Trump State of the Union 2020: Live fact-check & transcript

SPEAKER PELOSI

Members of Congress, the president of the United States.

(chanting “four more years”)

PRESIDENT TRUMP

Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, the first lady of the United States.

President Trump’s State of the Union speech got off to a partisan start, with Republicans chanting, “Four more years!” Tonight’s speech comes at an awkward moment for the president, as he is still facing impeachment proceedings. Trump gave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi an icy reception when he entered. When Pelosi extended a hand, Trump swiftly turned away.

And my fellow citizens, three years ago, we launched the great American comeback. Tonight I stand before you to share the incredible results. Jobs are booming. Incomes are soaring. Poverty is plummeting. Crime is falling. Confidence is surging. And our country is thriving and highly respected again.

America’s enemies are on the run. America’s fortunes are on the rise. America’s future is blazing bright. The years of economic decay are over.

Economy

Expect lots of talk tonight about Trump as the resurrector of the American economy. But that narrative is not quite right. Unemployment is low right now, but the economic recovery started in earnest under President Barack Obama.

The days of our country being used, taken advantage of, and even scorned by other nations are long behind us.

Gone too are the broken promises; jobless recoveries; tired platitudes; and constant excuses for the depletion of American wealth, power, and prestige. In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline, and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny. We have totally rejected the downsizing. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never ever going back.

I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been. Our military is completely rebuilt, with its power unmatched anywhere in the world, and it is not even close. Our borders are secure, our families are flourishing, our values are renewed, our pride is restored. And for all of these reasons, I say to the people of our great country and to the members of Congress: The state of our union is stronger than ever before.

Defense

Trump has succeeded in boosting military spending, but defense leaders still warn that recent temporary funding measures pose threats to readiness. The U.S. military was also largely regarded as the most powerful in the world before recent budget increases.

The vision I will lay out this evening demonstrates how we are building the world’s most prosperous and encloses — an inclusive society, one where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success and every community can take part in America’s extraordinary rise. From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the U.S. economy, slashing a number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements.

This speech is trying to position POTUS as a leader of the whole nation when it comes to trade, the economy, health care, etc. But Trump didn’t start out on the most inclusive note. He declined to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand when he arrived at the podium.

2020 election

Trump plans to use tonight’s speech to underscore what he views as his most notable accomplishments, including the state of the U.S. economy. Expect to hear little from him about his would-be agenda for a second term.

Our agenda is relentlessly pro-worker, pro- family, pro-growth, and, most importantly, pro-American.

Thank you. We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting our citizens of every race, color, religion and creed very high. Since my election, we have created 7 million new jobs, 5 million more than government experts projected during the previous administration.

The unemployment rate is the lowest in over half a century.

Economy

While unemployment rate has continued to drop steadily since the Obama administration, the pace of job creation is beginning to slow as the labor market tightens and businesses hold back on new investments.

And very incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my administration is lower than in any administration in the history of our country.

If we hadn’t reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration, the world would not now be witnessing this great economic success.

The unemployment rate for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans has reached the lowest levels in history.

African-American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low. African-American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded.

The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years, and last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added.

The veteran unemployment rate dropped to a record low.

The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached an all-time low.

Workers without a high school diploma have achieved the lowest unemployment rate recorded in U.S. History.

A record number of young Americans are now employed.

Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Under my administration, 7 million Americans have come off food stamps and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare.

In eight years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people dropped out of the workforce. In just three years of my administration, three-and-a-half million people, working-age people, have joined the workforce.

Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners has increased by 47%, three times faster than the increase for the top 1%.

After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast, and wonderfully. They are rising fastest for low-income workers, who have seen a 16% pay increase since my election.

Despite impeachment, the economy has been a major boon for President Trump. A recent indicator of that is the latest Gallup poll, which has Trump’s rating at a personal best of 49 percent. One of the items Gallup pointed to as a factor in Trump’s personal best approval rating: Americans have the highest confidence in the economy since 2000, according to Gallup.

This is a blue-collar boom.

“Blue-collar boom” is a new campaign line for Trump. He first used it during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.

Real median household income is now at the highest level ever recorded.

Since my election, U.S. stock markets have soared 70 percent, adding more than $12 trillion to our nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed was possible. This is a record. It is something every country in the world is looking up to. They admire.

Consumer confidence has just reached amazing new highs. All of those millions of people, the 401(k)s and and pensions are doing far better with increases of 60%, 80%, 100%, and even more. Jobs and investments are pouring into 9,000 previously neglected neighborhoods thanks to opportunity zones, a plan spearheaded by Sen. Tim Scott as part of our Republican tax cut.

In other words, wealthy companies are pouring money into areas that have not seen investments in many decades, creating jobs, energy, and excitement.

This is the first time that these deserving communities have seen anything like this. It is all working. Opportunity zones are helping Americans like Army veteran Tony Rankins from Cincinnati, Ohio. After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house and his family. He was homeless, but then Tony found a construction company that invested in opportunity zones. He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family, and he is here tonight. Keep up the great work, Tony.

Economy

Trump will end this packed news week by traveling to Charlotte, N.C., on Friday to speak at a summit focused on the Opportunity Zones program created by the White House under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Opportunity zones are “economically-distressed” that can receive “preferential tax treatment” under certain circumstances. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump has been a big proponent of opportunity zones.

Thank you, Tony. Our roaring economy has, for the first time ever, given many former prisoners the ability to get a great job and a fresh start. This second chance at life is made possible because we passed landmark justice reform into law. Everybody said criminal justice reform couldn’t be done, but I got it done, and the people in this room got it done.

2020 election

One of the reasons Trump devoted a section of his speech to criminal justice reform is political. His campaign believes the issue resonates with black voters, a demographic he has long struggled to court. Behind the scenes, White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been a fierce defender of the First Step Act — the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill Congress passed last year — even when the president has had his own doubts about its saliency with voters. For more on Trump’s push for African-American support, read this recent story in The New York Times

Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas anyway in the world, by far.

With the tremendous progress we have made over the past three years, America is now energy independent. And energy jobs, like so many elements of our country, are at a record high.

We are doing numbers that no one would have thought possible just three years ago. Likewise, we are restoring our nation’s manufacturing might, even though predictions were, as you all know, that this could never be done. After losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories under my administration with thousands of thousands of plants and factories being planned or being built.

Economy

The U.S. manufacturing sector actually slid into a decline last year, with 12,000 jobs lost in December compared to the month before. Manufacturing companies added just 46,000 jobs last year
overall.
Factory activity had also been in decline for five straight months before just barely slipping into expansion in January, according to new data released this week.

Companies are not leaving, they are coming back to the U.S.A.

The fact is that everybody wants to be where the action is, and the United States of America is, indeed, the place where the action is.

One of the biggest promises I made to the American people was to replace the disastrous NAFTA trade deal.

Trade

Trump’s trade agreement with Canada and Mexico is one of his top legislative accomplishments. But its overall economic benefits are expected to be minimal, largely because the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal simply renews and replaces the original NAFTA, which had already eliminated most tariffs in North America. Its chief economic benefit is shoring up certainty that trade will continue to flow freely on the continent.

In fact, unfair trade is perhaps the single biggest reason I decided to run for president. Following NAFTA’s adoption, our nation lost 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs. Many politicians came and went, pledging to change or replace NAFTA, only to do so and absolutely nothing happened. But unlike so many who came before me, I keep my promises. We did our job.

Six days ago, I replaced NAFTA and signed the brand-new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement into law. The USMCA will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs and massively boost exports for our farmers, ranchers, and factory workers.

Trade

Trump has given some behind-the-scenes insight into picking the name USMCA for his trade agreement. He said it was easy to remember because of the Village People song, “YMCA.” “Nobody could remember “USMCA,” Trump said in January. “I said, “Think of the song, ‘YMCA.'” Now everybody says it.”

Trade

The independent U.S. International Trade Commission found the pact would create 176,000 jobs across all sectors and raise U.S. GDP by 0.35 percent by the sixth year after it enters into force. That study also found, however, that when excluding the provisions that reduce policy uncertainty, the effect on U.S. GDP is actually -0.12 percent.

It will also bring trade with Mexico and Canada to a much higher level, but also to a much greater degree of fairness and reciprocity, we will have that. Fairness and reciprocity. I say that finally, because it has been many years since we were treated fairly on trade.

This is the first major trade deal in many years to earn the strong backing of America’s labor unions.

Trade

This is true — the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation — backed the USMCA in the final days. But that was only after House Democrats worked with Trump’s trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, for several months to negotiate changes to the pact, ultimately making it one of the most progressive trade deals ever.

I also promised citizens I would impose tariffs to confront China’s massive theft of America’s jobs. Our strategy has worked. Days ago, we signed a groundbreaking new agreement with China that will defend our workers, protect our intellectual property, bring billions of dollars into our treasury, and open vast new markets for products made and grown here in the U.S.A.

Trade

The first phase of Trump’s new China deal did help calm relations between the two economic giants, but it does not address Beijing’s industrial policies or harmful state subsidies — several of the thorniest issues that led the administration to launch the trade war in the first place.

It also leaves in place steep tariffs on some $370 billion worth of Chinese imports, which are hurting consumers and dragging on the U.S. economy.

Trade

Increased purchases of American goods are at the heart of Trump’s preliminary China deal, but critics have questioned from the start whether Beijing will be able to buy as much as it has promised. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, even Trump administration officials are acknowledging that it will be harder for China to meet those purchasing commitments and implement other reforms it agreed to as part of the first phase of the deal.

For decades, China has taken advantage of the United States. Now, we have changed that. At the same time, we have the best relationship we have ever had with China, including President Xi. They respect what we have done, because, quite frankly, they could never believe they were able to get away with what they were doing year after year, decade after decade, without someone in our country stepping up and saying, “That’s enough.”

Trade

The White House had hinted that the president might use part of his speech tonight to lay out the next steps on China trade talks, but we didn’t get any of that here. Trump had previously said he would be going to Beijing to launch the second phase of negotiations — but that was before the coronavirus began to spread widely.

Now we want to rebuild our country, and that is exactly what we are doing. We are rebuilding our country. As we restore American leadership throughout the world, we are once again standing up for freedom in our hemisphere.

That’s why my administration reversed the failing policies of the previous administration on Cuba.

Much of the Trump agenda has been about reversing Barack Obama’s policies on foreign policy, trade and environmental regulations. Anti-Obama sentiment drives more than you would imagine.

We are supporting the hopes of Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans. The United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.

Foreign policy

edited: Over a year ago, the U.S. was the first country to recognize Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela, after he declared Nicholas Maduro’s re-election as illegitimate. In an effort to force out Maduro, the U.S. has put serious economic pressure on the leader via sanctions. Yet Maduro remains in power.

Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who abuses his people. But his tyranny will be smashed and broken. Here this evening is a very brave man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans. Joining us in the gallery is the true legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido.

Thank you, Mr. President. Great honor. Thank you very much. Please take this message back, that all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom.

Foreign policy

The inclusion of Guaido is partly targeted at winning over Cuban-American and Venezuelan-American voters in Florida, a key state in 2020. Guaido, who is barred from traveling to Venezula, gave a speech in Miami, Florida, this past weekend to a large crowd of Venezuelan-Americans. The White House has not announced whether Guaido will be meeting with Trump while in Washington.

Thank you very much. Socialism destroys nations, but, always remember, freedom unifies the soul.

2020 election

Part of Trump’s re-election strategy hinges on making the “socialist” tag stick to his eventual Democratic opponent. Knowing tonight’s address will attract millions of viewers, aides told Trump it would be a golden opportunity to underscore his capitalism vs. socialism 2020 campaign theme. This is a more subdued attack line than what Trump supporters normally hear at the president’s rallies. That’s because the White House wants it to resonate with a broader coalition of voters.

To safeguard American liberty, we have invested a record-breaking $2.2 trillion in the United States military.

Defense

Despite several hefty defense budget increases over the past three years, military spending is set to plateau. The defense budget would increase by just a few billion dollars in the next fiscal year under an agreement struck last summer.

We have purchased the finest planes, missiles, rockets, ships, and all other military equipment. And it is made right here in the U.S.A.

We are also getting our allies, finally, to help pay their fair share.

I have raised contributions from other NATO members by over $400 billion and the number of allies meeting the minimum obligations has more than doubled.

Foreign policy

Trump came into office attacking NATO (like many traditional international alliances). But he has expressed much more support for the military alliance recently. At a NATO meeting in London last December, Trump boasted that he had forced other nations to spend a greater share of their economic output on military obligations. It gives him a rare talking point on a foreign policy success.

Just weeks ago, for the first time since President Truman established the Air Force more than 70 years earlier, we created a brand-new branch of the U.S. armed forces. It is called the Space Force. Very important.

Defense

Before Space Force became a common chant at Trump’s rallies, both Democrats and Republicans in the House proposed creating a new military space service early in the Trump administration. Still, Trump’s Pentagon initially opposed the idea, before ultimately embracing a reorganization of the space mission.

In the gallery tonight, we have a young gentleman. What he wants so badly — 13 years old — Iain Lanphier, he is an eighth-grader from Arizona. Iain, please stand up. Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was the first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the space force. Most people look up at space, Iain says, “I want to look down on the world.”

But sitting behind Iain tonight is his greatest hero of them all, Charles McGee, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots, and he also happens to be Ian’s great-grandfather.

Incredible story. After more than 130 combat missions in World War II, he came back home to a country still struggling for civil rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On Dec. 7, Charles celebrated his 100th birthday.

A few weeks ago, I signed a bill promoting Charles McGee to brigadier general, and earlier today, I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office. Gen. McGee, our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir.

From the pilgrims to the founders, from the soldiers at Valley Forge to the marchers at Selma, and from President Lincoln to the reverend Martin Luther King, Americans have always rejected limits on our children’s future. Members of Congress, we must never forget the only victories that matter in Washington are victories that deliver for the American people.

The people are the heart of our country. Their dreams are the soul of our country. And their love is what powers and sustains our country. We must always remember that our job is to put America first.

The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Yet for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools. To rescue these students, 18 states have created school choice in the form of opportunity scholarships. The programs are so popular that tens of thousands of students remain on a waiting list. One of those students is Janiyah Davis, a fourth-grader from Philadelphia.

Education

One of the Trump administration’s most vocal proponents of school choice programs is Vice President Mike Pence, who told a crowd of students in Wisconsin just last week that he “was for school choice before it was cool.”

Unlike trade, immigration and the economy, Trump has rarely made the school choice a focal point of his stump speech. But that appears to be changing tonight. The president’s push for a tax break for private and parochial school scholarships is meant to appeal to his fans in socially conservative circles. Other conservative groups, however, have criticized the proposal as an unnecessary expansion of the federal government’s role in education.

Janiyah’s mom, Stephanie, is a single parent. She would do anything to get her daughter a better future, but last year, that future was put further out of reach when Pennsylvania’s governor vetoed legislation to expand school choice to 15,000 children. Janiyah and Stephanie are in the gallery. Stephanie, thank you so much for being here with your beautiful daughter.

But Janiyah, I have some good news for you. I am pleased to inform you your long wait is over. I can proudly announce tonight that an opportunity scholarship is going to you and you will soon be headed to the school of your choice.

Now I call on Congress to give one million American children the same opportunity Janiyah has just received. Pass the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act, because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school.

Every young person should have a safe and secure environment in which to learn and to grow. For this reason, our magnificent first lady has launched the “Be Best” initiative to support a safe and drug-free life for the next generation, online, in school, and in our communities. Thank you, Melania, for your love and profound care for America’s children. Thank you very much.

This is the first time Trump has mentioned his wife’s East Wing anti-cyberbullying campaign, “Be Best.” His modern predecessors each spotlighted their wives’ projects in their first State of the Union speeches. Read more here

My administration is determined to give our citizens the opportunities they need, regardless of age or background. Through our pledge to American workers, over 400 companies will provide new jobs and education opportunities to almost 15 million Americans. My budget also contains an exciting vision for our nation’s high schools. Tonight, I ask Congress to support our students and back my plan to offer vocational and technical education in every single high school in America.

To expand equal opportunity, I am also proud that we achieved record and permanent funding for our nation’s historically black colleges and universities.

The Trump campaign wants to make inroads with African-American voters in 2020, viewing even just a few extra percentage points as a potentially major boon in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida.

A good life for American families also requires the most affordable, innovative, and high-quality health system on Earth. I moved quickly to provide affordable alternatives. Our new plans are up to 60% less expensive, and better.

I have also made an ironclad pledge to American family: We will always protect patients with preexisting conditions.

Health care

That protection is currently in limbo. The Trump administration has actually joined a lawsuit by Republican-governed states to scrap the Affordable Care Act, which includes protections for pre-existing conditions. The fate of that law won’t be decided until after the 2020 elections.

And we will always protect your Medicare, and we will always protect your Social Security. Always.

The American patient should never be blindsided by medical bills. That is why I signed an executive order requiring price transparency.

Health care

The administration recently finalized a rule on forcing hospitals to disclose negotiated rates with insurers.

Many experts believe that transparency, which will go into full effect at the beginning of next year, will be even bigger than health care reform.

2020 election

Health care has been a dicey political issue for the president. He recently lashed out at his HHS secretary in the Oval Office over bad polling for Republicans on health care heading into 2020.

It will save families massive amounts of money for substantially better care, but as we work to improve American’s health care, there are those who want to take away your health care, take away your doctor, and abolish private insurance entirely.

Health care

That’s a hit at Medicare for All, the government-run health insurance plan that has consumed hours of Democratic debates in the 2020 primaries. Here is how the candidates’ proposals break down

132 lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our health care system, wiping out the health insurance plans of 180 million very happy Americans.

To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American health care.

Over 130 legislators in this chamber have endorsed legislation that would bankrupt our mission by providing free taxpayer-funded health care to millions of illegal aliens, forcing taxpayers to subsidize free care for anyone in the world who unlawfully crosses our borders.

The president and his re-election campaign have seized on this proposal, which gained the support of some 2020 contenders at the first CNN Democratic presidential primary debate. In a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last September, 62 percent of registered voters rejected the policy of providing taxpayer-subsidized health care to undocumented immigrants.

These proposals would raid the Medicare benefits of our seniors and that our seniors depend on while acting as a powerful lure for illegal immigration. That is what is happening in California and other states. Their systems are out of control, costing taxpayers vast and unaffordable amounts of money.

If forcing American taxpayers to provide free health care to illegal immigrants sounds fair to you, stand with the radical left. If you think we should defend patients and seniors, stand with me to pass legislation to prohibit free health care for illegal aliens.

This will be a tremendous boon to our already strongly guarded southern border, where, as we speak, a long, tall, and powerful wall is being built.

We have now completed over 100 miles and have over 500 miles fully completed in a very short period of time. Early next year, we will have substantially more than 500 miles completed.

2020 election

As the 2020 election kicks into high gear, expect to hear Trump talk more and more about the building of his long-promised border wall. Even though sections of the wall have proven incapable of standing up to the elements, the president sees the growing steel barrier along America’s southern border as one of his greatest achievements — and one that his core supporters love to hear about.

My administration is also taking on the big pharmaceutical companies. We have approved a record number of affordable generic drugs, and medicines are being approved by the FDA at a faster clip than ever before.

Health care

That’s true. But it’s largely because the FDA got a big staffing and resource boost under the Generic Drug User Fee Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama.

And I was pleased to announce last year that for the first time in 51 years, the cost of prescription drugs actually went down.

Health care

Questionable. Pharmaceutical companies have slowed down their price hikes in the past year, but prices definitely haven’t dropped for the majority of pricey brand-name meds. One thing we know: prices for more than 470 drugs people pick up at the pharmacy rose roughly five percent at the beginning of this year.

And working together, Congress can reduce drug prices substantially from current levels. I have been speaking to Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and others in Congress in order to get something on drug pricing done, and done quickly and properly. I am calling for bipartisan legislation that achieves the goal of dramatically lowering prescription drug prices. Get a bill on my desk, and I will sign it into law immediately.

Health care

This is the shout out that Sen. Chuck Grassley has been waiting for on his bill, S. 2453. Grassley has struggled to rally GOP support and pleaded for some White House support for the measure, seen as essentially the only bipartisan effort on drug prices right now. But the president’s words were not quite an endorsement.

At these remarks, House Democrats stood, holding up three fingers, a reference to the House-passed drug pricing bill H.R. 3. The White House doesn’t support the measure and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it is dead on arrival in the Senate.

This unyielding commitment — drug overdose deaths declined for the first time in nearly 30 years.

U.S. life expectancy recently increased for the first time in four years, largely due to big drops in fatal overdoses and cancer deaths. It’s a bright spot for Trump, who has made fighting the opioid crisis a big part of his presidency. But it’s not over. Tens of thousands of people still overdose each year, increasingly from the super-potent opioid fentanyl. Also, experts point to rising deaths from other drugs like meth and cocaine as a problem on the horizon.

Among the states hardest hit, Ohio is down 22%, Pennsylvania is down 18%, Wisconsin is down 10%. We will not quit until we have beaten the opioid epidemic once and for all.

True. But progress has been uneven: Rust Belt states saw some of the biggest overdose death declines, while California, New Jersey, Missouri and South Carolina actually saw big upticks.

Protecting American’s health also means fighting infectious diseases. We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Tension has actually been building with the Chinese government, with Beijing saying this week that the U.S. has overreacted and spread panic.

My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat. We have launched ambitious new initiatives to substantially improve care for Americans with kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, and those struggling with mental health. And because Congress was so good as to fund my request, new cures for childhood cancer, we will eradicate the AIDs epidemic in America by the end of this decade.

Health care

Trump announced a plan to conquer childhood cancer in last year’s SOTU. Roughly a month later, he issued a budget proposal that would have slashed $897 million from the National Cancer Institute, but put $50 million more a year toward childhood cancer over the next decade. Congress ultimately passed a budget that gave the National Institutes of Health, including NCI, a $2.6 billion increase.

Health care

This was also one of the big announcements in last year’s SOTU — a pledge to end HIV transmission within the next decade. The government is only one year into its plan, so it’s too early to say whether progress has been made. But the initiative got a big funding bump in this year’s budget.

Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness. Here tonight is a special man, beloved by millions of Americans, who just received a Stage 4, advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet, Rush Limbaugh. Thank you for your decades of devotion to our country.

And Rush, in recognition of all you have done for our nation — the millions of people today that you speak to and that you inspire and all of the incredible work you have done for charity — I am proud to announce tonight you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

This past Monday, Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience he has advanced lung cancer — news that rattled the president, who is a close friend of the radio host. In an emotional moment, Trump surprised Limbaugh, who was a last-minute guest of the president, by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaugh’s next. Trump told news anchors at the White House for today that he planned to honor Limbaugh with the award. Read more here

I will now ask the first lady of the United States to present you with the honor. Please.

Rush, congratulations. Thank you, Kathryn.

As we pray for all who are sick, we know America is constantly achieving new medical breakthroughs. In 2017, doctors at St. Luke’s hospital in Kansas City delivered one of the earliest premature babies to ever survive. Born at 21 weeks and six days and weighing less than a pound, Ellie Schneider was a born fighter. Little Ellie kept on winning the battle of life. Today, Ellie is a strong and healthy 2-year-old girl sitting with her amazing mother, Robin, in the gallery. We are glad to have you with us tonight.

Ellie reminds us every child is a miracle of life. Thanks to modern medical wonders, 50% of premature babies delivered at the hospital where Ellie was born now survive. Just an incredible thing. Thank you very much.

Our goal should be to ensure that every baby has the best chance to thrive and grow, just like Ellie. That is why I am asking Congress to provide an additional $50 billion to fund neonatal research for America’s youngest patients.

That is why I am also calling upon numbers of Congress tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies.

Trump has routinely called on Congress to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would make abortion after 20 weeks unlawful in most cases. His latest call for the bill’s passage comes two weeks after Trump made history as the first sitting U.S. president to address participants of the annual anti-abortion March for Life on the National Mall.

Late-term abortion is not a medical term. The Senate already voted on a 20-week abortion ban and it didn’t pass. And lawmakers couldn’t pass another anti-abortion bill to ban abortion funds that the president has backed.

Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God as we support America’s moms and dads. I was proud to sign the new law offering parents in the federal workforce paid family leave, serving as a model for the rest of the country.

Much of the federal workforce was granted 12 weeks of paid parental leave as part of the annual defense policy legislation that Trump signed in December, a proposal initially rolled into the bill by House Democrats.

Now I call on Congress to pass the bipartisan Advancing Support for Working Families Act, extended family leave to mothers and fathers all across our nation.

40 million American families have an average $2,200 extra thanks to our child tax credit.

I’ve also overseen historic funding increases for high-quality child care, enabling 17 states to help more children, many of which have reduced or eliminated their wait lists altogether. I set Congress a plan to expand access to high-quality child care and urge you to act immediately.

To protect the environment, days ago I announced the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world.

We must also rebuild America’s infrastructure.

I ask you to pass the highway bill to invest in new roads, bridges, and tunnels all across our land. I am committed to ensuring that every citizen can have access to high-speed internet, including and especially, in rural America.

A better tomorrow for all Americans also requires us to keep America safe. That means supporting the men and women of law enforcement at every level, including our nation’s heroic ICE Officers.

Last year, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 120,000 criminal aliens charged with nearly 10,000 burglaries, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 violent assaults, and 2,000 murders. Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens.

In sanctuary cities, local officials ordered police to release dangerous criminals to prey upon the public instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed.

Just 29 days ago, a criminal alien freed by the sanctuary city of New York was charged with the brutal rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman. The killer had been previously arrested for assault, but under New York sanctuary policies, he was set free. If the city had honored ICE’s detainer request, his victim would still be alive today.

The state of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants, a terrible sanctuary, with catastrophic results. In December 2018, California police detained an illegal alien with five prior arrests, including convictions for robbery and assault. As required by California sanctuary laws, local authorities released him.

Days later, the criminal alien went on a gruesome spree of deadly violence. He viciously shot one man going about his daily work. He approached a woman sitting in her car and shot her in the arm and chest. He walked into a convenience store and wildly fired his weapon. He hijacked a truck and smashed the vehicle, critically injuring innocent victims. One of the victims is a terrible, terrible situation. Died, 51-year-old American named Rocky Jones. Rocky was at a gas station when this vile criminal fired eight bullets at him from close range, murdering him in cold blood. Rocky left behind a devoted family, including his brothers who loved him more than anything else in the world. One of his grieving brothers is here with us tonight. Please stand, Jody.

Jody, our hearts weep for your loss, and we will not rest until you have justice.

Senator Thom Tillis is introducing legislation that will allow people like Jody to sue sanctuary cities and states when a loved one is hurt or killed as a result of these deadly practices. The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens.

Immigration

We have entered the Stephen Miller-influenced portion of the State of the Union. Miller is one of Trump’s main speechwriters, but a primary architect of Trump’s immigration policies and talking points.

In the last three years, ICE has arrested over 5,000 wicked human traffickers, and I have signed legislation to stamp out the menace of human trafficking domestically and all around the globe. My administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to secure the southern border of the United States.

Last week, Trump announced the creation of a new position inside the White House Domestic Policy Council “solely devoted” to combatting sex and labor trafficking. The president’s daughter, senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump, has worked closely with outside groups, members of the president’s Cabinet and lawmakers on anti-human trafficking policies.

Before I came into office, if you showed up illegally at our southern border and were arrested, you were released and allowed into our country, never to be seen again. My administration has ended catch and release.

If you come illegally, you will now be promptly removed from our country. Very importantly, we entered into historic cooperation agreements with the government of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. As a result of our unprecedented efforts, illegal crossings are down 75% since May, dropping eight months in a row.

As the wall rapidly goes up, drug seizures rise and the border crossings are going down, and going down very rapidly. Last year, I traveled to the border in Texas and met Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz. Over the last 24 months, Agent Ortiz and his team have seized more than 200,000 pounds of poisonous narcotics, arrested more than 3,000 human smugglers and rescued more than 2,000 migrants.

Agent Ortiz was promoted to deputy chief of Border Patrol and joins us tonight. Chief Ortiz, please stand.

A grateful nation thanks you and all of the heroes of Border Patrol and ICE. Thank you very much. To build on these historic gains, we are working on legislation to replace our outdated and randomized immigration system with one based on merit, welcoming those who follow the rules, contribute to our economy, support themselves financially and uphold our values.

With every action, my administration is restoring the rule of law and reasserting the culture of American freedom.

Working with Mitch McConnell — thank you, Mitch —

and his colleagues in the Senate, we have recommended 180 new judges to uphold our Constitution as written. This includes Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Thank you.

We have many in the pipeline.

My administration is also defending religious liberty. That includes the constitutional right to pray in public schools.

In America, we don’t punish prayer, we don’t ban symbols of faith, we don’t muzzle preachers and pastors. In America, we celebrate faith, we cherish religion, we lift our voices in prayer and we raise our sights to the glory of God. Just as we believe in the First Amendment, we also believe in another constitutional right that is under siege all across our country. So long as I am president, I will always protect your Second Amendment right.

2020 election

Trump mentions his support for the Second Amendment as ex-New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg — whose nascent campaign Trump has been closely tracking — is making increased gun control a key part of his platform.

In reaffirming our heritage as a free nation, we must remember that America has always been a Christian nation. Now we must embrace the next frontier, America’s manifest destiny in the stars. I am asking Congress to fund this program to ensure that the next man and first woman on the moon will be American astronauts, using this as a launching pad to ensure that America is the first nation to plant its flag on Mars.

My administration is also strongly defending national security and combating radical Islamic terrorism.

Last week, I announced a groundbreaking plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, recognizing that all past attempts have failed. We must be determined and creative in order to stabilize the region and give millions of young people a chance to realize a better future.

Foreign policy

Trump put his son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of crafting a Middle East peace plan — something the president said is “one of the toughest deals” to make. But so far, the “Peace to Prosperity” plan, which was introduced last week, has not had much momentum. Critics note it favors Israel and places unrealistic conditions on the Palestinian people. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called the plan “nonsense” and said he was cutting all ties with Israel and the United States. Still, Kushner defended it as a “real offer” and said the ball is now in the Palestinian’s court.

Three years ago, the barbarians of ISIS held over 20,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria. Today, the ISIS territorial caliphate has been 100% destroyed and the founder and leader of ISIS, a bloodthirsty killer known as al-Baghdadi, is dead.

Defense

U.S.-backed forces early last year retook the last of the territory once held by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, though officials warn that the terrorist group still poses a threat in the region.

We are joined this evening by Carl and Marsha Mueller. Their beautiful daughter became a humanitarian aid worker. She once wrote, “Some people find God in church. Some people find God in nature, some people find God in love. I find God in suffering. I have known for some time what my life’s work is. Using my hands as tools to relieve suffering.”

In 2013, while caring for those suffering in Syria, she was kept as a prisoner by al-Baghdadi himself. After more than 500 horrifying days of captivity, al-Baghdadi murdered young, beautiful Kayla. She was just 26 years old.

On the night that United States Special Forces Operators ended his miserable life, we received a call in the Situation Room. We were told that the brave men of the elite special forces team that so perfectly carried out the operation had given their mission a name, task force 8-14. It was special because that was Kayla’s birthday. They never forgot Kayla and neither will we.

Every day, America’s men and women in uniform demonstrate the infinite depth of love that dwells in human heart. One of these American heroes was Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Hake on his second deployment to Iraq, he wrote a letter to his 1-year-old son, Gage: “I will help you build your first sandbox, ride your first bike, I love you – Daddy.”

Chris was on patrol in Baghdad when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. That night, he made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The sergeant now rests in internal glory in Arlington and his wife, Kelly, is in the gallery tonight, joined by their son who is now a 13-year-old and doing very well. To Kelly and Gage, Chris will live in our hearts forever. He is looking down on you now. Thank you.

Thank you both very much. The terrorists responsible for killing the sergeant was Qasem Soleimani. He provided the deadly roadside bomb that took Chris’ life. He was the most ruthless butcher. He murdered thousands of American servicemembers in Iraq. As the world’s top terrorists, Soleimani orchestrated the deaths of countless men, women, and children. He directed the December assault and went on to assault U.S. Forces in Iraq, he was actively planning new attacks. The U.S. military executed a flawless precision strike that killed Soleimani and terminated his evil reign of terror forever.

The Trump administration’s strike against Soleimani drove the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran — yet it was immensely popular with Republican voters. Eighty-five percent said they supported the decision in a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted shortly after the deadly strike last month.

Our message to terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life.

In recent months, we have seen proud Iranians raise against the oppressive rulers. The Iranian regime must abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and needs to work for the good of its own people. Because of our powerful sanctions, the Iranian economy is doing very poorly. We can help them make a very good and short recovery. It can all go quickly — let’s see which road they choose. It is totally up to them.

As we defend American lives, we are working to end American wars in the Middle East. We have made tremendous progress and peace talks are underway. I am not looking to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of them totally innocent.

Trump campaigned on concluding U.S. wars in the Middle East and launched negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan. At the same time, Trump has drawn criticism for sending thousands more troops to the Middle East over the past year amid heightened tensions with Iran.

It is also not or function to serve other nations as law enforcement agencies. These are war fighters that we have, the best in the world. They either want to fight to win or not fight at all. We are working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home.

War places a heavy burden on our extraordinary military families. Especially spouses like Amy Williams from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and her two children, 6-year-old Elliana and 3-year-old Rowan.

Amy helps other military families. For the past seven months, her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams, has been in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment. Amy’s kids had not seen their father’s face in many months. Your sacrifice makes it possible for all of our people to live in safety and in peace and we want to thank you. Thank you, Amy.

There is one more thing. Tonight, we have a very special surprise. I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment. He is here with us tonight.

Trump has always paid close attention to what plays well on TV, a talent honed during his days starring on “The Apprentice.” This made-for-TV surprise of a military surprising his wife and two children at SOTU after a seven-month deployment led to Republicans chanting “USA, USA!”

Welcome home, Sgt. Williams. Thank you very much.

As the world bears witness tonight, America is a land of heroes. There’s a place where greatness is born, where destinies are forged and where legends come to life. This is the home of Thomas Edison and Teddy Roosevelt. Pershing, Patton and McArthur. This is the home of the Wright brothers, Harriet Tubman, Neil Armstrong and so many more. This is the country where children learn names like Wyatt Earp, Davy Crockett and Annie Oakley. This is the place where the pilgrims landed at Plymouth and where Texas patriots made their last stand at the Alamo. The beautiful, beautiful alamo.

The American nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest and most determined men and women to walk on the face of the Earth. Our ancestors braved the unknown; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads; dug out the canals; raised up the skyscrapers. And ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional republic ever to exist in him in history. We are making it greater than ever before.

This is our glorious and magnificent inheritance. We are Americans, we are pioneers, we are the pathfinders, we settled the New World, we built the modern world and we changed history forever by embracing the eternal truth that everyone is made equal by the almighty hand of God.

America is the place where anything can happen. America is the place where anyone can rise. Here, on this land, on this soil, on this continent, the most incredible dreams come true. This nation is our canvas and this country is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see a limited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made. The American age, the American epic, the American adventure has only just begun. Our spirit is still young. The sun is still rising. God’s grace is still shining. My fellow Americans, the best is yet to come. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Notably, Trump did not mention impeachment during his speech.

And with that, Pelosi rips up the pages she’d been reading behind Trump at the podium. Was that his speech she was following along with?

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