Trump’s Legendary State of the Union Address
Last night, President Trump left many surprised with his State of the Union address. Not only did 76% of Americans approve of his speech, but it resonated with divided members of Congress. He was not the only one who made an impression last night. The President’s chosen guests showed the human face for why border security is so important as well as the accomplishments of his administration and the promises he plans to keep.
In a crucial portion of the speech, Trump challenged the Congress before him to provide funding for construction of a border wall. He began by pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of his opponents: “No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards. Meanwhile,” he continued, “working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal immigration – reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net. Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate – it is cruel.”
But then, to bring home the point about the cost of illegal immigration, the president spoke of how he’s gotten to know “many wonderful Angel Moms, Dads, and families – no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache they have endured.”
And then he took it a step further, introducing his audience to an Angel Family: Debra Bissell, one of the four children of Gerald and Sharon David, who lost their lives just a few weeks ago in a murder allegedly committed by an illegal immigrant. Joining Debra in the First Lady’s box were her daughter Heather and granddaughter Madison. It was a powerful moment.
The president then pivoted from survivors of violence by illegal immigrants to the heroes who protect us from as much of that violence as they can – the brave men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency many Democrats now say they want to abolish.
Trump introduced ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez, who, Trump said, immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when he was a boy, and told his father when he was just eight years old that he wanted to become a Special Agent. As a special agent, he works to stop international sex trafficking, and the President quoted Elvin: “If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve done my job.” Elvin’s mission statement protecting women from horrific crimes is so powerful even the Congresswomen in white in the room who want to abolish ICE grudgingly had to stand. The president then threw the gauntlet at those Democrats when he asked Hernandez to stand, and then declared, “We will always support the brave men and women of Law Enforcement – and I pledge to you tonight that we will never abolish our heroes from ICE.”
The section of the speech dealing with illegal immigration and the president’s determination to win wall funding from the Congress was so good, in fact, that it made clear why he chose not to do something many critics had expected – he did not use the speech to invoke the National Emergencies Act of 1976.
In his closing, President Trump reminded everyone in front that they represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history. He reminded members of Congress of the greatness we have achieved and that we can continue to achieve. The room was silent as he spoke. Could this be a moment of clarity for the Democrats who are adamant about protecting only illegal immigrants? Could they come to an agreement on February 15 to allow funding for border security or will they continue to let partisan discord get in the way of the bigger picture? Only time will tell.