Trump delivers second State of the Union

President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union Address on Feb. 5 following a postponement issued by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi because of the government shutdown.

Trump discussed issues such as illegal immigration, the government shutdown, his proposal for a border wall among others. He also discussed issues regarding trade in China, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — the replacement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — the Venezuelan crisis, the Korean peninsula and the Middle East.

Photo via Flickr/D. Myles Cullen

Trump began his speech with a discussion on bipartisanship stating, “We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans.”

“Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation,” Trump said.

He went on to say that his agenda for the night was not a Republican or Democratic agenda but rather “the agenda of the American people.”

Trump acknowledged the volume of women in Congress—the most this nation has ever had—stating, “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before—and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.”

This prompted a cheer from the crowd of female Democrats dressed in white to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, as well as others in the chamber who began to chant “U.S.A” in unison.

Later in his speech, Trump went on to tackle issues such as lowering prescription drug cost, banning late-term abortions and new infrastructure proposals.

He also commented on ending the investigations that have surrounded his presidency since the beginning.

“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States—and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.”

Trump also acknowledged a few audience members in attendance, like Timothy Matson, a SWAT officer who raced into the gunfire that rang out during the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, Judah Samet, a survivor of both the Pittsburg attack and the holocaust and Joshua Kaufman, another holocaust survivor.

He also honored Herman Zeitchik, a World War II veteran, Grace Eline a cancer survivor,ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez, Debra Bissell whose parents were shot to death, Matthew Charles, a Tennessee man sentenced to 35 years in jail in 1996 and Alice Johnson, who in 1997, was sentenced to life in prison for a first-time non-violent drug offender. The president commuted her sentence in 2018.

Reactions from students on campus seemed to be mixed.

Samuel Adams, a sophomore with a double major in political science and religious studies commented on his opinion of the speech.

“The state of the union to me seemed unprofessional compared to SoU’s of the past,” Adams said. “Never have I heard a president address the nation with blatantly false information. It seemed at parts like a campaign rally rather than an address to the nation.”

Adams went on to comment about his favorite part of the speech, saying it was “hands down seeing the countless new women and people of color in the audience. Specifically, the women dressed in all white visually representing the new power they hold in congress.”

Adams also commented on how Trump handled the shutdown.

“I think he handled himself poorly,” Adams said. “Right off the bat Trump said he was owning this shutdown and as soon as it inevitably ensued, he began to shift the blame from himself. Politics shouldn’t be a blame game, specifically when it effects peoples capabilities of putting food on the table.”

Christopher Coppola, a sophomore with a major in secondary education and Spanish and a minor in business administration, commented on his favorite parts of the address.

“My favorite part(s) of the speech was when he, many times, pushed for unity within the country, and that both of the political parties in our country need to do a better job to bridge the ever-widening gap between those on the left with those on the right.”

Coppola went on to reference a specific moment in the speech when Trump said, “We must reject the politics of revenge and resist and open our hearts to the politics of the common good for America.”

According to Coppola that moment was a high point because Trump, “called out not only people of his opposing party, but also some Republicans who tend to participate in “revenge politics”. Coppola said that Trump used the speech as a way of extending an olive branch to the left so that, “so that they would be able to start to move on from their differences and work together.”

“In the wake of the State of the Union and the shutdown, I feel that the president has continued to do well in avoiding another shutdown in the days and weeks since, and today, he is supposed to sign the new immigration deal that will wholeheartedly prevent another shutdown,” Coppola said, though as of Feb. 13 the President had not yet indicated whether or not he will sign the deal.

Nicholas Fiorino, a junior with a double major in political science and religion with a minor in sports media also commented on the State of the Union.

“I found the State of the Union to be a waste of not only my time, but a waste of everyone’s time that was involved,” Fiorino said. “My least favorite parts of the SOTU were when President Trump overtly lied or misled the American people. For example, saying that his administration has cut more regulations than any other is a blatant falsehood that is based in zero fact whatsoever.”

Fiorino went on to say that he hoped the President would shoulder some of the blame for the shutdown and the “frozen paychecks of an estimated 800,000 workers, as the shutdown was easily preventable if not for our President’s terrible negotiation skills.”

Fiorino concluded by commented on Trump and the shutdown stating, he handled himself quite poorly, “aiming for political points instead of unity.”

“His incorrect and plainly false ramblings about the cities of El Paso and San Diego clearly showcases our President’s apparent affinity for baseless fear-mongering when none is necessary or welcomed,” Fiorino said.

Trump also acknowledged a few audience members in attendance, like Timothy Matson, a SWAT officer who raced into the gunfire that rang out during the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Judah Samet, a survivor of both the Pittsburgh attack and the Holocaust and Joshua Kaufman, another Holocaust survivor.

He also honored Herman Zeitchik, a World War II veteran; Grace Eline, a cancer survivor; ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez; Debra Bissell, whose parents were shot to death; Matthew Charles, a Tennessee man sentenced to 35 years in jail in 1996; and Alice Johnson, who in 1997, was sentenced to life in prison for a first-time non-violent drug offender. The president commuted her sentence in 2018.

Reactions from students on campus seemed to be mixed.

Samuel Adams, a sophomore with a double major in political science and religious studies commented on his opinion of the speech.

“The State of the Union to me seemed unprofessional compared to State of the Unions of the past,” Adams said. “Never have I heard a president address the nation with blatantly false information. It seemed at parts like a campaign rally rather than an address to the nation.”

Adams went on to comment about his favorite part of the speech, saying it was “hands down seeing the countless new women and people of color in the audience. Specifically, the women dressed in all white visually representing the new power they hold in Congress.”

Adams also commented on how Trump handled the shutdown.

“I think he handled himself poorly,” Adams said. “Right off the bat Trump said he was owning this shutdown and as soon as it inevitably ensued, he began to shift the blame from himself. Politics shouldn’t be a blame game, specifically when it affects peoples capabilities of putting food on the table.”

Christopher Coppola, a sophomore with a major in secondary education and Spanish, commented on his favorite parts of the address.

“My favorite part(s) of the speech was when he, many times, pushed for unity within the country, and that both of the political parties in our country need to do a better job to bridge the ever-widening gap between those on the left with those on the right,” he said.

Coppola went on to reference a specific moment in the speech when Trump said, “We must reject the politics of revenge and resist and open our hearts to the politics of the common good for America.”

According to Coppola that moment was a high point because Trump, “called out not only people of his opposing party, but also some Republicans who tend to participate in “revenge politics”. Coppola said that Trump used the speech as a way of extending an olive branch to the left so that, “so that they would be able to start to move on from their differences and work together.”

“In the wake of the State of the Union and the shutdown, I feel that the president has continued to do well in avoiding another shutdown in the days and weeks since, and today, he is supposed to sign the new immigration deal that will wholeheartedly prevent another shutdown,” Coppola said, though as of Feb. 13 the President had not yet indicated whether or not he will sign the deal.

Nicholas Fiorino, a junior with a double major in political science and religion with a minor in sports media also commented on the State of the Union.

“I found the State of the Union to be a waste of not only my time, but a waste of everyone’s time that was involved,” Fiorino said. “My least favorite parts of the SOTU were when President Trump overtly lied or misled the American people. For example, saying that his administration has cut more regulations than any other is a blatant falsehood that is based in zero fact whatsoever.”

Fiorino went on to say that he hoped the President would shoulder some of the blame for the shutdown and the “frozen paychecks of an estimated 800,000 workers, as the shutdown was easily preventable if not for our President’s terrible negotiation skills.”

Fiorino concluded by commented on Trump and the shutdown stating, he handled himself quite poorly, “aiming for political points instead of unity.”

“His incorrect and plainly false ramblings about the cities of El Paso and San Diego clearly showcases our President’s apparent affinity for baseless fear-mongering when none is necessary or welcomed.”


Rhania Kamel can be reached at rhania.kamel@student.shu.edu. Find her on Twitter @RhaniaKamel

Author: Rhania Kamel

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