President Trump's State of the Union: No Poetry, but Full Text and Commentary

|

Screencap, Fox News

Tonight, President Donald Trump struggled to speak in poetry, a foreign language for a Queens-born-and-raised reality-TV star whose native tongue consists of one-liners and lapidary put-downs. Still, in the closing moments of this first State of the Union Address, he almost got there:

[Americans are a] people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us — defending hope, pride, and the American way.

They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines….

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 forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.

As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

What a sad and beggared vision of "who we are": firemen, cops, border agents, soldiers. How many of us think of those categories first when we think of who we are, especially when invoking how American pop culture travels the world in a split-second? We're rock-and-rollers, movie-makers, dreamers, entrepreneurs, and just regular people with a dream that rarely elevated law enforcement and the armed forces to defining attributes of who we are. That's not to denigrate those professions, but for god's sake, who among our grandparents escaped old Europe or the post-war developing world with the dream of coming to America and becoming a cop, a firemen, or a soldier? Such a conception marks Trump, whose only brush with such a life came when he was remanded to military school as an adolescent, as an authoritarian. In his personal life, he's a libertine, thrice-married and never slow to brag on his fleshly conquests. Why does he the rest of us don't yearn for the same types of things?

His State of the Union Address (full text below jump) exquisitely fulfilled the laundry-list expectations that have come to define this annual exercise. This is not meant as a criticism, but the best you can say about the speech is that it ticked off all the boxes he wanted to tick: The economy is pretty good, immigration needs to be ratcheted back, America needs to come first.

Trump has had a first year in office that has manifestly failed to destroy the country as his foes feared and he has pulled up short of transforming the nation as he promised. In short, Trump drives home what we all know in our heart of hearts but are afraid to admit aloud: We are still in a space that is betwixt and between the past and the future. He is not a new Caesar nor a mad Caligula. He is better than most of us expected and no worse than most of us feared. The critics who called his election an existential threat to democracy and representative government have been revealed as fools and his uncritical boosters have been unmasked as delusional.

As a country, we're still waiting on what comes next, especially in terms of a government that mirrors the personalization, responsiveness, and innovation that we see in our commercial, work, and personal lives.

[Transcript of Trump's State of the Union after jump.]

Full text of President Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union Address

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:

Less than 1 year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People — and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.

Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission —— to make America great again for all Americans.

Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America's soul, and the steel in America's spine.

Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be.

We saw the volunteers of the "Cajun Navy," racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.

We heard tales of Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania. Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. Thank you, Ashlee.

We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.

To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.

Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House — a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.

We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room.

In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But 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 we were elected to serve.

Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.

So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.

And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.

Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.

Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.

Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans' 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.

And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.

Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.

To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit.

A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 — slashing their tax bill in half.

This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system — and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month.

We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year — forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans. We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.

We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world. These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000.

Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.

Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.

One of Staub's employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight. Corey is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder. Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax-cut raise into his new home and his two daughters' education. Please join me in congratulating Corey.

Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.

This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.

So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you 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 anything.

Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.

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 the American life. Our motto is "in God we trust."

And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.

Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done.

Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston's reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.

Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.

For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their Government.

Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country.

We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty.

And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do.

I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.

All Americans deserve accountability and respect — and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.

In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.

We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.

In Detroit, I halted Government mandates that crippled America's autoworkers — so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again.

Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing — for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.

Exciting progress is happening every day.

To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history.

We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives.

People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the "right to try."

One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down.

America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation's wealth.

The era of economic surrender is over.

From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal.

We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones.

And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules.

As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?

I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.

Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.

Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.

Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.

We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day's work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.

We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.

As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training. Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.

As America regains its strength, this opportunity must be extended to all citizens. That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.

Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.

For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives.

Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa's 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa's murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors — and wound up in Kayla and Nisa's high school.

Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.

The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country 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, and my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.

Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country: Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez — he goes by CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ's murder. But he did not cave to threats or fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13.

CJ: Great work. Now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements.

Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package.

In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.

Here are the four pillars of our plan:

The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age — that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.

The second pillar fully secures the border. That means building a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country — and it finally ends the dangerous practice of "catch and release."

The third pillar ends the visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards 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.

The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.

In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford.

It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.

These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.

For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen.

Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.

These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction.

In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.

My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need. The struggle will be long and difficult — but, as Americans always do, we will prevail.

As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America.

We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico. Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. He is here tonight with his wife Rebecca. Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby.

In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: "You will do it — because you can." He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope.

Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation. Thank you, and congratulations.

As we rebuild America's strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.

Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.

For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.

As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. 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.

Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.

Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is here tonight. Near Raqqa last November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to the city.

Clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped building and found Kenton in bad shape. He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway. He then performed CPR for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through 2 hours of emergency surgery.

Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin's selfless love for a fellow warrior. Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas. Raqqa is liberated. And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a "V" for "Valor." Staff Sergeant Peck: All of America salutes you.

Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.

In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi.

So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.

I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa'ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.

Our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement. Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans.

Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America's sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.

That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends.

As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.

When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.

I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.

My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.

But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.

We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.

Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.

We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.

Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June — horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return.

Otto's Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight — along with Otto's brother and sister, Austin and Greta. You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto's memory with American resolve.

Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho.

In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves — permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had — and he resolved to be free.

Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape, and was tortured to death.

Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most — the truth.

Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.

Seong-ho's story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.

It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America. It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness. But it was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea: that they could rule themselves. That they could chart their own destiny. And that, together, they could light up the world.

That is what our country has always been about. That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for, and always done.

Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her.

Monuments to Washington and Jefferson — to Lincoln and King.

Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga — to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia.

And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people.

A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us — defending hope, pride, and the American way.

They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines.

But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation, belong to them.

Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them.

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 forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.

As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.

Our families will thrive.

Our people will prosper.

And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.

Thank you, and God bless America.

NEXT: The Prejudicial Cynicism of Trump's SOTU Talk About MS-13

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

    1. Stop that, you’re making me yawn too!

  1. Prosperity is the key to freedom. A fact that seems totally lost on Reason. A man who is worried about putting food on his table is not worried about abstract concepts such as liberty. Trump is the man to unbind our economy. Will he always be 100% correct, no, but he should have near full support of libertarians with his overall vision economically. Sure, lets call him out on the stupid stuff such as nationwide 5g, but also lets celebrate his unprecedented deregulation and tax cuts and overall economic vision.

    As far as immigration, I believe it must be toned down reasonably to the point where business is forced to invest in training our poor and bringing them into the modern workforce rather than saturating the labor market constantly and driving the cost of labor far below the benefits of the welfare state. We cannot get rid of the welfare state with the current status quo, we cannot get rid of gov’t dependency with the current status quo on immigration. It is a fine line to walk, but we absolutely have to try if we want liberty to succeed.

    1. A man who is worried about putting food on his table is not worried about abstract concepts such as liberty.

      Which nobody does … As you advocate forcing employers to do what you want them too.

      1. Ah, I should have known a troll would nitpick that verbiage.

        How about “we need to stop subsidizing business through the welfare state”?

        And since the welfare state isn’t going anywhere through political processes, the best way to remove it is to create an economic reality where it is not a reasonable choice compared to actually having a job.

        Better?

        1. Ah, I should have known a troll would nitpick that verbiage.

          As lame as Trump

          How about “we need to stop subsidizing business through the welfare state”?

          That logic is lame, not the verbiage

          Better?

          How would you do that? Be specific. (Like Friedman was)
          And how would you do that without using the same “political processes” you also say make it impossible?

      2. When a visa is tied to employment at a company that bureaucrats grant visas to, the right to live in America and enjoy the protections of our police and soldiers becomes a job benefit that select employers can hand out in lieu of higher pay. I prefer that we give a massive number of visas through the diversity lottery, open the lottery up to people from all countries, and grant citizenship to visa holders after they live here for 3 years. The current system needs fixing.

        1. The current system needs fixing.

          By tripling our unemployment and welfare?

          enjoy the protections of our police and soldiers

          For which they pay the same taxes that you pay.

  2. The authoritarian mentality that he cannot avoid. His version of “national unity” means uniting behind him.
    He never got it. And he never will. This is not a family business, which is all he’s ever done.

    Both parties are stumbling toward disaster. A shrinking number of partisan loyalists are eagerly brainwashed, beating their chests and bellowing, as a growing majority rejects loyalty to both

    More true each passing year: Left – Right = Zero

    1. “His version of “national unity” means uniting behind him.”

      Have you ever seen a president who didn’t think that? It is hardly authoritarian unless he does things like, I donno, nefariously weaponize every federal bureaucracy against his political enemies and turn the media into a propaganda machine…

      Meanwhile he has been reducing his direct power at a mind-bending pace (deregulation), removing the power that foreign entities have over us, and stealing less of our money.

      1. Have you ever seen a president who didn’t think that?

        All of them since Kennedy.
        That’s why, for example. that his tax cuts were opposed by his fat left in Congress and the AFL-CIO, because he didn’t need their votes. Same with Reagan. And (eventually) Clinton.

        And Obama! Today’s dumbfuck GOP REJECTED the bipartisan offer that would have killed single-payer forever, which then forced Obama to need his own far left — who were the last to sign on.

        So, your thinking created Obamacare. And the GOP failure under Trump has made Obamacare more popular than ever. Tactics worthy of General Custer … but not reported in the rightwing meedja … which is why you simply do not know.

  3. Nice post. Thanks for sharing such an interesting and witty post with us.
    Amazon customer support

  4. “What a sad and beggared vision of “who we are”: firemen, cops, border agents, soldiers”

    Beggared and sad it may be. But this is standard political boilerplate that one hears in every political speech. If a Democrat had given this speech, “teachers” would have been added to the list. The common theme is not “authoritarianism,” but public employees (with public pensions) funded by taxpayers.

    1. It’s a statistically accurate version of who we are, compared to the image of Americans as rock and rollers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says America has 40,110 professional musician and singers and 807,000 police and detectives. The number of police and detectives in America is about the same as the number of foreign born people in Mexico. The number of American kids who dream of being rock stars might be greater than the number of American kids who dream of becoming cops, but very few Americans pay the rent by contributing to the economy as rock stars.

      1. It’s a statistically accurate version of who we are

        Why do you claim that 807,000 is a significant portion of 150 million jobs? (0.5%)

        Left – Right = Zero

        1. Hey, you dropped this–

          compared to the image of Americans as rock and rollers.

          You know, the part that makes your snark look stupid.

          1. Only a dumbass assumes that “rock and rollers” means only MUSICIANS.
            (snort)

  5. “What a sad and beggared vision of “who we are”: firemen, cops, border agents, soldiers. How many of us think of those categories first when we think of who we are, especially when invoking how American pop culture travels the world in a split-second?

    —-The Man in Black

    Let’s look at what he said again:

    “They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines….”

    —-Trump

    He said American heroes work in every trade.

    He said they’re strong moms and brave kids.

    With all respect, Mr. Gillespie, you won’t be able to counter Trump’s message until you can hear what he’s saying to the everyday people who are listening to him.

    Do you understand why these people oppose ObamaCare and the Paris Climate Accord Treaty?

    Trump said American heroes are working dads who make sacrifices for their own families–rather than being forced by the government to make sacrifices for others.

    There’s a libertarian take on what Trump said, but you have to hear what he said before you can respond to it effectively.

    We should be the ones making Trump’s point, here; instead, you’re denouncing him for it?

    If you’re gonna be the new Man in Black, you’ve gotta get out of your own way and listen.

    1. The “everyday people” HATE HIM.

      Fox News Poll: 83 percent support pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants
      86% want citizenship for dreamers
      83%f for ALL illegals working here.
      ****63% of even TRUMP voters favor a path to citizenship for Dreamers,

      1. “Disagree with him on one specific issue” does not remotely equal “hate him.” It’s also funny that Ken was pointing out that Nick wasn’t addressing what Trump actually said, and you respond by… not addressing what Ken actually said. Nice recursion.

        Wow. Checked out the website link in your profile, and… you’ve been part of Libertarian Party operations? If you’re a typical sample of an LP organizer, no wonder Gary Johnson didn’t crack double digits in 2016, despite the Republicans having a candidate with the worst in-party opposition since Goldwater, perhaps even since Taft. Maybe I really did throw away my vote.

        1. Disagree with him on one specific issue” does not remotely equal “hate him

          The worst approval rating ever does.

          1. No, “worst approval rating” means they approve of him now less than people approved of past presidents at the time. 39% approval is hardly “the average person hates him”, especially after such a close and bitter election when half the population is strongly disposed to disapprove of him regardless. It’s also misleading. He has the lowest approval for the first year of his presidency, but (again) most elections aren’t as close as 2016 was, and most presidents’ agendas aren’t as front-loaded with contentious issues.

            I realize, however, that this may be too complex a point for someone who just wants to scream “I hate Trump! Everyone hates Trump!” rather than address what people have said, as I notice you still have failed to do regarding Ken’s comment.

  6. I will attempt a thoughtful critique of the Democrats’ behavior during SOTU and subsequently their five (5) responses to same.

    When Trump applauded black unemployment statistics, the camera panned over Congressional Black Caucus members sitting and looking grumpy. The cheap shot I could take is that they are all poverty pimps and they know it. The upscale shot I will take is that blacks rank highest in approval of limits on immigration OF ALL AMERICANS and the CBC remained seated when Trump addressed that hot button. Now it didn’t come up, but blacks are also the leading the polls on the question of transsexuals serving in the military.

    My point here is that the Democrat Party has some tensions and some fault lines, which is why they needed five separate rebuttals of the president. The major unifying factor among Dems is Trump Derangement Syndrome, a glue that may not be able hold the ship together as more and more information on the FBI/DOJ/Obama administration abuse of the FISA court process for snooping on political opposition comes out.

    Come out the remarkable FISA scandal will, despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to keep up the firewall against such damning reports. Information in our present age is a hard thing to suppress. Worse yet, legal machinery is gaining momentum and it won’t stop grinding because of lame Democrat protests.

    1. When Trump applauded black unemployment statistics, the camera panned over Congressional Black Caucus members sitting and looking grumpy.

      Because he’s full of shit. He’s 0.1% lower than Obama’s on a steep trend begun by Obama Last year’s job creation was the lowest since 2010. And last year’s GDP growth was higher in three of the last four Obama years

      The cheap shot I could take is that they are all poverty pimps and they know it.

      I know what you are.

      DARE to venture outside your deep tribal cave into the light.

      He did say you people would support him even if he killed somebody in broad daylight, with witnesses .. and you even supported him bragging that you are mindless puppets, dancing on his strings.

      Left – Right = Zero

      1. Unemployment statistics for 4th quarter 2016 and 2017 show the nations unemployment rate going from 4.5 to 3.9 and the unemployment rate for African-Americans going from 7.9 to 7.0.

        By the way, if you look at the unemployment figures for each age and race, you notice a high unemployment rate for African Americans between the ages of 16 and 20. An unemployed person is someone who wants to work but is not working. Young African-Americans who are unemployed instead of in school contribute significantly to the African-American unemployment rate. Who runs the schools that most African-Americans attend?

        1. Non-responsive .. and kinda stoopid

      2. At least you are one of us shameless ones who uses (or seems to) your real name. I had a non-self published book appear once and the publisher discovered about a dozen published authors with my name, I’ve never heard the name Hihn before, so you ought to be OK in that regard.

  7. What a sad and beggared vision of “who we are”: firemen, cops, border agents, soldiers. How many of us think of those categories first when we think of who we are…

    Have you ever looked at any Norman Rockwell where the subject is intended for admiration rather than comedy? Minus the border agents, they tend to be in the “sad and beggared vision” group. And in our pop culture? Movie and TV characters meant to be admirable, in things that achieve ticket/ratings success? Even when those characters aren’t literal firefighters, cops or soldiers (fx. superheroes), they tend to fill the same *idealized* roles: they save and protect people at personal risk. We admire bravery. How is this bad or abnormal?

    Maybe you should consider that the general public perception of cops and soldiers differs from yours.

    1. The general public thinks 1% of our workforce is representative?

      1. Usually, when someone uses “who we are” in a context like this, they don’t mean “a statistically-representative sample.” They mean “what we admire about ourselves” or “the ideal we aspire to.”

        1. That’s 1 gazillion percent irrelevant.
          And how many people use “we” to mean 1% of us?

          You also assumed that he was somehow denigrating cops and soldiers????????

          1. I don’t think Gillespie was denigrating cops or soldiers. He specifically said he didn’t intend that, and I believe him. But you’re missing my point. Trump did not mean that most of us are cops and soldiers, any more than Nick meant that most of us are rock-and-rollers* (I presume he means musicians, not merely people who like rock music) or movie-makers. Nick’s beef with Trump, from what I can tell, is that Nick objects to cops and soldiers being held up above others as the primary examples for admiration. I’m pointing out that the average American is much more likely to agree with Trump about who to admire, compared to the groups Nick suggests as alternatives.

            1. ORIGINAL:
              “Maybe you should consider that the general public perception of cops and soldiers differs from yours.”

              REVISED
              “I don’t think Gillespie was denigrating cops or soldiers.”

              You’re done.

              1. And you seem to be having comprehension problems. Saying that the general public’s perception of cops/soldiers is different than Nick’s is not saying that he’s denigrating them.

                The general public, and Trump, think cops and soldiers deserve special admiration. Nick, best as I can tell, thinks they’re about the same as everyone else. I did not say that Nick thinks cops and soldiers suck, nor can anything I said be reasonably read that way. Please stop trying to put words in my mouth.

                1. ANOTHER REVERSAL!!!

                  ORIGINAL:
                  “Maybe you should consider that the general public perception of cops and soldiers differs from yours.”

                  REVISION #1
                  “I don’t think Gillespie was denigrating cops or soldiers.”

                  REVISION #3
                  “The general public, and Trump, think cops and soldiers deserve special admiration. Nick, best as I can tell, thinks they’re about the same as everyone else.”

                  And you seem to be having comprehension problems

                  I KNOW WHAT DENIGRATE MEANS.

                  Trumpsters be blowhards, like their exalted leader.

                  1. What in the world led you to believe I’m a Trump supporter? I’ve disliked him for decades due to his eminent domain abuse, and I voted for Johnson. But I don’t like seeing someone’s words mischaracterized, as Nick did (mildly) to Trump and you’re doing (egregiously and hilariously) to me. You might try engaging in honest discussion instead of indulging your delusions of Perry Masondom and combing for gotchas.

                    No, you don’t seem to know what denigrate means, because nowhere did I accuse Nick of denigrating anybody. And while you seem of know what “revision” means, basically, it would better be described as “attempt to state things more simply to get through someone’s thick head.” I’ll try again.

                    Trump: Soldiers are awesome.
                    Nick: Meh. They’re OK.
                    Me: Most Americans agree with Trump, not Nick.
                    You: You said Nick said soldiers suck!!!

                    Clear now?

                    I’ve debated libertarian ideas with Trump supporters, Sanders supporters, and a freaking unrepentant Stalinist, and seen more intellectual honesty than you display.


  8. We’re rock-and-rollers, movie-makers…

    Considering how much many of those people and artists in general openly hate such a huge portion of Americans, and have for so long, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Sneer too long at the middle class, and the middle class sneers back at you. I realize you probably have more admiration for the likes of Alan Ginsberg or Gore Vidal or Jello Biafra than for Chris Kyle or Ryan Nash, but most American’s wouldn’t agree with you, and they’re the ones Trump is addressing.

    That’s not to denigrate those professions, but for god’s sake, who among our grandparents escaped old Europe or the post-war developing world with the dream of coming to America and becoming a cop, a firemen, or a soldier?

    I don’t know, but I would expect more than the number of American kids who play “actor and paparazzi” or “rock star and emergency room staff.”

    1. Sad. You need to work on your rather blatant tribal bigotry, now rejected by a growing majority of Americans.

      1. My tribal bigotry against people who have bigotry against Americans, you mean? Yeah, I’m annoyed by those with oikophobia, what Orwell referred to as “negative nationalism”, or the sort of person whom Gilbert & Sullivan mocked as “the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, every century but this, and every country but his own.”

        1. My tribal bigotry against people who have bigotry against Americans, you mean?

          (smirk) The tribal bigotry that causes you to apply that to an entire class of people, the very definition of bigotry.

          Shame on you.

          1. Given that topic is Nick taking issue with Trump’s holding up specific groups as admirable, and Nick suggesting alternate groups, generalization about those groups is inevitable. In fact, in any discussion about groups rather than specific individuals, it’s inevitable. But working with abstractions is apparently not your strong suit, so I’ll let that pass.

            But since you were obsessively quoting me earlier, I’ll return the favor. And unlike you, I’m not desperately sifting for something — anything! — to distract from the actual point.

            1.31.18 @ 2:12PM “Trumpsters be blowhards, like their exalted leader.”

            Not just bigotry about a class of people, but a class of people the person you were talking about (me) isn’t even in.

            I also note that you’ve fallen silent on all the other subthreads after your arguments fell out from under you, and are instead replying on the only thing you think you have a chance with. As I mentioned before, I’ve had political discussions with a Stalinist. A few times I’ve managed to convince him that the libertarian approach on an issue was better, and he admitted he was wrong. What does it say when you have less intellectual honesty than a Marxist?

            1. Not all Trump supporters are “Trumpsters”.

              I also note that you’ve fallen silent on all the other subthreads after your arguments fell out from under you,

              You’re full of shit. I rarely respond to the large number of cyber-bullies stalking these pages. Name an an instance where my argument “fell out from under” me.

              Thanks, Punk. I now get to out you as a self-righteous asshole. (snort)

              …. the libertarian approach on an issue was better, and he admitted he was wrong. What does it say when you have less intellectual honesty than a Marxist?

              Bend over!
              Here’s an apology from me, several hours before your arrogant bullshit

              So the apology is mine. And I was totally confused, coming from you, so that too is resolved Please accept my very deepest personal apology.
              https://reason.com/blog/2018/01…..nt_7114582

              Cyberbullying The act of bullying someone through electronic means (as by posting mean or threatening messages about the person online)

              Pathetic loser.

              1. How are you not claiming I’m a Trump supporter if you describe him as my “exalted leader”?

                I did a Ctrl-F to look for “apology” on the whole page, and it only shows up in this comment from you referring to the claimed invisible apology. I tried it in Firefox as well, just in case a Chrome extension was hiding it somehow, and same result. Maybe the comment system ate your post.

                I know what cyberbullying is, but this is the first time I’ve encountered an adult — much less an adult participating in political debates — claiming to be a victim of it. For that matter, it’s the first time I’ve seen an adult claim that someone in online debate was being “mean” to him, and I’ve been engaged in such discussion since the early 1990s. Kudos on the 25ish-year first.

                As to arguments falling out from under you, this is the first time I’ve had the entertainment of encountering your comments, but in this article: Claiming I accused Nick of denigrating groups that Trump praised. I said that Nick’s view differed from those of the average American. Withdraw claim or back it up.

                Oh, and “pathetic loser”? I’m not the one who has descended into profanity and scatological remarks. That’s usually a good indicator that someone has run out of rational arguments, assuming they had any in the first place. Mind you, there are exceptional people who can be foul-mouthed and smart at the same time. George Carlin was great at that. You, sadly, are no George Carlin.

  9. What a sad and beggared vision of “who we are”: firemen, cops, border agents, soldiers.

    According to Wikipedia nearly 70% of the firemen in the US are volunteers. That sounds like something a Libertarian might applaud. A Cosmotarian on the other hand….

    1. Sailed right over your head?
      Oh, it’s Milio …

  10. Trumps immigration policy and military policy could be better, and I dislike his economic protectionism. On the other hand, it is good that he lowered taxes, reduced regulations, and addressed the backlog of federal judge appointments.

    1. My fondest hope is that Trump remains in office at least long enough to fill that backlog, with jurists of the caliber that have already gone through the process. That and any further deregulating [shutting down the Department of Education would be ideal] would generally be to the good and difficult for subsequent Obamas to undo.

      1. I’m thinking of adapting a Latin-phrase screen name, Non Illegitamous Carborundum. but I think it might be taken. Maybe the guy passed away by now, which people who still took Latin in school tend to do. We’re dropping like flies.

        1. NOBODY here will get that, Michael.
          Almost nobody.

  11. Some things caught my attention

    On MSNBC last night, right after the speech, one of the panel spoke about the people she’d been talking to, Democrats who’d voted for Trump, and how, far from regret, this year and that speech were exactly what they wanted.

    Democrats. According to her, Trump was speaking to disaffected Democrats.

    This morning, while driving to work, the CBS newsblurp angrily cited the results of a poll they’d run about the SoTU that showed that over 80% approved of the speech, and 75% saw it as a ‘unifying’ speech.

    Now, I don’t trust polls, or CBS. Both have been revealed as liars over and over again. Polls are always negative for opponents of the left, and CBS has long since abandoned truth. So why report this at all?

    Clearly, others had access to it.

    Finally, there were 5 different rebuttals. 5. What a show of unity.

  12. First, thank you for printing the entire speech. I had to work late, so missed the live broadcast, and was too tired to sit through all the applause pauses when it was the re-broadcast later.

    While I missed the speech, last night and this morning I did get to see some of the post-speech analysis, including Reason’s “State of the Union Wrap-Up Video” and I must say I’m surprised that no one seems to have seen the significance of this line:

    “…I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers ? and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.”

    I wonder what the SEIU thought about that line? Unless I’m misunderstanding something here, it sounds to me like a direct assault on the massive, national bureaucracy–the UNIONIZED, national bureaucracy–that makes up the biggest part of “The Swamp.” We’ve all heard stories about how civil service rules and regulations have made it difficult to impossible to fire a government employee, even ‘with cause’. It looks like Trump might be trying to find a way to get around or mitigate those rules and regulations. (Yes!)

    I don’t know if that line got any applause, but I hope it did. Dismantling the national bureaucratic state must happen if freedom is to survive.

    1. But not in a fascist/authoritarian manner you gushed over.
      Find a Constitution.
      Read it.
      Apply it.

      Typical Trumpian bullshit

      1. As I said elsewhere: if you’re a typical example of the sort of person inside the LP’s machinery (currently or historically), no wonder the party fails so miserably to capitalize on Americans’ dissatisfaction with government.

        On what basis do you characterize CK as a Trump supporter? Her comments are about one specific issue that she agrees with Trump on, and I’m pretty sure matches the official LP platform position as well. Hmm. Trump likes taco bowls. I like taco bowls. Apparently I’m a Trump supporter! I sure hope you don’t like taco bowls, Mr. Hihn. Or Diet Coke, for that matter.

        Note: if you’d taken a moment to follow CK’s profile link and scroll down her blog page for about 5 seconds, you’d see that she’s a Ron Paul supporter.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.