State of the Union Response

Last night, President Trump delivered his first State of the Union address, and his speech is likely to be a hot topic for weeks. The polls are in, and America’s response to the address was generally very positive. CBS news reports that 75% of speech watchers approved of the speech, with 8 in 10 Americans stating they felt as though he was trying to unite the country, rather than divide it. Also positively, 65% of speech watchers said it made them feel proud and 35% said it made them feel safe. Only 21% said it made them feel angry and a mere 14% say they felt scared. CNN states they were “surprised” that 43% of Democrats and 72% of independents reported they approved of the speech. In contrast, the Washington Post called Joe Kennedy a “poor choice for the Democrats’ response,” stating that “his gilded pedigree and status as an elected official in Washington” contradicted his message about fighting for the working Americans. Below, read two of our own members’ responses to the State of the Union – Mariah McDonald, Vice Chair of South County and Will Sousa Grapentine, East Bay Chairman – and feel free to comment below to share your own take on the address.

Mariah McDonald:

Americans have so much to be proud of after President Donald J. Trump’s first year in office. As he highlighted in his State of the Union address, his accomplishments thus far include advances in the economy, national security, infrastructure, trade, and immigration. These topics were marked by highly impressive milestones, as the President himself mentioned, “Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. And something I’m very proud of, African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.” The progress our nation has made is directly correlated to President Trump’s business savviness and the shrewdness he displays in negotiating with international leaders.

President Trump also made an admirable call for bipartisanship, which is important in this increasingly turbulent political climate. Our friends to the left seemingly overlook that the President is working for them too, but with tax cuts and deregulation that don’t single out a specific class, Americans of all economic backgrounds, races, ages, and genders will benefit from the revival of the nation’s economy. Moreover, the jobs stimulating our economy currently are being reserved for actual citizens because of the President’s strict stance on illegal immigration, ensuring that American citizens will never be forced to go without work.

As the President so gracefully declared, “Tonight, I call upon on all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. This is really the key. These are the people we were elected to serve.” America is fortunate to have a leader who is dedicated to not just serving his party and his followers, but all of America’s citizens. One of the highlights of the address was the incredible Americans whose stories were showcased throughout the night, including Lenny Skutnik and Carryn Owens.  This tribute to the everyday heroes of our nation showed a more personal side of our president, and reminded us of who he, leading our government and our military, works hard to protect each day.

If the first year of our President’s term is any indication, the United States will only continue to thrive throughout the next three, and hopefully seven, years. The work that has been accomplished thus far has lead to a safer, stronger, more prosperous America, and has instilled hope in Americans that we have even greater potential that has not yet been reached. As we expand on these efforts as a united country this year, we should keep in mind the hard work of our President, government, and the American citizens who are, collectively, making America great again.

Will Sousa Grapentine:

State of the Union speeches can generally be like leftovers: they get better with time or are already stale. Tonight, President Donald J. Trump was given a difficult task of balancing the needs of the base while also expanding that base.

Tonight, Trump ended up doing just that. While the first half-hour was pretty boilerplate (underscoring successes, mentioning economic positives, and thanking our various first responders and armed forces), about 40 minutes into the speech we were reminded why America Elected Trump. With the now-coined “Americans are ‘DREAMers’ Too,” the tone was set for a clear bi-partisan immigration reform that goes far beyond the mainstream Republican (read: Bush, McCain, etc.) by balancing compassion with conservative campaign promises such as a wall and an end to chain migration. Additionally, his mentioning of “protecting the American worker” signals a pragmatic approach to trade and a fulfilling of a campaign promise to the manufacturing community. Lastly, Trump’s underscoring of respecting the U.S. flag covers the symbolic importance of addressing a divided America (pushed greatly by the NFL this season) – a gutsy move five days before the Super Bowl.

Of course the speech was not pitch-perfect. As a Liberty Republican, I find Constitutional rules-of- the-road are important. Therefore his executive order on Guantanamo Bay intrigues me: although I am not totally against Guantanamo, are Constitutional Protections in place for U.S. citizens and non-enemy combatants? This policy needs more scrutiny. Similarly, although with bi-partisan good intentions, a $1.5-Trillion- Dollar infrastructure bill may be taxing on various economies, as well as the national debt.

Overall, Trump managed to highlight his first year of accomplishments (even with some congressional difficulty) and upcoming policy targets – all wrapped up with patriotism, national pride, and the people that make our country great. There may be some that never like Trump, but this speech without a doubt underscored a new ‘Morning in America’ with the type of Patriotism unseen in government since 9/11 or Ronald Regan – MAGA!

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