President Trump’s State of the Union Address: A (Belated) Response

On January 30, 2018, President Donald Trump took to the podium for the second time in his Presidential career and addressed the Union in the third longest address in history. As always, the reactions were both positive and negative, so let’s break down what he said. It seemed that around 80% of the speech itself was President Trump reflecting on his success, and the other 20% was spent on his plan for the future. President Trump continued to highlight the idea of “Let’s Make America Great Again,” the focal point of his presidential campaign. President Trump’s entire address was structured around the fifteen guests that he brought to the Chamber. In my opinion, the guests that were brought were only used to his advantage (as opposed to truly honored), so he could justify his actions and boast about them over the past year of his presidency.

The first guest that he brought was Mr. Corey Adams, a welder from Ohio who had a positive outcome because of the recent tax-cut he put into action. Trump said he “supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder. Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax‑cut raise into his new home and his two daughters’ education.” He went on to say, “Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker… This is our new American moment.  There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.” This is a perfect example of how President Trump exploits the lives of his followers to his advantage.

President Trump continued to talk about “rediscovering the American Way”. He then discussed the job as citizens of the United States of America and how we need to always express our utmost respect and support for our civic workers (police officers, veteran, military) and followed up by introducing his next guest, Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from California. He was expressing his civic duty by placing 40,000 flags on the graves of veterans. President Trump addressed the nation by saying that everyone should follow in his footsteps and respect the people who have served our nation.

The last set of guests that I want to highlight is the two mothers and fathers he invited to the State of the Union; Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado and Robert Mickens. Both their daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Nickens — were both murdered walking home. There were around six gang members — from MS -13 — have been charged with the murders of these two girls. Trump went on to say, “Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country.  We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents so that this cannot ever happen again.” As I looked up MS-13, the description of the gang is “an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles, California, in the 1980s.” It doesn’t specify the ethnicity or nationality of the group, but President Trump implied that it is Hispanic, and began rambling about how the United States needs to close up its borders and have tighter immigration laws.

After listening to the whole speech, it really brought light to what kind of person President Trump is and what he is going to do in the future. To be completely honest, I don’t quite know what the future will hold for us as a country. For the majority of the speech, President Trump used the State of the Union as a platform to boast about his successes. He never really highlighted his plans for the future. He continued to focus on the same issues that he has been talking about for the past year. He somehow managed to go through the entirety of the speech without mentioning any specific piece of legislation.