Sofia Maietta ’19
On Tuesday, February 5, President Trump gave the annual State of the Union Address from the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives before a joint session of Congress. The original date of the speech was set for January 29, but had to be postponed due to the recent government shutdown. Trump touched on topics such as immigration, the economy, the opioid crisis, conflicts in the Middle East, and NAFTA, among others. In particular, he spent a substantial portion of the address on border security and immigration reform.
Trump’s efforts to have Congress approve a spending bill which would allocate $5.7 billion for a border wall have stalled in recent weeks, culminating in a government shutdown which lasted 35 days and ended on January 25. With another government shutdown looming in the near future if Congress fails to pass a spending bill by Friday, February 15, President Trump called for increased spending on border security during his address.
He presented a woman named Debra Bissell, whose parents were recently killed by an undocumented immigrant in Reno, Nevada. He used her story to represent, as alleged by the President himself, the vast amount of crime that has occurred as a result of undocumented immigrants.
“Now is the time for the 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,” he stated, continuing, “Not one more American life should be lost because our Nation failed to control its very dangerous border. In the last 2 years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.”
President Trump also spoke on the American economy, claiming credit for what he deemed to be rapid economic progress of the past two years that he has been in office. He simultaneously took aim at the pending investigations of himself and his administration, stating: “On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone — almost double what was 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 and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!”
Representative from California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff has since commented that he plans to continue the investigation into President Trump’s finances and foreign connections for as long as necessary. Schiff has hired former National Security Council staffers to aid him in launching a sweeping new investigation into Trump, a development which has recently drawn ire and strong criticism from the President. On February 7, Trump tweeted, “The Dems and their committees are going “nuts.” The Republicans never did this to President Obama, there would be no time left to run government. I hear other committee heads will do the same thing. Even stealing people who work at White House! A continuation of Witch Hunt!”