For what he exclaimed to be the most watched in history, President Trump’s first State of the Union address drew in 45.6 million viewers, two million less than President Obama’s in 2010. This puts Trump’s State of the Union address at the sixth most watched since 1993 (the year The Nielsen Company began collecting televisions ratings data). State propaganda channel Fox News, however, did break a record with an audience of 11.7 million viewers.
The speech was meant to inspire unity, a disingenuous aspiration considering Trump did not once acknowledge how divided America currently is. He left his unhinged nature behind and stuck to the teleprompter. Even Donald Trump is capable of reading words from a screen once in a while. His pettiness was discreet (sort of), but his partisanship was not, notably when he gloated about “[repealing] the core of the disastrous Obamacare,” which was met with a standing ovation and frenzied applause from the right side of the aisle.
Considering how many people — along with a handful of Democratic lawmakers — boycotted this year’s State of the Union, we’ve put together a comprehensive breakdown of the speech outlining what Trump thinks the state of our union is.
NBC News kicked off the speech with this roiling comment by anchor Savannah Guthrie:
Let’s not forget as we see Attorney General Jeff Sessions, this is a president who’s under criminal investigation right now for obstruction of justice in regard to the Russia investigation, so [there is ] a lot going on in the backdrop.
A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land [a year ago]. Each day since we’ve gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission to make America great again for all Americans.
It is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon 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.
The state of our union is strong because our people are strong.
- Enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is actually the fourth biggest tax bill since 1940, with the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 ranking number one.
- Since the election, 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 in manufacturing alone, have been created
- Unemployment claims are at a 45 year low
- Wages are rising
Wage growth started under Obama and went up during the first three-quarters of Trump’s presidency, but wages fell in the fourth quarter.
- African American and Latinx unemployment rates are the lowest ever recorded
It’s true that African American employment is going down, but it has been on a gradual decline for several years thanks to Obama’s policies. Like CNN contributor Van Jones said, “I am happy to give President Trump credit for not screwing it up,” but he should not be taking full credit.
- Small business confidence is at an all-time high
The National Federation of Independent Business’s small business optimism index proves this statement to be true.
- The stock market is smashing records
- Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts!
- 3 million workers have already received tax cut bonuses
This in fact is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. So to every citizen sitting at home watching tonight — no matter where you’ve been or where you’ve come from — this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together we can achieve absolutely anything.
IN THE LAST YEAR…
- Sought to restore trust between the people and the government
Take from this what you will.
- Ended the war on American energy
Remember when the United States was a leader on the global stage? Unfortunately, that is changing with this current administration (sad!), but it is against our nation’s interests to isolate ourselves from global trends. Not only is renewable energy better for the planet, it’s in sync with where the rest of the world is headed. But in an effort to revive the coal industry and really stick it to Obama, the Trump administration has been working to roll back environmental policies.
- Ended the war on “beautiful, clean coal”
Coal is not part of our future. The industry cannot be revived to 100% as Trump promised during his campaign, and it’s not just the policies enacted under Obama that keep coal from thriving, but rather economics. Our nation’s focus should continue to be on clean, renewable energy. Also, beautiful, clean coal…?
- Says the U.S. is now an exporter of energy to the world
There are a few ways to interpret this claim, but the United States has been exporting energy — including coal, natural gas, electricity, refined products, and energy technologies — for years.
- FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in history
In fiscal year 2017, the FDA had approved 763 new generic drugs, 112 more than 2016.
- Has eliminated more regulations than any administration in history
This is a tough claim to measure, therefore it can’t be easily verified. Laws are in place to prevent regulations from swinging back and forth dramatically from one administration to another, so eliminating a regulation does not always provide immediate results. It’s true Trump has cut regulations (some of which had been considered dead for years anyway) and that new regulations have been slowed down, but some of his cuts have been met with lawsuits (like his effort to suspend a rule regulating methane pollution). Others can’t be cut until new ones are put in their place, for example, the Clean Power Plan which EPA head Scott Pruitt plans to replace with something much weaker.
All of us together, as one team, one people, and one American family, can do anything. We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag. Together we are rediscovering the American way. In America we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life. The motto is “In God We Trust.” And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans who deserve our total and unwavering support.
Preston’s reverence for the ones who have served our nation remind us of why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, why we proudly stand for the national anthem.
Trump is referring to his racist opposition to Black athletes who protest anti-Black police violence by kneeling during the national anthem, a protest tactic suggested to Colin Kaepernick by a veteran who wanted to help Kaepernick protest without disrespecting veterans.
- Will make reducing prescription drug costs one of his top priorities
Although the FDA does not control drug costs, its approval of new generic drugs will indirectly bring costs down. More generic drugs on the market means less competition, resulting in lower costs.
[Prescription drug] prices will come down substantially. Watch.
- Is appointing judges to interpret the Constitution as written
In one year Trump has appointed 23 judges (for comparison, Obama appointed 13 in his first year); however, 6.1 percent have so far been rated as being not qualified. Twenty-three judges have been confirmed, nine of which have no previous judicial experience.
- Is ”totally defending” the 2nd Amendment
This is nothing new. Republicans have already been “totally defending” the 2nd Amendment.
- Is taking ”historic actions” to protect religious liberty
The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has a new division: the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. This division provides protection for healthcare providers who refuse to perform, accommodate, or assist with healthcare services that go against their “religious beliefs,” a thin excuse for discrimination against LGBTQ Americans and people seeking abortions. The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division doesn’t change any laws; rather, it is now interpreting them in a way that sanctions discrimination.
- Is serving veterans and allowing them a choice in healthcare
Trump signed an emergency spending bill, providing $2.1 billion to continue funding the Veterans Choice Program, a program that allows veterans to receive private medical care at the government’s expense.
- Auto companies like Toyota and Mazda are now building and expanding in the U.S.
- Will protect American workers and intellectual property through fair and reciprocal trade deals
The era of economic surrender is totally over.
- Infrastructure! Calls on both parties to come together to produce a bill that will generate at least $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure investment
- State and local partnering
- Private sector investment to fix infrastructure deficit
- Streamline permit approval process to two-year maximum to “reclaim our great building heritage”
If you grew up driving extensively, riding Amtrak, living on public transport, etc., you know how important improving infrastructure is. However, Trump did not give any clear indicators as to where this money would come from. It will remain a hollow promise until it actually happens.
- Investment in job training — open vocational schools
- Support family leave
- Prison reform to give former prison inmates a second chance at life
The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country anywhere in the world to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, my constant concern, is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities.
Americans are dreamers, too.
- Framed immigrants as dangerous, claiming they have caused the loss of many innocent lives
As a certifiable racist, Trump only talks about immigrants as being burdens on American society when in fact they are instrumental to our economic success and commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans. Trump did not mention white supremacy or the innocent lives lost because of far-right white males.
- Called on Congress to close the “terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists.” Trump claimed that our current policies are outdated and should be brought into the 21st century
Nope. Our immigration system is already incredibly strict and rejects people with even minor criminal histories.
- End diversity visa lottery
- End “chain migration” – a dehumanizing right-wing term for family reunification – by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minors.
It’s time to begin moving toward a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.
So let’s come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.
OPIOID AND DRUG ADDICTION
It is terrible. We have to do something about it.
- The response to this crisis will apparently be supported by the previously mentioned new immigration policies
- Will help people with addiction get the help they need
- No specific policy ideas.
As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.
We know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense.
- End the defense sequester and provide full funding to the military
- Modernize and rebuild nuclear arsenal (but “hopefully never having to use it”)
Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly.
- Pledged to work with allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth
- ISIS has lost close to 100% of its territory
- Will continue to fight until ISIS is defeated
ISIS’s most notable strongholds, Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria have been liberated, but at a cost. With less military oversight from Washington, D.C., the civilian death rate was high.
Taking territory away from ISIS is critical, especially because they occupied cities teeming with civilians who were unable to leave. But ISIS has a stronghold online, and ideology is much more difficult to undo. The fight against ISIS will last longer than it takes to take away their physical territory.
- Claimed that in the past, terrorists have been caught and released, including the founder of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
This is a bit more complicated than that. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in fact a prisoner of the U.S., but before he founded ISIS. He was held in Camp Bucca, a U.S. detention facility in Iraq. It was in this camp that he, along with countless other prisoners, became more radicalized.
- Signed an order directing Secretary of Defense James Mattis to reexamine the military detention policy and keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay
- New rules of engagement in Afghanistan
- Recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel
- Asked Congress to pass legislation that will ensure American foreign assistance will serve American interests and be sent only to “friends of America, not enemies of America”
This type of loyalty test is pretty twisted, but let’s put that aside. Providing foreign assistance to who might be considered our “enemy” still serves American interests.
Trump claims the Iran nuclear deal is terrible, threatening to tear it up. This would be dangerous because no one wants to see Iran restart its nuclear program. Not to mention it would jeopardize our credibility on the international stage. The United States is not the only country to have signed this deal and we paved the way for it. To undo years of negotiations with the single sweep of a new administration would undoubtedly have high ramifications and would yield no beneficial results for us.
- Has imposed sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela
- North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear missiles — “could very soon threaten our homeland”
North Korea is not going to attack the United States unprovoked. It would be a suicide mission for them. But Trump is considering a “bloody nose” attack, thinking it will scare them enough to back down on their ballistic missile tests and nuclear threats. Experts on North Korea say this will only instigate a counter attack. And let’s put the safety of our homeland aside and think also about the safety of the countries North Korea poses the greatest threat to, like South Korea and Japan.
Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administration that got us into this very dangerous position.
THE END OF THE THIRD LONGEST SOTU ADDRESS IN HISTORY
Republicans broke out into chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”
Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never, ever forget. The people dreamed this country, the people built this country, and it’s the people who are making America great again.
TRUMP’S INVITED GUESTS:
Ashlee Leppert, U.S. Coast Guard aviation electronics technician
David Dahlberg, Fire Prevention Technician
Steve Scalise (R) Louisiana
Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger, small business owners from Ohio
Preston Sharp, Founder Flag and Flower Challenge
Elizabeth Alvarado and David Mickens; Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas
Celestino “CJ” Martinez, ICE Agent
Ryan and Rebecca Holets
Justin Peck, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
Fred and Cindy Warmbier, parents of Otto Warmbier
Mr. Ji Seong-ho, North Korean defector