US President Donald Trump used the speech on the state of the nation in the election year to praise the success of his tenure and warned against a “socialist takeover” in America.
“The state of our nation is stronger than ever,” Trump said in Congress on Tuesday evening (local time).
In addition to a booming economy, the U.S. military is the most powerful in the world, the borders are safe, the country’s values have been renewed and pride restored. Trump delivered the speech shortly before the impeachment process ended, which should end with an acquittal this Wednesday. The Republican did not address the issue directly.
The hostility between the political camps was reflected in a gesture by the leading democrat Nancy Pelosi. After the speech, the speaker of the House of Representatives tore up the manuscript of the speech. During the final applause, clearly visible behind Trump, she picked up several leaves and tore them in two. Pelosi subsequently confirmed that it was the speech manuscript. Given the alternatives, it was the most polite thing she could have done.
Pelosi is a bitter opponent of Trump. Before the beginning of the speech, Trump seemed to deny Pelosi the handshake – but it was not clear whether Trump deliberately turned his back on the democrat immediately. Some Democratic MPs never attended Trump’s speech. The left-wing leader of the Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently canceled her participation in a protest against Trump.
The appearance before Congress was Trump’s third speech on the state of the nation. The motto was “The Great American Comeback”. The deadline, which had been fixed for a long time, came just before the end of the impeachment procedure, which has dominated the domestic political debate for weeks. The Senate wants to decide on Wednesday (from 10:00 p.m. CET) on the two charges of the House of Representatives – abuse of power and hindrance to the Congress investigation. An acquittal is expected due to the Republican majority.
The annual speech is often used by presidents to announce new initiatives or laws, but there were no surprises in Tuesday’s news. Rather, Trump’s speech was influenced by the November presidential election, in which Trump is running for Republicans for a second term.
Short moment of unity
The presence of the self-proclaimed Venezuelan interim president, Juan Guaidó, to whom Trump pledged further support in his speech, caused a sensation. The tyranny of Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolás Maduro would be “smashed and broken”. The moment marked one of the few on the evening when MPs and senators from the disputed political camps agreed, applauded, and rose.
Trump was sure of repeated applause during his speech from his own camp, which is why the almost one-and-a-half-hour speech was protracted. Trump believes that the US economy is experiencing an unprecedented upswing. The time of the American decline is over, wealth is growing and unemployment is falling, Trump said. His government would make America the “wealthiest society” in the world, he promised. The US economy is “as good as never before”. The U.S. economy grew 2.3 percent in 2019. That was the lowest growth rate since 2016. At 3.5 percent, the US unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in around 50 years.
“Every human life is a sacred gift from God”
Trump made multiple appeals to Congress. For example, he called on parliament to ban late abortions by law. “We all have to agree that every human life is a holy gift from God,” Trump said. In the past, Trump had advocated leaving the decision to terminate the pregnancy to women. Trump changed his stance during the 2016 election campaign, saying he was committed to protecting unborn life.
Trump also called on Congress to fund a new American lunar mission on the way to Mars. This would have to ensure that the United States would become the first nation to “hoist its flag on Mars”. Trump said in a speech in Congress a year ago, “This year American astronauts will return to space in American missiles.” He has not fulfilled this promise since then.
Overall, Trump focused on US issues – he only touched on foreign policy issues. So he promised Iran economic recovery – in case the government in Tehran gave up its “pursuit of nuclear weapons” and stopped spreading “terror, death and destruction”. He again defended the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in early January, after which the conflict with Iran escalated dangerously.
“Want to get our soldiers back”
Trump also confirmed the intention to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. “We are working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our soldiers back home.” The United States did not want to kill “hundreds of thousands of people” in Afghanistan, many of whom were “completely innocent”. It is also not the job of the United States to be a regulatory force for other states, Trump said.
Otherwise, the US President addressed some classic Republican issues – in addition to the Abortion Act, he also advocated the right of Americans to own firearms. “As long as I am president, I will always protect the second additional article, owning and carrying weapons.” His opponents are currently attacking this right across the country.
He also sees the health system at risk. His political opponents were working to abolish private health insurance and take their doctors away from patients, Trump emphasized. “We will never allow socialism to destroy American healthcare.
Dozens of US Democrats once again dressed in white at the speech, demonstrating women’s rights. The clothing of the MPs, which was clearly recognizable in the plenary, is based on the suffragette movement in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, American women in white clothes protested for a nationwide right to vote that was granted to them a good 100 years ago.
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