Trump celebrates gains amid acrimony
by Harvest Prude
Posted 2/05/20, 08:43 am
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump expounded an optimistic theme of a “great American comeback” while Democrats openly showed their disgust at his third State of the Union address.
His speech before a joint session of Congress highlighted the strong state of the U.S. economy and touted other accomplishments of his administration, including the recent replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States–Mexico-Canada Agreement, low unemployment numbers, and bipartisan criminal justice reform. He briefly recognized his administration’s support for pro-life policies, religious liberty, and the Second Amendment. “Members of Congress, we must never forget, that the only victories that matter in Washington, are victories that deliver for the American people,” Trump said.
But beneath a veneer of civility in the House chamber, there were a few signs of the political climate in Washington. Before the address, the president appeared to ignore a handshake offered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Several Democrats walked out in the middle of his address. And afterward, Pelosi held up her copy of the president’s speech and tore it in half.
Who were the president’s special guests? Trump recognized several people in attendance, including Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom the United States and numerous allies have recognized as president as dictator Nicolás Maduro clings to power. Trump also honored conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh, and first lady Melania Trump presented the shocked guest with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Limbaugh announced to listeners this week that he has advanced lung cancer. There were also several heartwarming moments during the speech when the president honored other Americans, including a Kansas City mother and her 2-year-old daughter who was born prematurely at just 21 weeks of gestation, as well as a deployed serviceman reunited with his family.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered the Democratic response. She criticized the president’s efforts to dismantle Obamacare while praising the healthcare proposals of the Democratic presidential candidates.
Dig deeper: Read my report in The Stew about last year’s State of the Union speech, in which the president highlighted pro-life efforts by Republican lawmakers.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.