Feb 112019
 
 
The Honorable U.S. President Trump’s 2017-18 Accomplishments
 
* Almost 4 million jobs created since the November 8, 2016 election with 2.8 million jobs added in 2018.
 
* More Americans are now employed than ever recorded before in our history.
 
* We have created more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since my election.
 
* Manufacturing jobs growing at the fastest rate in more than THREE DECADES.
 
 
* Economic growth last quarter hit 4.2 percent.
 
* New unemployment claims recently hit a 49-year low.
 
* Median household income has hit highest level ever recorded.
 
 
* African-American unemployment has recently achieved the lowest rate ever recorded.
 
* Hispanic-American unemployment is at the lowest rate ever recorded.
 
* Asian-American unemployment recently achieved the lowest rate ever recorded.
 
* Women’s unemployment recently reached the lowest rate in 65 years.
 
* Youth unemployment has recently hit the lowest rate in nearly half a century.
 
*Lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for Americans without a high school diploma.
 
 
* Under Trump’s Administration, veterans’ unemployment recently reached its lowest rate in nearly 20 years.
 
* Almost 3.9 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps since the election.
 
* The Pledge to America’s Workers has resulted in employers committing to train more than 4 million Americans. We are committed to VOCATIONAL education.
 
* 95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future—the highest ever.
 
* Retail sales surged last month, up another 6 percent over last year.
 
* Signed the biggest package of tax cuts and reforms in history. After tax cuts, over $300 billion poured back in to the U.S. in the first quarter alone.
 
 
* As a result of our tax bill, small businesses will have the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years.
Helped win U.S. bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
 
* Helped win U.S.-Mexico-Canada’s united bid for 2026 World Cup.
 
* Opened ANWR and approved Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.
 
* Record number of regulations eliminated.
 
* Enacted regulatory relief for community banks and credit unions.
 
*Obamacare individual mandate penalty GONE.
 
* Donald J. Trump’s Administration is providing more affordable healthcare options for Americans through association health plans and short-term duration plans.
 
* Last month, the FDA approved more affordable generic drugs than ever before in history. And thanks to our efforts, many drug companies are freezing or reversing planned price increases.
 
* We reformed the Medicare program to stop hospitals from overcharging low-income seniors on their drugs—saving seniors hundreds of millions of dollars this year alone.
 
 
* Signed Right-To-Try legislation.
 
* Secured $6 billion in NEW funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
 
* We have reduced high-dose opioid prescriptions by 16 percent during my first year in office.
 
* Signed VA Choice Act and VA Accountability Act, expanded VA tele-health services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
 
* Increased our coal exports by 60 percent; U.S. oil production recently reached all-time high.
 
* United States is a net natural gas exporter for the first time since 1957.
 
* Withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord.
 
 
* Cancelled the illegal, anti-coal, so-called Clean Power Plan.
 
* Secured record $700 billion in military funding; $716 billion next year.
 
* NATO allies are spending $69 billion more on defense since 2016.
 
* Process has begun to make the Space Force the 6th branch of the Armed Forces.
 
* Confirmed more circuit court judges than any other new administration.
 
* Confirmed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
 
* Withdrew from the horrible, one-sided Iran Deal.
 
 
—> * Moved U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. <—
 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, right, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin attend the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. Amid deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border, President Donald Trump’s top aides and supporters on Monday celebrated the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem as a campaign promised fulfilled. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

 
 
* Protecting Americans from terrorists with the Travel Ban, upheld by Supreme Court.
 
* Issued Executive Order to keep open Guantanamo Bay.
 
* Concluded a historic U.S.-Mexico Trade Deal to replace NAFTA. And negotiations with Canada are underway as we speak.
 

President Donald Trump arrives to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 
* Reached a breakthrough agreement with the E.U. to increase U.S. exports.
 
* Imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum to protect our national security.
 
* Imposed tariffs on China in response to China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and their chronically abusive trade practices.
 
* Net exports are on track to increase by $59 billion this year.
Improved vetting and screening for refugees, and switched focus to overseas resettlement.
 
 
* We have begun BUILDING THE WALL. Republicans want STRONG BORDERS and NO CRIME. Democrats want OPEN BORDERS which equals MASSIVE CRIME.
 
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Feb 092019
 

Below is President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address entitled “Choose Greatness.”

__________

“Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans: We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential.

As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans.

Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as TWO PARTIES but as ONE NATION.

Peace, Health and Sovereignty for America

The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican Agenda or a Democrat Agenda. It is the Agenda of the American People.

Many of us campaigned on the same core promises:

  • to defend American jobs and demand FAIR TRADE for American workers;
  • to rebuild and revitalize our nation’s infrastructure;
  • to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs;
  • to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and
  • to pursue a foreign policy that puts America’s interests first.

There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it.

Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our COUNTRY.

This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the Majesty of America’s Mission, and the Power of American Pride.

In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Great Crusade — the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II.

On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, fifteen thousand young American men jumped from the sky and sixty thousand more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny.

Here with us tonight are three (3) of those heroes:

  1. Private First Class Joseph Reilly,
  2. Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and
  3. Sergeant Herman Zeitchik.

Gentlemen, we salute you.

In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon.

Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin.

This year American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.

In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, and redefined the middle class standard of living for the entire world to see.

President Donald Trump arrives to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Creating a New Standard of Living for America’s Sovereignty

Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this Great American Adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century.

An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach.

We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our Middle Class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.

But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.

Together, we can break decades of political stalemate.

We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future.

The decision is ours to make.

We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.

Tonight, I ask you to Choose GREATNESS.

  • Over the last two years, my administration has moved with urgency and historic speed to confront problems neglected by leaders of BOTH parties over many decades.
  • In just over two years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom — a boom that has rarely been seen before.
  • We have created 5.3 million new jobs, and more importantly, we’ve added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs –something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.
  • Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else.
  • Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.
  • The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world.
  • Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century.
  • African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.
  • Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low.
  • More people are working now than at any time in our history — 157 million.
  • We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.
  • We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.
  • We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty — and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed RIGHT TO TRY.
  • My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure.
  • Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to our historic reductions in taxes and regulations.
  • We have unleashed a revolution in American Energy — the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world.
  • And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.
  • After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day.

Members of Congress: The State of our Union is Strong.

Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.

On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone — almost double what was expected.

An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.

If there is going to be peace and legislation, then there can’t be war and investigation.

It just doesn’t work that way!

We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad.

This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate — some after years of waiting.

The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and to our country.

Now is the time for bipartisan action.

Believe it or not, we have already proven that it is possible.

In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new Farm Bill, historic VA reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.

And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reform.

Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson.

I was deeply moved.

In 1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender.

Over the next two decades, she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path.

She had a big impact on that prison population — and far beyond.

Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing — and the need to remedy this injustice.

She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.

In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence –when I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the right thing — Alice is here with us tonight.

Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny.

Inspired by stories like Alice’s, my administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law.

This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community.

The First Step Act gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens.

Now, states across the country are following our lead.

America is a nation that believes in redemption.

We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee.

In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses.

Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates.

Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act.

Matthew, on behalf of All Americans: WELCOME HOME.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 05: President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump’s second State of the Union address was postponed one week due to the partial government shutdown. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Secure Our Southern Border

Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis.

Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland, and secure our Southern Border.

Now is the time for Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers OUT OF BUSINESS.

As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States.

We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection.

I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our Southern Border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught.

This is a MORAL issue.

The lawless state of our Southern Border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans.

We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.

This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws.

LEGAL immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways.

I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.

Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of LOVE and DEVOTION to our fellow citizens and to our country.

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, working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration — 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.

1 in 3 women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north.

Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.

Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities — including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.

The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in at least 20 different American states, and they almost all come through our Southern Border.

Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City.

We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they’re going to keep streaming back in.

Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.

I’ve gotten to know many wonderful Angel Moms, Dads and families –no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache they have endured.

Here tonight is Debra Bissell.

Just three weeks ago, Debra’s parents, Gerald and Sharon, were burglarized and shot to death in their Reno, Nevada home by an illegal alien.

They were in their eighties and are survived by 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.

Also here tonight are Gerald and Sharon’s granddaughter, Heather, and great-granddaughter Madison.

To Debra, Heather, Madison, please stand: few can understand your pain.

But I will never forget, and I will fight for the memory of Gerald and Sharon, that it should never happen again.

Not one more American life should be lost because our nation failed to control its very dangerous border.

In the last two years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.

We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes: ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez.

When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic.

At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent.

Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking.

Elvin says: “If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve done my job.”

Thanks to his work and that of his colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from horror and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars.

Special Agent Hernandez please stand: 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.

My administration has sent to Congress a common-sense proposal to end the crisis on our Southern Border.

It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry.

This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier — not just a simple concrete wall.

It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.

San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in the country.

In response, a strong security wall was put in place.

This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.

The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country,and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.

Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.

Simply put, WALLS WORK and WALLS SAVE LIVES.

So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America SAFE.

As we work to defend our people’s safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace.

No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year.

All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before — and exactly one century after Congress passed the Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than ever before.

As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first ever government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.

Square Deal on Fair Trade with America

To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount – reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.

We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.

Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion dollars of Chinese goods — and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars.

But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us — I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen.

I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China.

But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA.

I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other states whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA.

For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal.

But no one ever TRIED — until now.

Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — or USMCA — will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with the four beautiful words: MADE IN THE USA.

Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.

Rebuilding America’s Crumbling Infrastructure

Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure. I know that Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill –and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future.

This is not an option.

This is a necessity.

Reforms of America’s Healthcare System

The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs — and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

Already, as a result of my administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.

But we must do more. It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place.

This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it. I am asking Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American Patients.

We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.

No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American Freedom.

In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach.

My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.

Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 05: First lady Melania Trump with Grace Eline and Joshua Trump, special guests of President Donald Trump, attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump’s second State of the Union address was postponed one week due to the partial government shutdown. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Tonight I am also asking you to join me in another fight that all Americans can get behind: the fight against childhood cancer.

Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10 year old girl, Grace Ee-line.

Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself.

Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Immediately, she began radiation treatment.

At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 dollars for the fight against cancer.

When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes, as she hung up a poster that read: “Last day of Keemo.”

Grace — you are an inspiration to us all. [PAUSE]

Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades.

My budget will ask Congress for $500 million dollars over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.

To help support working parents, the time has come to pass SCHOOL CHOICE for America’s children.

I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leaveso that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days.

Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.

These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.

And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.

To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.

And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

Sixth grade student Joshua Trump (R) attends the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 5, 2019. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

America’s Sovereignty and National Security

The final part of my agenda is to protect America’s National Security.

Over the last two years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military –with $700 billion dollars last year and $716 billion dollars this year.

We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share.

For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO — but now we have secured a $100 billion dollar increase in defense spending from NATO allies.

As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System.

Under my Administration, we will never apologize for advancing America’s interests.

For example, decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities.

While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms.

That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.

Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can’t –in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.

As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months.

If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea.

Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one.

Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Gwydo.

We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

Principled Realism

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.

America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control.

We are BORN FREE, and we will STAY FREE.

Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will NEVER be a socialist country.

One of the most complex set of challenges we face is in the Middle East.

Our approach is based on “Principled Realism — not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress.

For this reason, my Administration recognized the TRUE capital of Israel — and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American Heroes have given their lives.

More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded.

We have spent more than $7 trillion dollars in the Middle East.

As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach.

Great nations do not fight endless wars.

When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria.

Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.

Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.

I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Our troops have fought with unmatched valor — and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.

In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban.

As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism.

We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement — but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for PEACE.

Above all, friend and foe alike must never doubt this nation’s power and will to defend our people.

18 years ago, terrorists attacked the USS Cole — and last month American Forces killed one of the leaders of the attack.

We are honored to be joined tonight by Tom Wibberley, whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was one of the 17 sailors we tragically lost.

Tom: we vow to always remember the heroes of the USS Cole.

My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime

in Iran.

To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.

And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants Death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish People.

We must never ignore the vile poison of Anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed.

With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.

Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an Anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer.

Timothy has just had his 12th surgery — but he made the trip to be here with us tonight.

Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil.

Tonight we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet.

He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began.

But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall — more than 7 decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps.

Today is Judah’s 81st birthday.

Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train, and told they were going to another camp.

Suddenly the train screeched to a halt.

A soldier appeared.

Judah’s family braced for the worst.

Then, his father cried out with joy: “It’s the AMERICANS.”

A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau [Dah-kow] Concentration Camp.

He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks.

“To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.”

I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War.

One of them was Herman Zeitchick.

But there is more to Herman’s story.

A year after he stormed the Beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American Soldiers who helped liberate Dachau [Dah-kow].

He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth.

Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight –seated side-by-side, here in the home of American Freedom.

Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire nation, and is very much appreciated, thank you very much.

When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war.

They did not know if they would survive the hour.

They did not know if they would grow old.

But they knew that America had to prevail.

Their cause was this nation, and generations yet unborn.

Why did they do it?

They did it for AMERICA — they did it for us.

Everything that has come since –our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress toward equality and justice — ALL of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

Think of this Capitol –think of this very Chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure Civil Rights, to face down an evil empire.

Here tonight we have legislators from across this magnificent Republic.

You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California.

Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history.

What will we do with this moment?

How will we be remembered?

I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us!

Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead.

Our most exciting journeys still await.

Our biggest victories are still to come.

We have not yet BEGUN TO DREAM.

We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them.

We must choose whether we squander our inheritance — or whether we proudly declare that WE ARE AMERICANS:

We do the incredible.

We defy the impossible.

We conquer the unknown.

This is the time to re-ignite the American Imagination.

This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star.

This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.

This is our future –our fate — and our choice to make.

I am asking you to CHOOSE GREATNESS.

No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.

We must keep America FIRST in our hearts.

We must keep Freedom alive in our souls.

And we must always keep FAITH in America’s Destiny –that One Nation, Under God, must be the HOPE and the PROMISE and the LIGHT and the GLORY among all the nations of the world!

Thank you. God Bless You, God Bless America, and Goodnight!”

**END**

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Jan 312018
 

US President Donald Trump listens to applause before giving the State of the Union address at the Capitol in Washington. (Photo Credit: CNN)

President Donald Trump first State of the Union Message on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 is “America is Back!

“THE GREAT AMERICAN COMEBACK! America now has a President that stands with our vets, stands for our flag, has turned our economy around, and is making AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” – Donald Trump Jr.

Here’s the President’s speech as delivered and released by the White House: 

“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.
 
 
New American Heroes.
 
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.
 
 
A Safe, Strong, and Proud America.
 
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.
 
 
Law and Order and Justice.
 
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.
 
 
Trump’s Four-Pillar Immigration Framework.
 
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 pillarfully 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 pillarends 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.
 

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else. For it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man, because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But, this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American … There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization. Just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … And, we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.” – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, 1907 

 
 
Opioid and Drug Addiction Crisis in America.
 
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.
 
 
Restoring Our Strength and Standing Abroad.
 
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.
 
 
WASHINGTON (Oct. 7, 2010) Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert introduces Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2nd Class Kenton Stacy as the USO Sailor of the Year at the 2010 USO Gala. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)
 
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.
 
 
Fred and Cindy Warmbier broke down in tears when Trump spoke about their son Otto Warmbier, who died after he was imprisoned in North Korea. (Photo Credit: ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES)
 
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.
 
 
American People are ‘Making America Great Again.’
 
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.”
 
 
__________
 

 

Representative Joe Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) prepared remarks for the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, as delivered:

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is a privilege to join you tonight.

We are here in Fall River, Massachusetts – a proud American city, built by immigrants.

From textiles to robots, this is a place that knows how to make great things.

The students with us this evening in the autoshop at Diman Regional Technical School carry on that rich legacy.

Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms. But people here are tough. They fight for each other. They pull for their city. 

It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union.

This is a difficult task. Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.

We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward.

A government that struggles to keep itself open.

Russia knee-deep in our democracy.

An all-out war on environmental protection.

A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day.

Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets.

Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations. Targeting our safest, sacred places.

And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right. This is not who we are. 
It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics.

But it’s far bigger than that. This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.

For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure.

By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size.

Not to mention, the gender of your spouse. The country of your birth. The color of your skin. The God of your prayers.

Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count. In the eyes of our law and our leaders, our God and our government.

That is the American promise.

But today that promise is being broken. By an Administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.

They are turning American life into a zero-sum game.

Where, in order for one to win, another must lose.

Where we can guarantee America’s safety if we slash our safety net.

We can extend healthcare to Mississippi if we gut it in Massachusetts.

We can cut taxes for corporations today if we raise them for families tomorrow.

We can take care of sick kids if we sacrifice Dreamers.

We are bombarded with one false choice after another:

Coal miners or single moms. Rural communities or inner cities. The coast or the heartland.

As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh and the teacher in Tulsa and the daycare worker in Birmingham are somehow bitter rivals, rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged for those at the top.

As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than the parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of opioid addiction.

So here is the answer Democrats offer tonight: we choose both. We fight for both. Because the strongest, richest, greatest nation in the world shouldn’t leave any one behind.

We choose a better deal for all who call this country home.

We choose the living wage, paid leave and affordable child care your family needs to survive.

We choose pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won’t rust away, and good education you can afford.

We choose a health care system that offers mercy, whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction.

We choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices AND brave enough to admit that top CEOs making 300 times the average worker is not right.

We choose Fall River.

We choose the thousands of American communities whose roads aren’t paved with power or privilege, but with honest effort, good faith, and the resolve to build something better for their kids.

That is our story. It began the day our Founding Fathers and Mothers set sail for a New World, fleeing oppression and intolerance.

It continued with every word of our Independence – the audacity to declare that all men are created equal. An imperfect promise for a nation struggling to become a more perfect union.

It grew with every suffragette’s step, every Freedom Riders voice, every weary soul we welcomed to our shores.

And to all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: ‘Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar.’

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 28: U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) attends a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump’s first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.

America, we carry that story on our shoulders.

You swarmed Washington last year to ensure no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child’s life.

You proudly marched together last weekend – thousands deep — in the streets of Las Vegas and Philadelphia and Nashville.

You sat high atop your mom’s shoulders and held a sign that read: “Build a wall and my generation will tear it down.”

You bravely say, me too. You steadfastly say, black lives matter.

You wade through flood waters, battle hurricanes, and brave wildfires and mudslides to save a stranger.

You fight your own, quiet battles every single day.

You drag your weary bodies to that extra shift so your families won’t feel the sting of scarcity.

You leave loved ones at home to defend our country overseas, or patrol our neighborhoods overnight.

You serve. You rescue. You help. You heal.

That – more than any law or leader, any debate or disagreement – that is what drives us toward progress.

Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.

Politicians can be cheered for the promises they make. Our country will be judged by the promises we keep.

THAT is the measure of our character. That’s who we are.

Out of many. One.

Ladies and gentlemen, have faith: The state of our union is hopeful, resilient, enduring.

Thank you, God Bless you and your families, and God Bless the United States of America.”

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