WASHINGTON D.C. — President Donald Trump spoke before both chambers of Congress as he gave his first State of the Union. The State of the Union is often a pinnacle of a new President’s time in office as he details his plan for the next four years.
Members of the media made note before the speech, Trump is technically not giving a State of the Union Address. According to NPR, it is a tradition starting with the Reagan Administration for Presidents to give a speech to Congress because it “is assumed to be too new to the job of running the country to authoritatively describe the state of the nation.” NPR wrote a similar article in 2009 prior to President Obama’s first address to Congress.
Trump started out his speech by condemning attacks on the Jewish Community and two Indian men murdered in Kansas City. As previously reported, two Jewish Community in Minnesota, one in St. Paul and the other in St. Louis Park were evacuated due to bomb hoaxes.
On immigration, Trump announced the construction of a “great, great wall” on the southern border would begin soon, stating “We need to restore integrity and rule of law at our borders.”
It is estimated Minnesota is home to approximately 95,000 undocumented immigrants. Trump’s position on immigration has led to protest by both government officials and citizens within Minnesota. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has fought back aggressively against mandates handed down by the Trump Administration.
As previously reported, Hodges has stated her city will not cooperate with immigration policies which would seek to remove those who reside in the state illegally. Trump has signed a mandate which would block sanctuary cities like Minneapolis from receiving Federal funds.
Trump asked the Department of Homeland Security to create an office called VOICE, in which families who face violent crime by undocumented immigrants can seek help. However, news from the White House suggests Trump may be softening his stance on immigration. Hours before his address to the nation, the White House announced Trump would consider a compromise on immigration.
“Education is the civil rights issue of our time” Trump proclaimed as he called on members of Congress to pass funding for school choice, stating it would help many disadvantaged children. Trump introduced a young black woman named Denisha who struggled in public school, but through a tax credit and scholarship, became a successful high school graduate. Denisha became the first person in her family to graduate from high school and college.
Trump pushed forward stating “people should choose which school is right for them…it helps them break the cycle of poverty.” Minnesota Republicans have been pushing for school choice this legislative cycle. Supporters of school choice rallied the Capitol in late January in support of a new bill which would create opportunity scholarships for low and middle-income families.
Once again calling on Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump spoke of premiums in Arizona which grew 116% last year alone. Trump repeated Republican talking points for health care. Trump called for more choice, lower prices, bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, and allowing people to purchase health care across State lines. “Mandating everyone to buy health care is not the right solution for our country” Trump explained.
Minnesota has struggled with the growing rate of health care premiums. Within the first month of session, the Minnesota legislature moved to provide health care relief to more than 125,000 families.
Overall, Republicans have responded with optimism to Trump’s speech. “There were many encouraging aspects in the president’s speech, including a substantive outline on initiatives like infrastructure, job creation, and the economy” Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) revealed in a press release shortly after the conclusion of Trump’s first address.
Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), a long time supporter of Trump said, “I fully support President Trump’s optimism and request for all Members of Congress, to work together to benefit the future of this great nation for now and for years to come.”
Newly appointed Deputy Chair of the DNC, Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-05) found Trump to be lacking in many areas. In a press release early Wednesday morning, Ellison says, “In his first address to a joint session of Congress, he gave us no indication that we should expect anything different over the next four years. As long as the President is committed to dividing Americans and making life more difficult for millions of Americans, I will remain committed to standing in his way. You can count on that.”