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State of the Union 2018

Varying views on President Trump's first SOTU

By Christina Uptain & Erich Pilcher
On February 6, 2018


Christina Uptain:

  • The Economy: 

    The economy portion of President Trump’s speech was loaded with stats that he delivered confidently yet it is believed by many that he took credit for some statistics regarding unemployment that were residual of the prior administration and some were too vague to be effective. 

    However, the major criticism of this aspect of the speech was leading the public to believe the topic was over, even moving on to other subject matters, then rounding back to the economy. Trump even told a story of a soldier who was honored for his bravery and vocalized what was being done to support the country’s veterans, seemingly on to the next topic but then fired off additional stats about “roaring” economic progress.

  • Immigration: 

    Trump seemed to have either overlooked or not be concerned about the millions around the world who see the Statue of Liberty, everything she and America stands for and the hope they can have a place here. 

    Trump’s immigration proposal bulldozes over this hope, essentially killing the dreams of those who want a chance at a better life by requesting it be made law that someone must have a skill or merit. 

    He then laid claim that two terrorist attacks have been made on New York City since the beginning of the year. He said he wants to stop chain migration to end attacks by Visa lottery and “random greencard holders”. 

    It was disappointing to hear this portion of his speech start with a shred of light about including a path to citizenship, then move on to degrading potential immigrants and trying to evoke fear without strongly cited proof to support his terrorist attack claim. 

  • Unity: 

    While it is appreciated that President Trump began by praising Americans for coming together recently in times of tragedy and national disaster, the challenge “to set aside differences, seek out common ground and summon the unity we need for the people” was weak and from there on out seemed forced, insincere and for lack of a better term, deflated. 

    It is also difficult to maintain a message of unity when claims are made on behalf of the nation that many do not feel accurately represent them, especially in the realm of religion (more than one reference to God was made but not freedom of religion) and patriotism (calling out those who do not show reverence to the flag).  

  • Overall Tone: 

    While there was organization to this speech, there also was some tension in the flow from beginning to end. 

    For example, the overall feel was dry and while there were not any major pronunciation issues as we have seen in the past, there was not much life to President Trump as he spoke. 

    His main points were topics he has been very vocal on in the past and continues to be yet on the biggest stage of his political career, he fell short. While he has not been a man of extreme emotion, one would expect a bit more.

    It was an unexpected pleasure to see Trump more comfortable with speaking and not make any pronunciation or major spoken grammatical errors. He also did not wander off the tracks yet this may be because there was no live interaction from any other party- it was just him speaking and everyone listening.



Erich Pilcher:

  • The Economy: 

    I feel that this was one of President Trump’s strongest aspects of his speech. He was able to tout the creation of manufacturing jobs, record low unemployment rate among African-Americans and a surging stock market. 

    However, these achievements and excitement should be tempered. President Trump’s true impact on the economy will not be known until October when his first fiscal year ends. Nonetheless, he truly should tout what has been done thus far and he did just that.

  • Immigration:

    Trump presented his “four pillars” of immigration reform. There should be hope here. Trump “extended an open hand” to work with democrats to find a solution. His major point was to offer paths to citizenship for 1.8 million Americans who were brought here as children by their parents. 

    This would greatly ease concerns with the expiration of the dreamers bill coming soon. He also vowed to end the Visa lottery a controversial bill that many have taken issue with. He loses points for bringing up that pesky wall and referencing nuclear family. But, overall he did well here.

  • Unity: 

    President Trump in no way shape or form helped bipartisanship be eliminated or at the very least extend the proverbial olive branch. 

    Now, one speech was not going to fix all the infighting in Washington. However, this one speech could have helped and started the process. It did neither. 

    This was the equivalent of someone ordering four double cheeseburgers from McDonald’s and a diet soda then claiming they are dieting. 

    The clearest evidence supporting this was the democrats walked out after the speech was over. Tradition is that all members stay in the chambers and congratulate the President. The democrats did not seem to feel they should do this. That could spell problems down the road.

  • Overall Tone: 

    President Trump hit home runs on immigration, the economy and fighting foreign terrorism. At times he had to fight this common theme of turning speeches into rallies. But, whenever he was veering off the rails, he regained control. 

    He left a lot to be desired on political unity, tax reform and staying with his wall. Also he deserves kudos for having heroes and those hurt by violence in attendance. He also was able to provide a glimmer of hope in regards to the issue with Dreamers legislation. Overall, this was a passable State of the Union Speech for a first time speaker and non-politician.

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