The State of the Union is a presidential address to Congress and the American public that takes place at the beginning of every year. This year’s address is important because this may be the last presidential year for Donald Trump’s office before the 2020 presidential elections.
As expected, President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, February 5th contained many revelations on the stance and opinions of the President. His words caused many different reactions, among these were outrage, cheers, and a general continuation of the current war going on between the Republicans and Democrats.
There were many notable events that happened, which have been thoroughly highlighted since their occurence. Even before the start of the event, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that she would not enable Trump’s actions with her presence. Furthermore, the address was introduced with two breeches of decorum, or courtesies. First off, when Trump handed a copy of his speech to both Vice President Pence and Speaker for the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, he turned away from the latter individual when she reached out to shake his hand. Following this up, when Pelosi introduced the President, she omitted the use of traditional language that it was her “honour” to introduce Trump.
Despite these initial obstacles, the speech progressed as expected. Trump, as many presidents have before, clearly outlined his plans for the upcoming presidential elections, making it clear to viewers that his re-election efforts would hinge entirely on the economic progression that happened during his term.
According to a BBC Factcheck, while many of his claims were true, some were doubtful and exaggerated at best. Many claims, specifically about the current economy and the cost of prescription drugs in the United States have been debunked. Current GDP growths are lesser than those during President Clinton’s and President Obama’s terms, showing how, while the economy is indeed in a positive state, it is in no way “the best it has ever been” as claimed in the President’s own words. Trump also stated that “Last year, for the first time in 51 years, the cost of prescription drugs actually went down.” However, this statement was debunked by Inma Hernandez, a pharmacy lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, who clarified that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was highly unlikely to include the costs of new or less common drugs, while commonly prescribed and available drugs dominated a larger section of the sample size.
Despite these misinformative claims, many were proven to be true, such as the statements made on unemployment and the employment of minority groups in the nation. While both claims were true, with both total and minority employment rates dropping to the lowest in the past half century, the success in overall employment could be attributed mostly to President Obama’s efforts, who made a much more impressive comeback after the recessions which were rampant right before and at the beginning of his first term.
Of course, it isn’t an event featuring the current leader without some controversy. During the speech, the father of a school shooting victim shouted his objections and was consequently removed from the room when the President started talking about gun rights. Apart from the friction between Pelosi and Trump, both Democrats and Republicans attempted to aggravate the others through quite literally “childish” methods. Both parties showed the most aggravating possible reactions to each statement by Trump, which included either cheering or showing no reaction to a certain policy that they did or did not agree upon.
Yet another potentially aggravating action from the President was the rewarding of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh has been a pro-tobacco individual for years past. In 2015 he claimed during a rant that “Smokers aren’t killing anybody,” largely downplaying the negative effects of tobacco and promoting its use. However, during the first week of February 2020, he announced that he had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. It would be an understatement to say that it is rather unsettling to see a man who sold himself to tobacco is now suffering from it, and is being awarded by the President for reasons unknown.
All in all, the State of the Union Address went as expected. While it wasn’t complete chaos, it did involve clashes and friction from both Democrats and Republicans, which was expected, and did not deviate far from Trump’s status quo.
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