President Donald Trump delivered a coherent outline of his campaign promises Tuesday to a joint session of Congress, mapping out a course for his short-term policy agenda, which includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Still, the address could easily have been dubbed a State of the Union because Trump appeared as comfortable as ever and confident that America is on the right path.
Trump began his night by addressing the “recent evils” and acts of vandalism against Jewish properties in Philadelphia and other areas.
“I’m here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength,” he said. “A new chapter of American greatness is now beginning — international pride is sweeping across our nation.”
He spoke about the ills of violence in the inner cities and all America’s demand that it must put its citizens first while calling education the “the civil rights issue of our time.”
“We’ve financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit,” Trump said. “To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to form a task force on reducing violent crime.”
The president said he’s begun to construct a great wall along the country’s southern borders and “bad ones are going out as I speak.”
He said his administration has begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials and he’s taken “a historic” effort to massively reduce job crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency.
“We are imposing a new rule which mandates that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated,” Trump said, noting that he’s going to stop the regulations that threaten the future and livelihood of the nation’s coal miners.
“Since my election, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Spring, Softbank, Lockheed, Wal-Mart, and many others have announced they will invest billions and billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs,” Trump said.
Leading up to the address, there was a bit of chaos on Capitol Hill, as Democratic New York Rep. Eliot Engel vowed not to greet the president because of policy differences.
In a nod to the suffrage movement, Democratic women lawmakers wore white to the address.
Also, several other Democrats reportedly toyed with the idea of not even showing up while longtime Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters announced she was boycotting the address because she “couldn’t contain enthusiasm” against the president.
Trump continued a theme that’s become all too familiar, as he blasted his predecessor Barack Obama for various “failures.”
“Tonight, I’m also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs and at the same time provide better health care,” Trump said. “Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for our country. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we are going to do.”
“We should give out state governments the flexibility they need with Medicaid and Medicare to make sure no one is left out,” he said, adding allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines would bring costs down and provide far better coverage options.
The president also touched heavily on another of his controversial executive actions involving immigration, promising again to proceed with tough immigration policies, which he said is an economic issue facing the nation.
Among other promises, Trump said the administration is developing “historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone,” along with “massive tax relief for the middle class.”
“The time for small thinking is over, the time for trivial fights is behind us, we just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts, the bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls, and the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action,” he said. “From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations not burdened by our fears.”
He also vowed that his budget will boost funding for veterans.
“The U.S. cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside of America,” Trump said. “We cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”