democratic party and gave a formal response to Trump’s speech.
Live from East Lansing High School, where Whitmer’s daughters are students, the governor stated that rather than respond to what Republicans are saying, she wanted to focus on what “Democrats are doing.”
“Michiganders are no different from Americans everywhere,” Whitmer said. “We love our families and want a good life today and a better life tomorrow for our kids. We work hard and expect our government to work hard for us as well.”
Whitmer urged people to “stay engaged,” stating that the future of America requires it.
After acknowledging the dangers of failing roads and bridges, Whitmer highlighted midwest cities that are working toward improving their infrastructure.
Whitmer noted her endeavors to expand healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act for Michigan residents while also mentioning the nationwide effort.
“Today, Democrats from Maine to Montana are expanding coverage and lowering costs,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer ended her speech with a plea to the morals and ethics of American’s with regards to Trump’s impeachment trial.
“The truth matters. Facts matter. And no one should be above the law,” Whitmer said.
The New York Times has provided a thorough fact-checking analysis of both Trump and Whitmer’s remarks. Click here to review it.