Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on January 30. Overall, Americans who watched viewed it favorably. Seventy-five percent approved, according to polls. It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that 97 percent of Trump’s base approved of his first State of the Union Address.
Outside Trump’s base, 43 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of independents had a favorable view of the speech. Eighty percent of viewers said they felt that Trump’s State of the Union Address demonstrated an attempt to unite Americans.
Though it may be true that most who watched the President’s State of the Union Address on television found it to be encouraging, Democratic lawmakers were not applauding. Below are a few of the reasons why.
Trump talked about the strength of the current U.S. economy, citing 2.4 million new jobs, a soaring stock market, the all-time high of small business confidence, and more take-home pay for millions of Americans. Many viewers cheered when Trump mentioned the repeal of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Cheers went up again when Trump said “Economic surrender is over. Expect trading relationships to be fair and reciprocal.”
It’s true that at 4.1 percent, unemployment has reached a low that we haven’t seen in years, but Trump’s first year in office saw the lowest number of jobs created since 2010. Americans may have more take-home pay, but only slightly more; on average, workers only saw a four-cent per hour increase.
At one point in his State of the Union Address, Trump drew audience attention to a man whom Trump implied was having a good financial year because of the new GOP tax reform bill – the tax reform bill that hasn’t gone into effect yet. That’s the tax reform bill that will raise taxes on 92 million middle-income Americans by 2020.
As for other economic “victory,” the repeal of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act will prevent millions of people from having health insurance. And though Candidate Trump promised that he would require Medicare to negotiate drug prices for older Americans, so far, he has done nothing to that end.
Most Americans agree that our immigration policy needs reform. The meaning of “reform,” however, varies across individuals. In his State of the Union Address, Trump used emotionally charged language that blurred the difference between DACA recipients and illegal immigrants who are criminals. Appearing to use two sets of grieving parents to equate violence with immigrants, he told a story of two murders by gang members who came to the U.S. as undocumented children. In reality, there is no connection between being undocumented and being a criminal.
Continuing in the same tone, Trump stated that currently, an immigrant can bring in “virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.” This is not true.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, a U.S. citizen “can petition for a spouse, unmarried children under 21, parents, sons and daughters married and over 21, and siblings, if the (sponsoring) immigrant is 21 and over.”
Other Talking Points
Trump received applause during his State of the Union Address for many other talking points supporting the mantra of “Make America Great Again,” as well. Among them were the issue of standing during the Pledge of Allegiance, spending for infrastructure, keeping Guantanamo open, and modernizing our nuclear arsenal. What was glaringly missing was a strong statement about Russia or the Russia investigation.
Trump’s first State of the Union Address portrayed an America bursting with success, prosperity, and promise. But “promise” is the larger shell within which much of that success and prosperity remain, up to now. In Trump’s next State of the Union Address, what will the spin be if more of that sweeping promise doesn’t become action?
Trump’s 2018 State of the Union in Four Minutes | Fox News [2018-01-31]
Bernie Sanders’ Rebuttal To President Trump’s State Of The Union Address | TIME [2018-01-31]
‘The Five’ pick their State of the Union highlights | Fox News [2018-01-31]