State of the Union address, a turning point for President Trump.
President Donald Trump spoke at the Congress and the United States with his speech on the state of the Union, the most solemn institutional appointment of the year, on February 5, a week later than originally planned, due to the "shutdown" of the US government, caused by the failure to approve the budget law, which paralyzed the federal agencies and ended on January 25. The President reports to the Congress about the country's conditions and outlines the priorities for the future. Both parties have reached an agreement to reopen the federal government and thus end the shutdown. The "buffer agreement" reached involves allocating the resources necessary to keep the federal government open. The shutdown, started on December 22nd, was the longest in the country's history, with a record duration of 35 days.
A highly anticipated speech, which comes at the moment of the lowest popular approval for the president, which settles around 37%.
This marks the beginning of a new phase for Trump, that is, a cohabitation with a democratic majority in one of the two branches of the Congress. If the first two years it had been a "republican monochrome", with the right controlling every branch of power (White House, Senate and House, Supreme Court), now the President's capacity to maneuver is quite limited. As a matter of fact, this episode opens the campaign for the presidential election of November 2020, with a crowd of early candidacies in the democratic field. Trump is no longer the “disruptor of the establishment”, he is now a president in the middle of his first term, and he feels the need to show the results as he prepares for a re-election struggle.
For the first time in a state of the Union, Democrats choose a black woman as a spokesperson, Stacey Abrams, who attempted to be elected governor of Georgia, and narrowly lost. Many people read in this choice an indication of the profile of the Democratic candidates for the upcoming presidential elections; as if to indicate the exact reverse of Trump, the maximum imaginable contrast.
Among the President's guests at the State of the Union address, veterans of the Second World War, a Holocaust survivor, as well as one from the massacre in the Pittsburgh synagogue, and a 10-year-old girl who won her battle against cancer.
The rift in Congress, with the Chamber under democratic control, and the Republican-majority Senate, was also evident even at afirst glance. Republicans rigorously wearing black or blue, whereas on the democratic front with the ladies wearing white, as a symbol of solidarity for women’s rights.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was, at this stage, the most fierceadversary of the tycoon. The president's appeal didn’t convince her too much, as for the democratic wing of the Chamber as well.
When the President declared that "the state of the Union is strong", the speaker Pelosi shook her head, while the Republicans sang: "Usa". The Democrats attacked Trump for the shutdown, blaming him for trying to use it as a lever to get money for the wall. Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general, has stigmatized Trump's "extravagant obsession with the Wall" and warned him not to declare a national emergency to bypass Congress.
The only truly bipartisan moment of the evening came both when Democrats and Republicans applauded the President, who emphasized the record of women in Congress: 131, the highest ever in US history; and he also praised the growing role of women in the workplace. This gave him a standing ovation from the dem group, including his rival Pelosi.
Trump announced that the first wide-ranging initiative for women's empowerment in developing countries will soon be launched.
During his eighty-minute speech, President Trump called for unity, with some updates on foreign policy, but no backtrack was made on the wall with Mexico; this stood as the most important issue, along with immigration and infrastructures.
"We have unlimited potential, I want to work with the new Congress, we have to govern not as two parties but as one country", he said, adding “to stop with stupid warsand ridiculous and partisan investigations. Only these things can stop the American economy. We must be united at home to defeat our enemies abroad ". Moments of tension were not lacking, especially when he reiterated his firm intention to build the wall with Mexico.
“After 24 months of rapid progress our economy is the envy of the world, our army is the most powerful on earth and America is winning day after day ", but warned thatthe "ridiculous investigation" on the Russiagate is likely to undermine it. "Tonight my agenda is not a republican or democratic agenda, he said, “it is the agenda of the American people. We must reject the politics of revenge, of resistance, of punishment and embrace the unlimited potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good. America needs pacification because the witch-hunt risks blocking the country”. Trump in Congress is clearer than that, so it could not be. Democrats evoke impeachment scenarios, so the US President in his speech on the state of the Union feels like this witch hunt that threatens to block the country. instead need of pacification.
Here are main points of his speech.
Positive signals at an international level
On the international front the president can boast of some successes and promises kept. The nuclear tests in North Korea are silent. Much work remains to be done, but relations with Kim Jong-un and North Korea remain good. The two leaders will meet again on 27 and 28 February in Vietnam.
Trump then defends his foreign policy choices, especially after the Senate, with the vote of rebel Republicans, voted against withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan before the final defeat of Al Qaeda and Isis. The withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan it’s exactly what Trump announced during the election campaign. "Stop with endless wars ", he said, explaining that "If I had not been elected president of the United States, today we would be at war with North Korea, with the risk of millions of people killed".
A new anti-missile treaty?
The United States has decided to suspend membership in Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (Inf), the main international nuclear anti-proliferation treaty, as announced on Friday, February 1, blaming Russia for failing to comply with the agreements. Generally speaking, Trump said that "perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we cannot".
Trump and the most pro-life speech ever delivered at Capitol Hill. The question of late abortion.
The President asked, in front of the Congress with the greatest female presence in history, to approve a federal law that prohibits“late-term” abortion and asks to "work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life". He had for some time seriously opposed the support of some members of the Democratic Party for their backing on the controversial late-term abortion legislation recently introduced in New York.
Trump defended life and the family. “And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth”, the President continued. The main line of the President can be summarized in this sentence: "All children, born and unborn, are made in the Holy Image of God".
Regarding the late-term abortion, Trump indicated that "New York lawmakers cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb until just a few moments before birth. These are living, feeling,beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world ".
"To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb”, the president said.
The justices, in line with tradition, sat stoically while Trump made his remarks, as Republicans in the chamber cheered and stood. Dozens of Democratic congresswomen remained seated, as some shook their heads.
No doubts about Venezuela
The position has been taken for some time with the recognition of Juan Guaido’ as President 'ad interim’, but Trump also reaffirmed it in the Congress: his administration condemns the brutality of the Maduro regime, and supports the Venezuelan people "in the noble search for freedom".
Peace with the Taliban
The president showed vagueness about the timing and ways of withdrawal from Afghanistan, while confirming the presence of constructive talks that the White House is carrying out. The goal is to "reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism" as negotiations proceed.
President Trump explained how the United States launched a "revolution" in the energy field and that the country ranks now asnumber one in the world as a producer of oil and natural gas. Then he added: "The theft of American jobs and wealth is over", warning China that the new trade agreement must include "the end of unfair commercial practices, the reduction of our chronic trade deficit and the protection of domestic employment “. The president also invoked a hard line on the trade front and asked Congress to give him more power over the imposition of duties.
The president was able to pass on the First Step Act, that is the reform, approved, of the prison system to reduce the use of prison sentences for non-violent crimes. An approach, said Trump, who "wrongly and disproportionately damaged the African American community". The goal, therefore, is to provide non-violent criminals the opportunity to return to society as productive and law-abiding citizens.
The great Mexican issue
Not even the tug of war with the dem has changed the president's mind, who insists on the need to protect the country and put an end to the "crisis on the southern border" through a series of measures that include a "new physical barrier or wall". For Trump, the refusal to do so reflects a class bias, between the American working class and the rich politicians who "push for open borders,while living behind walls, guards and gates".He has referred to the protection of the border as a “moral duty”.
"Today, I ask you to defend our southern frontier which is very dangerous as an act of love and devotion towards our citizens and our country. The Mexican cities, to remove illegal immigration from their communities, are sending buses to take them to our country, in areas where there is no protection. We are facinga national emergency ", he said. He then reiterated that the wall will be built, it will be made "of intelligent steel, strategic and allowing to see the other side, not a simple concrete wall." He therefore reported to have sent 3,750 troops to the border to face the "terrible attack "of the caravans of migrants arriving from Mexico. “We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and work of our citizens.The wall saves lives and makes America safer ".
Trump reiterated the determination of the US to never become a "socialist country", explaining that its nation is "alarmed" by the ongoing radical trends. "We are born free and we will remain free," said the 45th president of the United States.