On Monday Feb. 4, President Trump gave his third State of the Union Address, which recapped his accomplishments during his presidency, reiterated his administration’s goals and served as a statement of his campaign platform for the upcoming presidential election.
A complete transcript of the speech can be found at Politico.com.
Trump heavily focused on the American economy during the address, rehashing his efforts as president to “[move] rapidly to revive the U.S. economy, slashing a number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements,” according to his speech.
During the Trump administration, Trump said 7 million jobs were created in the US and the unemployment rate reached the lowest it’s been in the past half century, among other statements. Trump focused on the unemployment rate as one of his major achievements and went on to state that demographic unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, women, veterans, disabled Americans, workers who did not graduate from high school and young people in general have each dropped.
“There are plenty of economic talking points for Trump to highlight,” Business Insider reported following the address. “The unemployment rate is at its lowest level in 50 years, financial markets are hovering near record highs, and the administration is celebrating back-to-back trade deals with its North American neighbors and China.”
However, Business Insider also reported that while Trump’s administration has bolstered the economy, a few clarifications are necessary. Among them are the claims that the US economy is the “best it has ever been.”
“In the past three years, annual GDP growth has not hit the 3% target Trump pledged to deliver,” Business Insider specified. “But GDP has expanded at rates well above that mark, including by over 4% in the 1990s and by nearly 9% in the 1950s.” Business Insider also wrote that while Trump’s national unemployment rate is 3.5%, 1953 saw a 2.5% rate. From 2013-2016, 8 million jobs were also created, a number larger than Trump’s 7 million during his past three years in office.
The emphasis Trump placed on the “blue collar boom” happening under his leadership–a term Politico expects to join his arsenal of campaign slogans–was a major theme of his speech.
The new concept of an “opportunity zone” was also discussed, defined by the US Economic Development Administration as “an economically-distressed community where private investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for capital gain tax incentives.” Opportunity zones are designed to encourage investors to invest in low-income neighborhoods. Trump explained that opportunity zones are effective by citing a veteran who struggled with drug addiction before finding a job with a construction company investing in his area, allowing him to get back on his feet.
Trump also replaced NAFTA with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which “expanded intellectual property protections and provisions for digital trade, a sector that has burgeoned since NAFTA was originally negotiated [in 1994],” NBC News said of the modified trade agreement. “USMCA also opens up the Canadian market to American dairy products, an element on which Trump focused when touting how the deal will benefit farm states,” NBC said.
Trump also advocated for the tariffs imposed on trade with China and their role in helping the US discuss plans with China that will protect American interests.
Aside from the economic components of the speech, Trump talked of the dictatorship in Venezuela.
“The United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro,” Trump said. “Please take this message back, that all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom.”
Trump touted the military and further rehashed his anti-socialist, anti-left-wing sentiment throughout the speech. He advocated for price transparency in health care and emphasized private insurance over “a socialist takeover of our health care system.” He shared his administration’s movements to subside the opioid epidemic, force lower prescription drug prices, and institute funding for cancer and other diseases, ultimately declaring that the AIDS epidemic will subside within the next decade in America.
Trump finished his speech with talk about lowering crime rates, linking crime to “criminal aliens” and the continued battle surrounding illegal immigration in the US. Illegal border crossings decreased 75% since May 2019, he said, through working with Central American governments and Mexico.
A few statements toward the end of the address included Trump reaffirming his beliefs in prayer in schools, anti-abortion, supporting the right to bear arms, setting a goal that America be the first to reach Mars, soothing relations among Middle-Eastern nations and ending American wars in the region, and “combatting radical Islamic terrorists” on a domestic level.