Trump calls for bipartisanship even as he sticks to his avowed agenda in State of the Union address

President Trump, in his first State of the Union address on January 30 night called for bipartisanship even as he pushed an agenda not to the liking of his political opponents. Seen behind the President are Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Speaker Paul Ryan(right).

Immigration, border wall, infrastructure, strong military among priorities

WASHINGTON DC (TIP):  In his lengthy State of the Union address on January 30 night, Trump doubled down on themes which he has embraced since his campaign for the presidency. He again pushed for stricter immigration laws and the building of a “great wall” along the U.S. border with Mexico. He also repeated his call for an end to family-based immigration, connecting immigration to crime, saying that “loopholes” in the immigration system had allowed gangs to proliferate. Democrats and many in his own party may not agree with this view though.

But in a marked departure from his earlier rhetoric, Trump also tried to sound enthusiastic about working with Democrats. At times, the speech even took on the feel of a pep rally for America, with Republicans briefly chanting “USA!” as the president spoke.

“To every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time,” Trump said. “If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.”

At the top of the speech, Trump celebrated the booming economy, attributing the bullish stock market of recent months to his policies. He also took time to advertise the recent tax cuts championed by his administration, arguing that it would soon pay dividends for working Americans.

“And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history,” Trump said. “Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses. A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 — slashing their tax bill in half. This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system — and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month.”

As expected, the president also called for a massive infrastructure package, which he said he hopes will attract bipartisan support.

“America is a nation of builders,” Trump said. “We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a minor permit approved for the building of a simple road?”

“I am asking both parties to come together to give us safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure that our economy needs, and our people deserve.”

The tail end of the speech, which lasted over an hour, was devoted to military issues, with Trump calling for an end to spending caps for the military and the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He also promised the final defeat of ISIS.

“We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated,” Trump said after touting recent victories in the war with the terror group.

Trump also discussed North Korea’s nuclear provocations and its treatment of both its own citizens and Otto Warmbier, an American student who was arrested in the country. Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly taking a political sign from a hotel and died shortly after he was released from captivity.

Various polls post the address indicated that Trump’s speech was well received by Americans. 72% Americans who watched the speech said they approved of it, with just over a quarter saying they did not.

The days ahead are quite crucial. The DACA issue, the impending release of Republican Memo on FBI and Department of Justice, the budget approval, Mueller investigation -are some of the knotty issues to be tackled. Given the tough postures adopted by both the Republicans and the Democrats, the coming days indicate some interesting fireworks.

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