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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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5 takeaways from the State of the Union address

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Photo by Creative Commons
State of the Union Address

In his first State of the Union address, President Donald Trump boasted about the economy and tax plan, while encouraging stricter immigration and nationalist policies. Battalion assistant news editor Taylor Fennell gives five takeaways from the State of the Union address.
1. Pride for the first year
Citing heroism in national tragedies and celebrating his new tax plan, Trump boasted about his “incredible progress.” Trump referred to the country’s reaction to the disasters in 2017 with triumph.
“We have endured floods and fires and storms,” Trump said. “But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine.”
Trump marvelled at the new tax plan, saying it has helped thousands of businesses and families.
“Just as I promised the American People from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history,” Trump said. “Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.
In addition, Trump applauded Rep. Steve Scalise’s recovery from the congressional shooting in June.
“With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House,” Trump said. “A guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later. The legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.”
2. Four pillars of immigration policies
Trump used his address as a platform to lay out his agenda for immigration reform. He explained the four key points of his plan.
A path to citizenship will be created for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as a young child by their parents. Citizenship will be granted over a 12 year period to those who meet work and education requirements and demonstrate “good moral character.”
By building a wall on the U.S-Mexico border, Trump plans to secure the country against illegal immigration.
The “visa lottery” will be replaced with a merit-based visa allocation plan. Trump said this will end a system that “randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit or the safety of our people.”
Extended family members will no longer be allowed to follow their loved ones across the border. This will end a practice that Trump called “chain migration.”
3. Guantanamo Bay’s continuity
As the president began his speech, the White House announced a new executive order, demonstrating Trump’s intent to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention center open. In his speech, Trump said many terrorists will be transported to the prison.
“I am asking Congress to ensure that in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them,” Trump said. “And In many cases for them it will now be Guantanamo Bay.”
4. “America first” policies
Trump outlined multiple nationalist sentiments, emphasizing his infamous phrase, “America first.”
Trump called for a larger nuclear arsonal, saying it would deter any acts of aggression.
“We must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hoping never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression,” Trump said. “Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.”
Trump also said foreign aid should be cut from countries that do not support the United States’ best interest. He condemned the countries that voted “against America’s sovereign right” to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year,” Trump said. “I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.”
5. Tension with North Korea
Trump expressed his anger with North Korea by telling stories of witnesses to the regime’s oppression. He told the story of Otto Warmbier, a U.S. student who was imprisoned and tortured in North Korea in 2016. Shortly after his return to the U.S., Warmbier passed away. Warmbier’s family members were in attendance and visibly emotional.
“You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all,” Trump said. “Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.”
Trump also shared the story of Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean defector who lost his legs in a train accident. Seong-ho was attempting to steal coal to buy food, when he passed out from exhaustion and was run over. Seong-ho now resides in Seoul and helps other defectors.
“Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come,” Trump said. “Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.”
Trump used North Korea’s quickly-evolving technology as rallying cry against the country.
“North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland,” Trump said. “We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies.”

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