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31 Jan 2018

President Trump delivers an optimistic "State of the Union" address

Trump's "State of the Union" address

Moving away from his gregarious and pompous style, US President Trump delivered an optimistic "State of the Union" speech with a visible frown.

He described a "New American Moment" characterized by prosperity, rebuilding and cooperation.

Even as he spoke about building a "Great America," Trump displayed little emotion, except flashes of anger at some point.

So, what all did he say?

Here's more.

In context

Trump's "State of the Union" address
First off, what is the State of the Union address?


First off, what is the State of the Union address?

The concept of "State of the Union" is enshrined in the US constitution. The President "from time-to-time" gives the Congress information about the administration's functioning and asks them to consider certain important "measures."

George Washington gave the first address in 1790. However, third President Thomas Jefferson delivered his message in writing; this practice continued for 100yrs.

President Wilson returned to earlier tradition in 1913.


Trump does a victory lap about his newly-enacted tax cuts

The official theme of Trump's speech was "a safe, strong and proud America."

He triumphantly referred to the recently passed tax cuts and the American economy's overall strength.

He said "Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3mn workers have gotten tax cut bonuses, many of them thousands of dollars per worker."

Claiming that regulations are thwarting infrastructure-building's progress, Trump promoted his government's deregulation efforts.

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For immigrants, a more generous policy than expected

Proposing his "unification" theme, Trump asserted about clearing the path of providing citizenship to 1.8mn "dreamers," who were brought to the US by their illegal immigrant parents as children.

He also spoke of ending the visa lottery of "randomly handing-out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people."

What's more, he took a tough stance against family "chain-based" migration.

Gauntanamo prison

Reversing Obama's efforts, Guantanamo military prison will remain open

Going against his predecessor Barack Obama's efforts to shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, Trump announced that he would keep it open.

On his campaign trail, Trump had vowed to fill up Guantanamo with "bad dudes." He had also claimed that it would be fine if American terror suspects were sent there.

His declaration is in line with his campaign promise.

Foreign policy

Trump's foreign policy is steeped in strengthening defense

Trump claimed that his government is restoring US's strength and standing abroad.

He asserted that the world over, US faces "rogue regimes, terrorist groups and rivals like China and Russia" challenging America's "interests, economy and values." To combat this, he appealed to strengthen America's defense.

He spoke about almost-defeating ISIS and about "waging a campaign of maximum pressure" on North Korea's missile program.


What did Trump have to say about trade?

Trump emphasized that his "America First" policy implies ending US participation in large, multilateral treaties. Further, it aims to push back unfair trade practices by other nations.

So, overall, how was Trump's speech?

Considering that Trump is facing an unpopularity wave, the speech's format played to Trump's strength.

It blended policy promises with stories of real Americans affected by his administration's changes.

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