On February 5th, 2019, President Trump delivered his second annual State of the Union Address. It was originally supposed to be held in January, but Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not allow Trump to deliver it then because of the government shutdown. This led to a whole drama of tweets by Trump and an exchange of letters between Trump and Pelosi. Among the audience, the ones who especially stood out were the newly elected Democratic Congresswomen as they all dressed in white in honor of the suffragettes, women who seek the right to vote through protest. During the State of the Union address, there were a few key moments that stood out.
Trump began his address by emphasizing unity between political parties. He mentioned how both parties should come together to achieve what is best for the American people. When Trump said, “But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution – and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good,” people stood to clap, including Nancy Pelosi. During his address, Trump also mentioned how the economy is the strongest it has ever been as he made millions of new jobs for Americans. Trump’s SOTU address was also the third longest in the nation’s history.
Many people noted how Pelosi’s clapping and smirk seemed sarcastic and mocking so they took to Twitter to express their memes. On Twitter, many users crowned Pelosi as “Queen of Condescending Applause.” After his address, many people expressed their thoughts on how he never once mentioned the government shutdown. One clear takeaway from his address was that he only talked about the achievements of his administration and failed to deliver any specific plan of action in the path the country was going to take. Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted how Trump provided no vision for the future of America and how the “American people are flying without a pilot.”
There has always been a response to a president’s SOTU address from the opposition party. This year, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s SOTU address. She criticized Trump for the 35-day government shutdown which caused many workers to be furloughed or work without pay. Regarding taxes, Abrams mentioned how jobs are being lost as plants are closing and “wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living.”
Abrams also addressed voter suppression by stating, “We can do some much more. Take action on climate change. Defend individual liberties with fair minded judges. But none of these ambitions are possible without the bedrock guarantee of our right to vote. Let’s be clear. Voter suppression is real.” Abrams’ Democratic response addressed real issues that people in America are facing. She was truthful about the state of our union.
Emory University student Justin Kim has said, “The President’s State of the Union speech was a well-intended effort to bridge the two parties together and signal a step towards cooperative legislation. However, his speech was somewhat divisive in the fact that he highlighted the investigations against him.” He further added, “This division was evident through the actions of Nancy Pelosi. Her body language, especially her clap, signaled that there was still some animosity between her and the President.” Time will only tell whether or not Trump has a plan for the American people.
Jennie Kim, Grade 11
Immaculate Heart High School