President Trump delivered an election-year State of the Union address last night (February 4th) that made the case for why he should get a second term, touting his accomplishments over the past three years, particularly focused on the strong economy and economic statistics such as low unemployment. He said, "In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America's destiny."
While the 78-minute speech took place with Trump having been impeached, and the day before his expected acquittal, the president never mentioned it. But the chilly atmosphere between him and Democrats was apparent, with Trump not shaking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hand when she offered it to him from behind him on the dais just before the start of his speech, Democrats staying even more in their seats than usual in not applauding much of what Trump said while Republicans frequently leapt to their feet and chanted "Four More Years," and in a final, much-noticed move, Pelosi ripping up her copy of Trump's speech as soon as he finished delivering it. Republicans called that disrespectful, but when asked about it, Pelosi said it was, quote, "the courteous thing to do considering the alternative."
On other topics, Trump spoke about new trade agreements he'd negotiated and the border wall being built, while blasting "sanctuary" cities and states as he talked about cases in which people in the country illegally killed Americans. He spoke about topics important to his evangelical base, such as protecting "religious liberties" and wanting to ban late-term abortion. And in a preview of attacks that he will lob against the Democratic presidential candidates and eventual party nominee, he condemned socialism. After introducing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido in the gallery as the "true and legitimate president of Venezuela," he stated, "Socialism destroys nations." Later, referring to "Medicare for All," which some Democratic candidates support, he promised to not allow a, quote, "socialist takeover of our health care system."
The were several TV-style moments involving people sitting in the gallery with First Lady Melania Trump. In one, Trump had Melania present the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who just announced he has advanced lung cancer. In another he surprised a military wife and family with the return of a soldier from overseas. And he surprised a young Philadelphia girl with an Opportunity Scholarship to attend a school of her choosing.
- About 10 Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, didn't attend the speech, and a few others walked out during it in protest..