On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address before a joint session in Congress. In a highly emotional speech President Trump called for unity among the American people and summoned the country to a “new American moment” highlighting that “there has never been a better time to start living the American dream”.
His first year in office was marked with controversy over his immigration plan, the growing protectionism, his adamant belief that climate change is a hoax and his position over the war on terrorism.
Trump placed significant emphasis on the growing economy and stressed that African-American unemployment is at its lowest rates while the stock market is on the rise having smashed “one record after another”, noting that it has gained more than $8 trillion in value. In the same spirit, amid self-congratulations, he mentioned that his administration has eliminated more regulations than any other before in an effort to cut down on the burdensome bureaucratic red tape.
Defending his “America First” policy, he underlined that the US has turned the page on “unfair trade deals that sacrificed prosperity and chipped away at [the US’] companies, jobs and wealth” and concluded by saying that “the era of economic surrender is totally over”, in line with his statements during the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.
Furthermore, he announced in a celebratory tone that he has ended the war on American energy and the war on “beautiful, clean coal”, and managed to make the US a global energy exporter.
As bipartisan negotiations are still ongoing in order to avoid a second government shutdown over the issue of immigration, Trump took a hard stance and said that it was every elected official’s “sacred duty to protect the American dream, because Americans are dreamers too”, in an indirect jab at the heart of the controversy surrounding the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) “Dreamers”.
In the defense sector he spoke about modernizing and rebuilding the US nuclear arsenal, and although hoping “to never having to use it”, he vowed to make it strong and powerful that it will “deter any acts of aggression”.
Trump’s biggest policy announcement concerned the reopening of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, fulfilling “yet another promise”. As he said, he signed the executive order prior to delivering his address and it included a thorough reexamination of the military detention policy, requiring the Secretary of Defense to recommend criteria for determining the fate of individuals captured by the United States in armed conflict. Trump justified his move by arguing that in the past “[administrations] have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists only to meet them again on the battlefield”, marking a formal reversal of his predecessor’s eight-year effort to shut it down.