3 Lines That Defined Trump’s State of the Union Address

 

There were several great moments in President Trump’s State of the Union address: the heroes in the gallery, the condemnation of socialism, the bitter tongue-sucking of Speaker Pelosi. But three excerpts stood out in particular. First up:

No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.

The political, cultural, and financial elite have spent decades mocking those they believe are beneath their station. Both parties spoke grand words on border security while their deeds undercut the very notion. Amnesty now, security later — if ever.

The two lines above better demonstrate why Trump won than ten think tanks full of campaign analysis.

No one believes that a wall or barrier will end illegal immigration or drug-running. But the only way for politicians to win back voters’ trust on the issue is this physical symbol of their seriousness.

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.

To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

Has any president made a stronger denunciation of progressives’ culture of death? No political consultant or Beltway insider would have recommended this move. Too divisive, too stark, too … awkward. Nevertheless, the novice politician in the White House exposed the truth of New York and Virginia’s ghoulish late-term abortion legislation. All but the most nihilistic NARAL executives will blanch at the barbarism.

And now, for Trump’s strong 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.

No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.

We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny — that one Nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world!

Undoubtedly, Congress will choose to be defined by their differences and squander their inheritance. It’s all they know. But tonight, the President rose above his combative Twitter persona and chose to be the adult in the room, at least for a night.

More, please.

There are 85 comments.

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  1. James Gawron Thatcher

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Undoubtedly, Congress will choose to be defined by their differences and squander their inheritance. It’s all they know. But tonight, the President rose above his combative Twitter persona and chose to be the adult in the room, at least for a night.

    More, please.

    Jon,

    Born Free, Stay Free.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:14 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. carcat74 Member

    Many parts of his speech were inspired. I especially liked when he said America will never be a socialist country, and the camera quickly cut to Bernie Sanders. He almost looked he could explode! His face was so red, the veins popping out….

    • #2
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • 25 likes
  3. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Brilliant essay. Succinct ending offered with these three lines of yours: Undoubtedly, Congress will choose to be defined by their differences and squander their inheritance. It’s all they know. But tonight, the President rose above his combative Twitter persona and chose to be the adult in the room, at least for a night.

    I wish it was otherwise, but you probably nailed it. The scorpion on the turtle’s back ain’t gonna change any time soon.

    • #3
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:18 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  4. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    carcat74 (View Comment):

    Many parts of his speech were inspired. I especially liked when he said America will never be a socialist country, and the camera quickly cut to Bernie Sanders. He almost looked he could explode! His face was so red, the veins popping out….

    Bernie sweating like a pig and looking like he was going to blow a fuse is now in my top five moments of the Trump presidency. Let’s continue to embarrass and expose these commies. USA! USA!

    • #4
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:23 PM PDT
    • 24 likes
  5. Percival Thatcher

    The first two were the real killers. Stacey Abrams responded to neither.

    • #5
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:31 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    carcat74 (View Comment):

    Many parts of his speech were inspired. I especially liked when he said America will never be a socialist country, and the camera quickly cut to Bernie Sanders. He almost looked he could explode! His face was so red, the veins popping out….

    I usually avoid watching the SOTU. I might have to change my policy this year.

    • #6
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:41 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  7. J Ro Member

    I appreciate this fine summary since I have not yet had time to watch the speech. Now I feel compelled to watch the whole thing. 

    In contrast, I never could stand to watch any Obama speeches completely through. They were much too gassy and dishonest.

     

    • #7
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:42 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  8. Brian Watt Member

    • #8
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:56 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  9. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    I also liked the line about rejecting the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution.

    • #9
    • February 5, 2019, at 9:14 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  10. Clive Staples Member

    Would a Romney or a McCain SOTU speech have come even close to challenging Congress on such “wedge” issues as abortion, illegal immigration, or rejection of socialism as we saw tonite?

    • #10
    • February 5, 2019, at 9:42 PM PDT
    • 27 likes
  11. James Lileks Contributor

    Clive Staples (View Comment):
    Would a Romney or a McCain SOTU speech have come even close to challenging Congress on such “wedge” issues as abortion, illegal immigration, or rejection of socialism as we saw tonite?

    No, and that’s the fact that Trump’s opponents on the right have to face. I’m the last one to say he’s my guy, but I’ll be happy to say I liked him picking up various third-rails, pointing them at the D side of the chamber, and shouting SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FREN.

    It is an absolutely bizarre turn of events when it is necessary to denounce socialism in the SOTU, but here we are. 

    2 While I anxiously await the fact-checkers’s verdict on whether we would actually be at war with North Korea if HRC had been elected, I thought that was a bit . . . odd. And the section about the Taliban wanting peace was highly uncomfortable. They don’t. I would rather he was honest: we gave it a shot, spent a lot of money, but in the end, it’s not a nation. It’s a portal to a timeless land ruled by banditry and clan beefs. Even with loosened ROE these knuckleheads wouldn’t get the point. L8r. 

    • #11
    • February 5, 2019, at 10:14 PM PDT
    • 27 likes
  12. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Clive Staples (View Comment):
    Would a Romney or a McCain SOTU speech have come even close to challenging Congress on such “wedge” issues as abortion, illegal immigration, or rejection of socialism as we saw tonite?

    No, and that’s the fact that Trump’s opponents on the right have to face.

    I might disagree. Mitt Romney might, if he studied the facts. Ted Cruz probably would. Rick Santorum could. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and many others have not come to terms with illegal immigration yet. Perhaps they never will. However, many others like John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Paul Ryan would not. The John McCain era is over. New senators like Martha McSally, Josh Hawley, and Marsha Blackburn have a decision to where their futures lie. Even Cindy Hyde-Smith replaced Thad Cochran who Ann Coulter supported.

    I do think that Trump has made some conservatives a bit braver as a leader willing to move the window of acceptable thought and constantly willing to engage with the mainstream which one of the big things many conservatives have always wanted from a leader from their side.

    • #12
    • February 5, 2019, at 11:37 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  13. Cow Girl Thatcher

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    but I’ll be happy to say I liked him picking up various third-rails, pointing them at the D side of the chamber, and shouting SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FREN.

    That was awesome!! …both what Trump did, and how you phrased it! I was astonished at the overt patriotism he kept proclaiming–it was so refreshing and plain and heartfelt! See what happens when we elect a person, and not a politician?

    • #13
    • February 5, 2019, at 11:49 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  14. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    One of the reasons for the left’s stridently negative reaction to the speech was that Trump spoke out vociferously against anti-Semitism, recalled the Pittsburgh massacre, and referenced the Holocaust. This was not what Jew-hating leftists (Van Jones and his ilk) wanted to hear.

    • #14
    • February 5, 2019, at 11:57 PM PDT
    • 22 likes
  15. George Townsend Inactive

    Broadly speaking, I agree with you, Jon. It was a wonderful speech. I wish our president could always be like this. Trump does pretty well when he reads other people’s material and sticks to it. So, I take nothing away from the speech. But a couple of things…

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The political, cultural, and financial elite have spent decades mocking those they believe are beneath their station.

    I think this is unfair to the men and women who did good things for our land before Trump got there. It is just Populist rhetoric that divides us much as the Democrats do. The Bushes, for example, were, and are, fine folk, who did their best for this land. Denigrating them serves no purpose. You do not know that they mock anyone beneath their station. I don’t believe they ever did.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: No one believes that a wall or barrier will end illegal immigration or drug-running.

    Donald Trump gives every indication he believes this. Some barrier is probably a good idea, if we get it up; but Trump, in trying to sell it, makes it sound to the average person that this will solve all our problems. To speak the way he does about the wall, I submit. can only lead to frustration and anger. And it might even result in us losing the whole Congress, because people don’t like his over-the-top rhetoric.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

    Has any president made a stronger denunciation of progressives’ culture of death? No political consultant or Beltway insider would have recommended this move. Too divisive, too stark, too … awkward. Nevertheless, the novice politician in the White House exposed the truth of New York and Virginia’s ghoulish late-term abortion legislation. All but the most nihilistic NARAL executives will blanch at the barbarism.

    This was indeed one of best – maybe the best – parts of the speech. It needed to be said. And God Bless Donald Trump for saying it

    • #15
    • February 6, 2019, at 3:41 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. Columbo Member

    @exjon … very well said. I do like the three lines you highlight, and your analysis of them is spot on.

    You’re getting very close to Happy Warrior ground. The water’s fine. Just sayin’ ….

    • #16
    • February 6, 2019, at 4:22 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  17. Franco Member

    Yep. 

    The gloves are off. That’s what a lot of us wanted. Fewer platitudes, more punches. It’s not pretty but at least it’s effective.

    Stepping back a bit, Trump has moved the ball down the field ( football analogies are much better for war and politics than the baseball ones😉) . He’s been willing to take the punishment like the quarterback who stands in the pocket and gets off the pass knowing he’s going to take a hit a half-second later – even when he’s got a couple poor blockers on his offensive line.

    There’s a lot more going on than policy, judicial appointments, and daily opinions from punditry. There’s a pitched ideological battle. Ironically it looks like Trump is making a better case than all previous Presidents and contenders combined since Reagan. At this point, you don’t have to be a scholar or be well-versed in Hayekian concepts to do the right things.

    He’s bringing the Republican party ( or dragging it) into a more politically relevant place. And note, this isn’t ‘moving to the center’ , but moving rightward where it’s desperately needed, walking away from certain entrenched default policies ( endless wars, for example) and actually implementing economic policy that will restart perceptions of Republicanism being the party of low(er) taxes and as business-friendly. The Democrats were on the verge of taking the mantle of being the better party on economics, amazingly. 

    Those who were skeptical (rightly at first) of this man’s abilities, heart, commitment and selfless patriotism need not beg for forgiveness, but they would do well, and serve their country and party well, to accept him as the leader of their team.

     

     

     

    • #17
    • February 6, 2019, at 4:27 AM PDT
    • 41 likes
  18. DonG Coolidge

    I hope this is a preview of the re-election effort. I like the idea of running against Congress and “Choose Greatness”. The theme of protecting our inheritance through rule of law, protecting babies, stopping socialism, and spending on research and infrastructure seems like a winner. This is close to my call for “Prosperity, Security, and the American Way”. 

    • #18
    • February 6, 2019, at 4:56 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  19. Hang On Member

    DonG (View Comment):

    I hope this is a preview of the re-election effort. I like the idea of running against Congress and “Choose Greatness”. The theme of protecting our inheritance through rule of law, protecting babies, stopping socialism, and spending on research and infrastructure seems like a winner. This is close to my call for “Prosperity, Security, and the American Way”.

    He is definitely running against Congress and both parties and he is right to do so. The spectacular line “Great nations do not fight endless wars” was aimed right at Senate Republicans and particularly McConnell and his resolution the other day to keep us mired in endless war in the Middle East and Afghanistan. 

    • #19
    • February 6, 2019, at 5:15 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I kept smirking at the Dems’ reactions. They couldn’t figure out when and if to applaud. They’d look at each other, then at Pelosi–isn’t this a good thing?–oh but Trump is bringing it up, so it can’t be a good thing! It was silly and bizarre. But then the Dems are often for partisanship, not the good of the country. Grow up, people.

    • #20
    • February 6, 2019, at 6:01 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  21. Columbo Member

    Franco (View Comment):

    Yep.

    The gloves are off. That’s what a lot of us wanted. Fewer platitudes, more punches. It’s not pretty but at least it’s effective.

    Stepping back a bit, Trump has moved the ball down the field ( football analogies are much better for war and politics than the baseball ones😉) . He’s been willing to take the punishment like the quarterback who stands in the pocket and gets off the pass knowing he’s going to take a hit a half-second later – even when he’s got a couple poor blockers on his offensive line.

    There’s a lot more going on than policy, judicial appointments, and daily opinions from punditry. There’s a pitched ideological battle. Ironically it looks like Trump is making a better case than all previous Presidents and contenders combined since Reagan. At this point, you don’t have to be a scholar or be well-versed in Hayekian concepts to do the right things.

    He’s bringing the Republican party ( or dragging it) into a more politically relevant place. And note, this isn’t ‘moving to the center’ , but moving rightward where it’s desperately needed, walking away from certain entrenched default policies ( endless wars, for example) and actually implementing economic policy that will restart perceptions of Republicanism being the party of low(er) taxes and as business-friendly. The Democrats were on the verge of taking the mantle of being the better party on economics, amazingly.

    Those who were skeptical (rightly at first) of this man’s abilities, heart, commitment and selfless patriotism need not beg for forgiveness, but they would do well, and serve their country and party well, to accept him as the leader of their team.

    @franco … Simply outstanding! Every part of this! You know how I love analogies. The quarterback, moving the team down the field, taking the hits (many times from poor blocking of his own team!) while staying in the pocket … is spot on! This is its own conversation. #Acceptance

    • #21
    • February 6, 2019, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  22. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    It is an absolutely bizarre turn of events when it is necessary to denounce socialism in the SOTU, but here we are. 

    It is also absolutely bizarre to watch the Democrats circle the wagons around it.

    • #22
    • February 6, 2019, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 22 likes
  23. Columbo Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    It is an absolutely bizarre turn of events when it is necessary to denounce socialism in the SOTU, but here we are.

    It is also absolutely bizarre to watch the Democrats circle the wagons around it.

    Indeed. Check out the response from AOC … 

    Ocasio-Cortez says Trump ‘scared’ after he vows America will ‘never be a socialist country’

    She is totally delusional about socialism and America. “We are born free, and we will stay free.” 

     

    • #23
    • February 6, 2019, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  24. PHenry Member

    With the limited cameras and selective closeups, it became hard to gauge who was sitting on their hands. We need a way to identify who stood and who did not for which statements.

    I would be very interested in the list of those who could not manage to stand and applaud for the ‘we will never be socialist’ comment. We know Bernie and AOC, of course, but what of others? Booker, Harris? I think the American people deserve to know who supports socialism in America. Especially among those who are running for president. 

    • #24
    • February 6, 2019, at 6:45 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  25. David Carroll Thatcher

    After Peggy Noonan tweeted that AOC had a rarely bad night, AOC responded: 

    Ocasio-Cortez – a frequent critic of Trump – took to Twitter to defend herself.

    “Why should I be “spirited and warm” for this embarrassment of a #SOTU? Tonight was an unsettling night for our country. The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future. We’re flying without a pilot. And I‘m not here to comfort anyone about that fact,” she wrote.

    My take is that AOC did not actually listen to the SOTU.

    • #25
    • February 6, 2019, at 7:17 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  26. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Member

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    After Peggy Noonan tweeted that AOC had a rarely bad night, AOC responded:

    Ocasio-Cortez – a frequent critic of Trump – took to Twitter to defend herself.

    “Why should I be “spirited and warm” for this embarrassment of a #SOTU? Tonight was an unsettling night for our country. The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future. We’re flying without a pilot. And I‘m not here to comfort anyone about that fact,” she wrote.

    My take is that AOC did not actually listen to the SOTU.

    Or she did, but can’t break free from the mind control. She sounds exactly like some here who are allegedly on the right.

    Trump-hate does not permit rational discourse.

    • #26
    • February 6, 2019, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  27. Judge Mental Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    After Peggy Noonan tweeted that AOC had a rarely bad night, AOC responded:

    Ocasio-Cortez – a frequent critic of Trump – took to Twitter to defend herself.

    “Why should I be “spirited and warm” for this embarrassment of a #SOTU? Tonight was an unsettling night for our country. The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future. We’re flying without a pilot. And I‘m not here to comfort anyone about that fact,” she wrote.

    My take is that AOC did not actually listen to the SOTU.

    Or she did, but can’t break free from the mind control. She sounds exactly like some here who are allegedly on the right.

    Trump-hate does not permit rational discourse.

    The silly twit believes her own press.

    • #27
    • February 6, 2019, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  28. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    The silly twit believes her own press.

    She is definitely a media-created monster.

    But then, so is Jim Acosta:

    https://twitter.com/LoganDobson/status/1092986470531547137

    • #28
    • February 6, 2019, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  29. Columbo Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    The silly twit believes her own press.

    She is definitely a media-created monster.

    But then, so is Jim Acosta:

    STUNNER: CBS/CNN Polls Say 76% Approve of President Trump’s SOTU Speech

    AOC, Bernie, Stacey, Nancy, Chuckie … hardest hit.

    • #29
    • February 6, 2019, at 8:01 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  30. Penfold Member

    OK, who was that guy last night? And what did they do with the real Trump?

    • #30
    • February 6, 2019, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
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