7 memorable moments from Trump’s State of the Union

President Trump on Tuesday delivered his second State of the Union address, this time in an era of newly divided government.

The roughly 80-minute speech was punctuated with both calls for unity and jabs at the opposing party, as well as some emotional asides featuring guests of the White House and the formidable freshmen class of Democrats.

Here are seven noteworthy moments from Trump’s 2019 State of the Union:

Democratic women have their moment

In a speech that prompted numerous glares and groans from Democratic lawmakers, the president sparked an unexpected moment of joy from the women who helped propel Democrats into the House majority in last year’s midterms.

{mosads}”No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women,” Trump said, noting that the demographic filled 58 percent of newly created jobs in 2018.

With that, the women of the Democratic caucus, all dressed in white to honor the suffragettes, rose to their feet and applauded.

“You weren’t supposed to do that,” Trump joked.

The chamber stood and cheered again when the president noted there are more women in the workforce than at any other point in history.

“Don’t sit yet, you’re going to like this,” he continued. “And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.”

At that point, representatives from both parties stood and applauded. The Democratic women lawmakers hugged and high-fived one another. Ivanka Trump, Lara Trump and Jared Kushner were shown standing and applauding as chants of “USA” broke out.

“That’s great,” President Trump said. “Really great. And congratulations.”

More than 100 women were elected to Congress in last year’s midterm elections, setting a record, and setting pace for Democrats as the party picked up more than 40 seats in the House to retake the majority.

Trump warns against ‘partisan investigations’

The president fired a warning shot at Democrats in the room who have pledged to look into the president’s finances, White House security clearances and other areas.

“An economic miracle is taking place in the Untied States, and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said.{mossecondads}

As Republican lawmakers rose to applaud, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could be seen reacting with disdain over the president’s shoulder. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of Trump’s most strident critics, was shown grinning in the crowd.

“If there is going to be peace and legislation there cannot be war and investigation,” Trump said. “It just doesn’t work that way.”

Pelosi responded in real time through one of her Twitter accounts, saying that Congress “has the responsibility to exercise oversight of the other branches of government. We would be delinquent in our duties if we failed to provide the necessary oversight.”

Democrats have pledged to use their new House majority to conduct rigorous oversight and investigations into the Trump administrations. Lawmakers have highlighted the president’s financial ties, the administration’s foreign policy decisions, its handling of migrants family separations and its response to Hurricane Maria as areas of interest.

Democratic leaders have said they intend to carry out impeachment proceedings against Trump only if there is broad consensus on the subject.

The president and his allies have sought to dissuade Democrats from focusing on investigations, warning that doing so could undermine any bipartisan legislative efforts.

Attendees sing to Holocaust, synagogue shooting survivor

One of the more upbeat moments of the evening came when the chamber broke into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate a survivor of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting.

Judah Samet attended Tuesday’s address as a guest of the White House.  Trump acknowledged him in the crowd and noted it was his 81st birthday.

Attendees then broke into song, with Trump mock-conducting from the dais.

“Thank you!” Samet shouted.

“They wouldn’t do that for me, Judah,” Trump joked, before continuing on with his speech.

Samet, who is a Holocaust survivor, is a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. A gunman opened fire at the synagogue last October, killing 11 people.

The White House also hosted Timothy Matson, a member of the Pittsburgh Police Department, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds while responding to the shooting.

Trump recognized Matson’s efforts, prompting another standing ovation from attendees.

Trump calls on Congress to ban late-term abortion

The president urged Congress to pass legislation outlawing late-term abortions, using recent liberal legislation on the issue in New York and Virginia as a rallying point.

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

“Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” he added.

The president’s comments received applause from Republicans in the room. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) stood and clapped, but most Democrats remained seated.

Supreme Court justices could be seen briefly on camera, and held neutral expressions.

New York lawmakers last month passed legislation expanding women’s access to abortions. The bill allows women to get abortions after 24 weeks if their life or health is threatened by the pregnancy, or if the fetus is not viable.

In Virginia, Democrats put forward a bill that would allow third-trimester abortions if the mother’s health were threatened. The legislation stirred debate, but has not been put up for a vote. It has been overshadowed in recent days by controversy surrounding Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Woman granted clemency by Trump moved to tears

Alice Marie Johnson, a former prisoner who was granted clemency by Trump last year, was moved to tears as the president highlighted her story as an example of the need to reform the criminal justice system.

“Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing and the need to remedy this total injustice,” Trump said.

Johnson, who was seated with the president’s family as a guest of the White House, received a standing ovation and became visibly emotional.

“Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny,” Trump added.

Johnson wiped tears from her eyes and she returned to her seat. 

Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence last June after reality star Kim Kardashian West brought her case to the president’s attention. The 63-year-old great-grandmother was serving a life sentence on nonviolent drug and money laundering charges.

Trump decries socialism

Trump prompted raucous chants of “USA” from Republican lawmakers when he pledged that “America will never be a socialist country.”

After the president spoke of the dire state of affairs in Venezuela, he shifted his attention to the rise of progressive ideas on the domestic front.

“We are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” Trump said, eliciting “boos” from some in the room. 

“America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination and control,” Trump added. “We are born free and we will stay free.”

Republicans in attendance began chanting “USA,” and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has embraced democratic socialism, was spotted with a stone-faced look as he covered his chin with his right hand.

“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Trump added.

The president’s comments appeared to be a thinly veiled barb at lawmakers like Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who have pushed progressive ideas like increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, “Medicare for all” and a “Green New Deal.”

Critics of those policies have equated the suggestions to socialism, and pointed to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela as an example of potential consequences.

Trump digs in on immigration

Trump made his push to tighten immigration laws and build a wall along the southern border a central part of his lengthy speech, but stopped short of declaring a national emergency after teasing the possibility in recent days.

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

“Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration — reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime and a depleted social safety net,” he added.

Trump’s desire to build a wall along the southern border has been at the heart of a standoff with congressional Democrats. The president’s demand for $5.7 billion for the structure triggered the recent 35-day government shutdown.

The president had suggested in recent days that he may declare a national emergency to direct construction of the wall, a measure that would likely draw swift legal challenges and rebukes from GOP lawmakers. He did not do so on Tuesday night, but emphasized his commitment to erecting a barrier.

“In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall. But the proper wall never got built. I will get it built,” Trump said as GOP lawmakers stood to applaud.

The wall, he said, would be a “smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier” built in areas of need identified by border agents.

Tags Adam Schiff Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Ivanka Trump Jared Kushner Joe Manchin Nancy Pelosi
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