State Of The Union: President Trump took the big stage on Tuesday night and didn’t disappoint. In his State of the Union speech, he recited his accomplishments, which few Americans know about, gave credit to American heroes who attended the speech, and even reached out to the political opposition.
“I think the president had a pretty good night,” Britt Hume of Fox News said.
Perhaps that’s not surprising. But we think that might be an understatement.
Trump repeatedly struck mostly conservative themes that even Democrats had to agree with. Carefully, all during his speech, he went out of his way to reach across the aisle to the opposition.
“Victory is not winning for our party,” he said. “Victory is winning for our country.” Applause, both sides of the House.
Driving that point home, he called for “cooperation, compromise and the common good,” not more partisanship and “the politics of revenge” — the endless investigations of Trump’s political, business and personal life planned by the Democrats.
‘I Will Build The Wall’
Yet, even as he proposed cooperation with the Democrats in Congress, he doubled down on one of the most controversial and divisive of his proposals: building the wall to halt illegal flows of illegal immigrants across our border.
“I will build the wall,” he said. But even there, he carefully qualified how much of a wall needed to be built. His wording suggested wiggle-room for a compromise that will keep the government from shutting down on Feb. 15. More reaching out to the Democrats.
And Trump continued to make his powerful appeal to bipartisanship, one that no doubt resonated with the American people, if post-speech polls are any guide.
‘We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction,” Trump said. “Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.”
One of his coups of the evening was to get the “women in white” — a group of congressional women who wore all white to show solidarity with the early 20th-century women’s rights activists — to applaud, and even stand, for a number of Trump’s proposals and achievements.
Olive Branches To Democrats
In particular, when he said, “no one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year,” the women representatives not only applauded but stood.
“You weren’t supposed to do that,” he said.
They again applauded when he noted, and lauded, the record number of women currently in Congress.
It was an unexpected moment.
And when he ran down some of his economic accomplishments — 5.3 million jobs created, including 600,000 in manufacturing; the lowest unemployment rates in history for all major minority groups and for the disabled; wages rising faster for blue-collar workers than for white-collar workers; small business confidence at record highs; $8 trillion in stock market gains that have bolstered middle-class American retirements, and so much more — even some far-left representatives stood and applauded.
He didn’t end there. The economy, after all, has been perhaps his strongest suit. He continued by reciting his other economic accomplishments, many not exactly beloved by Democrats — but that appeal to middle-class Americans.
“We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.”
“We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.”
Too bad that perhaps his greatest economic accomplishment, broad-based tax cuts for virtually all, got mainly partisan applause. Corporate America isn’t popular among Democrats, at least outside of their political contributions.
But Trump reminded listeners that those tax cuts have made virtually all Americans better off.
“We slashed the business tax rate from 35% all the way down to 21%, so American companies can compete and win against anyone else anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000. A lot of money.
“Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20% of their business income.”
State Of The Union: Growing
This is why, by the way, job growth and wage growth are so strong.
He talked about the three million Americans who got “tax-cut bonuses,” and increased investments by major companies here in the U.S.
“This in fact is our new American moment,” Trump said. “There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.”
And one of the more powerful moments in the lengthy but entertaining speech came when Trump openly challenged the Democratic Party’s shocking drift toward socialism.
He threw down the gauntlet to the extreme left of the Democratic Party, after referencing Venezuela’s socialist disaster: “We will never become a socialist country,” he said. Even Nancy Pelosi applauded.
It was a bold comment, and showed just how powerful it was in the grim televised faces of socialists Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
We could go on, of course. After all, it was a nearly one-hour and 20-minute speech.
But it was an effective political speech that touched on everything from D-Day and the Holocaust during World War II to criminal reform in the U.S. and seeking cures for childhood cancer and AIDs. Trump hewed closely to conservative principles, while still holding out a hand of compromise to the opposition.
He made creative and frequent use of visitors in the gallery, ranging from astronaut Buzz Aldrin to a Holocaust survivor. It was a disarming piece of political theater.
Post-speech polls showed overwhelming support for Trump’s State of the Union. A CBS News poll showed 76% approved of the speech, and over half of those polled were Democrats or Independents. Other polls showed a similar strong, positive response.
So for now, it’s a win, a big win, for Trump as he gears up for more battles with Congress and the 2020 presidential campaign.
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Author: TERRY JONES