'In God We Trust': President Trump Delivers His First State of the Union Address
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WASHINGTON - In his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and the nation Tuesday night, President Donald Trump touched on the past year and his vision of to make America great again.
"Less than one 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," Trump said.
"Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission -- to make America great again for all Americans," he said.
Click the player above to watch President Trump's first State of the Union address and CBN News analysis.
Trump took a moment to recognize some American heroes: Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, firefighter David Dahlberg, and Congressman Steve Scalise.
"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," the president said.
"So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong," he said.
Trump also touched on the tax cuts.
"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," the president said.
"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," he continued.
"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," the president said.
In going over his list of accomplishments, Trump pointed out to the audience that the core of Obamacare is now through.
"We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare -- the individual mandate is now gone," the president said.
Talking about the success of American businesses, Trump spoke about what he called " The New American Moment."
"This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream," he said. "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."
The 45th President of the United States also brought up American patriotism.
"We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag," he said. "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," he said.
The president also introduced 12-year-old Preston Sharp, who has now placed 40,000 flags on veterans graves.
"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," he said.
Trump also spoke on the continuing need to honor America's military veterans.
"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," he said.
The president said he has ended the war on American energy and the war on clean coal and has helped the car makers in Detroit to rev their engines once again.
"Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States -- something we have not seen for decades," he explained. "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," Trump continued.
The president said one of his priorities for the year 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," he promised.
Trump also announced to the chamber that the era of economic surrender is over.
"From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal," he said. "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," the president added.
Trump also said it's 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?" he asked. "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," the president said. "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."
The president also mentioned the need for workforce development and job training. The need for vocation schools so future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential.
"And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave," he said to a round of applause from the chamber.
The president also introduced Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens, whose two teenage daughters -- Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens -- were brutally murdered by six members of the savage gang MS-13.
"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," the president said.
"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," he said. "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 president also made it a point to reach across the aisle to work with him to defend all Americans.
"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," he noted.
On immigration reform, the president touched on four points of his 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," he said.
According to the president, the second pillar of the plan 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," he explained.
"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," Trump continued.
"The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration," he listed. "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."
Trump said 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," he said.
"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," the president continued.
Trump pointed out that in 2016, 64,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, roughly 174 deaths per day.
"We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge," he said.
The president then introduced Ryan Holets, an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department, who along with his wife adopted a baby whose parents suffered from opioid addiction.
On the subject of defense, Trump asked Congress to fully fund the 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," he said.
The president also gave an update on the war against ISIS.
"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," Trump said.
The president also introduced Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck, who saved the life of Kenton Stacy while the pair were on a mission to clear buildings in Raqqa last November. Trump noted the sergeant was wearing his new Bronze Star with a "V" for valor.
Trump also said he was keeping another promise to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.
"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," the president said.
"Shortly afterward, 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," he said. "That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interest and only go to America's friends."
Trump also took a moment to address the people of Iran.
"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," he said.
On the subject of North Korea, the president said his administration a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent the country's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles that could threaten our homeland.
Trump told the story of Otto Warmbier and how he was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a 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.
The president then introduced Otto's Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier and pledged to honor Otto's memory with American resolve.
The president also took a moment to Mr. Ji Seong-ho. Seong-ho lost his legs to a train after passing out on its tracks while trying to steal food. He traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom.
"Seong-ho's story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom," he said.
Trump concluded his address by recognizing the heroes that live among us.
"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," he said. "But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation belong to them."
The president also reminded his audience of the American dream.
"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," he said.
"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," Trump continued.
"Our people will prosper. And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free," he said. "Thank you and God Bless America."
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