I skipped reviewing the State of the Union speech last year, so I thought I’d give it a try this year, since I have to be awake for something else anyway.
The official White House transcript wasn’t up yet when I started this, so I’m using the Vox rush transcript of President Trump’s notes. It’s a little messy, so I’ve cleaned it up a little here and there and reformatted it for readability. I also removed some of the applause notes, since they only get in the way..
Thank you very much madam speaker, 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, gathered in this great chamber, hoping we will govern not as two parties, but as one nation.
And so begins the usual Call to Unity. The people in power always like to call for unity, because “unity” sounds like a good thing. It’s a positive note. But what they always mean is unity behind their agenda.
[…] This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America’s vision and the power of American pride.
In June we marked 75 years since the start of what general Dwight Eisenhower called “the great crusade,” the allied liberation of Europe in world war II. On d-day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the skies, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea to save our civilization from tyranny.
At this point, he introduces three people who were involved in that action. I’ve always found the presence of special guests to be cheap trick to bring drama to a tedious speech. I’m pretty sure we have Bill Clinton to blame for this. In any case, I’m going to skip the guests.
An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within reach. We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our middle class 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.
Am I crazy, or is “revenge, resistance and retribution” a reference to the Mueller investigation and they way his opponents call themselves “the resistance”? Weird thing to put in the State of the Union speech if it is…
Together we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge all 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.
Yeah, no. Like “unity” calls for “greatness” always sound like a good thing, but “national greatness” has been a Republican talking point for decades. It’s their go-to justification for giant, expensive government initiatives. I’ll take gridlock please.
Over the last two years, my administration has moved with a 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. There has been nothing like it. We have created 5.3 million new jobs, and importantly, added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs, something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.
The boom has been going on for close to 10 years. Obama claimed credit for it, and now Trump is claiming credit for it. But it’s mostly the recovery from the Great Recession that hit at the end of the Bush presidency.
We aren’t just getting started. We are wrapping up. The recovery is about over, unemployment is at its lowest in decades, and even labor force participation seems to be recovering. I wouldn’t be surprised to see slower growth and a bit of a downturn in some economic numbers as the economy runs out of room for the boom. (For the record, that wouldn’t be Trump’s fault any more than the recovery is.)
Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue-collar workers, who I promise to fight for. They are growing 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. Not even close. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century. African-American, Hispanic American, and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.
Remember all this stuff about how great the economy is. It will come up later.
[…] And to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed very importantly, Right to Try.
I probably ought to give Trump and the Republicans credit for Right to Try. I think letting critically ill people try experimental therapies is a good idea, providing they are properly informed of the risks. But the devil is in the details, and I just don’t know enough about the details of this legislation to be sure.
My administration has cut more regulations in a short period of 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. And we have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.
This is another thing that Trump has inherited. The trend towards increasing energy independence has been going on for at least a decade, driven by technology and the economics of fossil fuels.
After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world. Our military is the most powerful on Earth, by far, and America — America is again winning each and every day. Members of Congress, the state of our union is strong.
Is Trump taking credit for American military might? That’s something else he’s inherited. The United States has been the undisputed military heavyweight champion since the old Soviet Union collapsed. And we were probably #1 even when they were at the top of their game.
Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before. Friday it was announced we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone, almost double the number 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 in legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just does not work that way.
Yeah, he’s saying the Mueller investigation is a threat to American greatness…
[…] And just weeks ago, all parties united for groundbreaking criminal justice reform. They said it couldn’t be done.
Kudos for criminal justice reform. It wasn’t a lot, but it wasn’t nothing.
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, nonviolent drug offender. Over the next 22 years, 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 total injustice. She served almost that 22 years, and had expected to be in prison for the remainder of her life. In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence.
Kudos again. And Kudos to Kim Kardashian West for being one of Trump’s friends who brought this to his attention. Seriously.
Inspired by stories like Alice’s, my administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law. Big deal. That is a big deal.
This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community. The first step act gives nonviolent offenders the chance to reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. Now, states across the country are following our lead. America is a nation that believes in redemption.
That was a nice bit. And now we come to the alarmism part of the speech…
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 very dangerous 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 3750 troops to our southern border to prepare for this tremendous onslaught.
Oh my God. “Tremendous onslaught!” We’re talking about, what? Maybe ten thousand people total in these caravans? Something like a million people cross our borders every day. We have individual office buildings that hold as many people as are in these caravans. Seven times that many people were at the Superbowl. This is not a threat.
I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever,
— this is not shown by anything else you’ve ever said or done —
Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal immigration, reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools, hospitals that are so crowded you can’t get in, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.
Almost none of that is true.
One in three 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.
All of this happens because our immigration laws make it so hard for people to get in legally. (Except for the sex trafficking, which almost never happens in real life.) Make immigration simple and easy, and these problems will go away.
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.
This has nothing to do with immigration. It’s just how prohibition works. Force a product onto the black market and quality control suffers, often with deadly results. Also, those drugs cross the border because Americans want them. Nobody is forcing Americans to use drugs.
The savage gang MS 13 now operates in at least 20 different American states and they almost all come through our southern border.
Mara Salvatrucha actually started here in the United States and spread to other countries in the Americas later, but go ahead…
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 are going to keep streaming right back in. Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.
Year after year, Americans are murdered by other Americans too. Basically, if you live in the U.S., you’re really only likely to be murdered by someone else who lives in the U.S., which includes illegal immigrants and gang members. There’s no evidence that immigrants (legal or not) are more murderous than Americans in general.
We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes, ice special agent Elvin Hernandez. […] Thanks to his work work and that his incredible colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from the horror of this terrible situation and more than 1500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars.
There’s no way those numbers are right. I don’t have sources handy, but 300 is probably more than half the total number of actual sex trafficking cases filed in the entire U.S. in a year. I doubt he could find that many real trafficking victims even if he worked for a decade. Even the massive multi-agency National Johns Suppression sting operations sometimes come up completely empty when it comes to human trafficking. I suspect someone is counting as human trafficking things that aren’t really human trafficking.
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, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.
Walls work locally. If you put up a wall in an area where people have been walking through, they will stop walking through in that area. They can just cross someplace else. For under $500, they can fly to Canada and cross into the United States across the longest undefended border in the world. Or they can enter the U.S. on a tourist visa and never leave.
(I’m pretty sure El Paso was always a fairly safe city, but I’m too lazy to look it up.)
(Also, how is that steel-slat fence supposed to stop drug smuggling? I’m no expert, but those gaps look large enough to pass bricks of heroin between them.)
To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount — reversing decades of calamitous trade policies. So bad. 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.
They aren’t stealing our jobs and wealth. They are trading with us. We buy their stuff because we want to. Saying that China is stealing from us is saying we’re too stupid to know what’s good for us.
Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods
Which will almost certainly result in higher costs to Americans. You’ve raised taxes on Americans.
[…] Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement — or USMCA — will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers like they have not had delivered to for a long time. I hope you can pass the USMCA into law so we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in greater numbers, expand American agriculture, protect intellectual property, and ensure that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words — made in the U.S.A.
Why? Seriously, just a few minutes ago, Trump was taking credit for how great the economy was. Why do we need more jobs — especially manufacturing and agricultural jobs, both of which are highly automated — when we’re all working already?
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.
I’m not sure what the Reciprocal Trade Act does, but I’m pretty sure countries don’t import the same products that they export. That’s not how trade works.
Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure. I know that the 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.
Repairing infrastructure is something we need to do. On the other hand, I don’t trust the government to be able to recognize “cutting edge industries of the future,” and I don’t want them playing their investment hunches with my tax dollars.
We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.
That would be a good idea. But…the only reason healthcare providers get away with not providing prices is because the market is so broken that the people buying these goods and services don’t care about the prices. Requiring providers to better disclose prices won’t fix the market failure.
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 and the rules to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. It has been going on for many years. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty, or inf treaty.
We really have no choice. 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.
In other words, we will start a nuclear arms race. Sigh.
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.
This is total fantasy bullshit.
I’m going to skip over all the stuff about our troops overseas because I don’t know enough about foreign policy in those areas to say anything useful.
That brings us to the close:
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 will squander our inheritance — or whether we will 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.
Please no. When powerful national leaders set their sights on achieving their grand dreams of greatness, the rest of us suffer — always in our treasures, sometimes with our blood.