Trump’s Speech: The Main Points

02.02.2018

On the 30th of January 2018, Donald Trump spoke to both chambers of Congress his State of the Union Address, a tradition that dates from the times of George Washington.

The main message

Trump declared that the US is living through a “new moment in its history”. In many ways, this is true; experts note, that this is a rare case where the ideas that are currently being circulated are neither Democrat nor Republic. This was a mix of plans, ideas, and directives that were borrowed from both parties.

“In general, he [Trump] tried to show himself to be a real man of state, and he has succeeded to a large extent”, - as The American Conservative writes about the president’s speech.

The economy: one of the main subjects

The lion’s share of the speech was dedicated to urgent issues of an economic or social nature. Trump tried to convey information about positive changes. He promised that Americans would start to feel a lowering in taxes (which is related to a new reform), see the lowering of corporate taxes, and also see changes in industry: to be more precise, the transfer of such giants as Apple and Chrysler to the United States.

“The end has come for the era of economic capitulation”, - Trump emphasised. Among other, the problems of healthcare and job security were touched on.

External threats

Trump marked out Russia, China, Iran, and the DPRK as competitors. According to the president, Moscow and Beijing are “challenging” the United States.

“All over the world, we are facing pariah regimes, terrorist groups, and competitors like Russia and China, who are challenging our national interests, our economy, and our values”, - president Trump said.

But it is important to note, that Trump tried to avoid the subject of Russia and to not go into too much detail. He marked Russia as a competitor, but he spoke neither of a serious threat nor of close cooperation. This is mainly related to the continuing investigation into his ‘Russian ties’, and also to daily accusations of him being a ‘Kremlin agent’.

The Middle East

On the issue of pacifying the Middle East and the terrorist threat, Trump affirmed that the US are not planning on leaving Syria.

“We will continue our struggle as long as Islamic State* is not defeated”, - the president emphasised.

Militarism

Trump reaffirmed his military line.

“When we resist these [abovementioned – ed.] dangers, we know, that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and power without equal is our strongest defence”, - Trump said.

He emphasised, that he is turning to congress with a request to fully finance the US Armed Forces, having mentioned the need for modernisation and rebuilding the country’s nuclear potential. “With the hope of never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it would deter any acts of aggression”, - Trump explained.

The American leader added, that he has hopes for a future in which countries unite and liquidate their nuclear arsenals. However, as we have seen in the last year, the US is developing its nuclear capabilities.

Anti-Obama

In many ways, Trump is trying to distance himself from ex-president Barack Obama. This includes keeping Guantanamo Bay operational, whereas Obama planned to close the facility. Trump declared in his speech, that the former administration “allowed an error” by releasing dangerous terrorists.

Israel

Trump also did not forget to say a few good words about Israel, a country that has become a priority US ally in the last year. The president promised in his speech to punish those countries who criticised the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to stop financing them.

Migrants

One of Trump’s real achievements is a record number of immigrants since 2001. However, he has not (yet) built the Wall on the border with Mexico. We must consider, that when Trump began his tenure, a study showed that every eight US citizen is a first-generation immigrant, which is why Trump’s achievement is significant.

In his speech, Trump said, that in the next few months he will propose a project to Congress for a reform of the immigration system. According to the document, the Republicans will concede a possibility to legalise illegal immigrants who have come to the country at a young age; however, the Wall will be built anyway. He also promised to cancel the current immigration lottery (because of which 50 thousand immigrants from “poorly represented” countries arrive in the US each year) as well as immigration regulation.

Translated from the Russian by V.A.V.