State of the Union Address Builds Partisan Tension

By Katie Bedard
Elm Staff Writer

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech on Tuesday Jan. 30. The most anticipated and controversial section included his outline on his future plans with U.S. immigration policy, which insighted lots of reactions from supporters and dissenters alike.

What stood out the most from the variety of topics he discussed during the State of the Union was his lack of detail in describing how he would accomplish his goals. During his 80 minute speech, Trump remarked on reforming immigration policies, infrastructure, what he has accomplished so far, and an appeal to the members of Congress to work together in the coming future.

“There was little in the way of new policy initiatives. Trump pledged to cut the cost of prescription drugs, saying, ‘Prices will come down.’ But he didn’t explain how,” said John Cassidy, a staff writer for “The New Yorker.” “He called on Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the ‘new infrastructure investment we need.’ But he didn’t give any details about where this money would come from.”

While some lawmakers might have applauded these ideas during the speech, they seemed to have forgotten that a lot of what Trump said was not something that would absolutely happen. With divisions in Congress and scandals surrounding the new administration, trying to pass these plans will prove to be harder than it seems.

It came as no shock to anyone that the Democratic Congress members remained somber throughout most of the speech. Female members wore black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement, and African-American lawmakers in the Black Caucus wore Kente cloth in protest of Trump’s previous vulgar comments in reference to some African nations.

Anyone watching the speech could tell that working together in the future does not seem realistic. Audience members in the chamber were clearly divided. What was a bigger surprise to some was not only what Trump did say, but also what he didn’t say.

“The President did not acknowledge the #MeToo movement of women speaking out against sexual harassment and assault,” said Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear, writers for The New York Times. “He also left out some standard grievances. He did not renew his threat to crack down on sanctuary cities that decline to work with federal immigration authorities, nor did he devote much time to promising to rip up trade agreements.”

For me, it wasn’t surprising that Trump had nothing to say regarding the #MeToo movement, as he isn’t exactly the most prominent supporter of women’s rights. Another thing that I couldn’t help but notice, and maybe this is just because of how strongly I feel about this topic, is that Trump often made remarks on how he would “make america great” for all Americans. During these remarks, Trump pointed out that this included anybody regardless of race, background, religion, or creed, but neglected to mention sexuality or gender. This of course should not really have been a shock to me either, especially with Vice President Mike Pence standing in the background.

While Trump managed to not act as outrageous as his Twitter comments come across, the plans his speech outlined remain far from becoming reality. Many Americans might have enjoyed the State of the Union, loving the numerous mentions of what makes America great to them, and the hopeful demeanor the president exhibited throughout.

I am not hopeful that Democrats and Republicans will be coming together during such a polarized administration. With a presidency riddled with scandals, many believe that impeachment is more certain than a second term.

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