State of the Union

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union address. Though originally postponed due to the government shutdown that occurred during the end of December and much of January, the address was eventually scheduled after the government was temporarily reopened on Jan. 25.

Much of the beginning of the speech was dominated by discussion of history. Trump spoke at length about World War II, as June will mark the 75th anniversary of the major events such as D-Day. Three World War II veterans were highlighted during the speech, including Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik.

He also recognized the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, featuring astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was in attendance. The president also stated that 2019 would be the year that American astronauts would return to space.

A prominent point throughout the speech was the need for bipartisan work in the coming year, stating repeatedly that gridlock would lead only to negative results.

Some of the accomplishments the president referenced included adding new manufacturing jobs, rising wages, tax cuts, the end of the estate tax and individual mandate penalty for the Affordable Care Act, the Farm bill and Department of Veterans Affairs accountability.

A large portion of the speech also covered criminal justice reform, referencing a bipartisan bill that was passed at the end of last year.

As is the case with many of the president’s speeches, illegal immigration was also a major topic of discussion, referencing the need for a border wall due to the cost of illegal immigration on American citizens as well as the threat of human and sex trafficking.

Talk of tariffs, pharmaceuticals, the military, and terrorism dominated the latter half of the speech, including several guests that had been impacted by those specific topics such as Tom Wibberley, whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was killed during a terrorist attack on the USS Cole in October 2000.

The president ended the speech with a call to action to remember the past and to stride towards a better future.

“We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans,” said Trump. “We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.”