45th U.S. President Donald Trump Delivers Annual State of the Union Address to Congress

Jack Birle Staff Writer

Bitter exchanges between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi overshadowed the President’s State of the Union address. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 4, President Trump delivered his annual State of the Union address in which he laid out the goals for the government this year while also honoring special Americans.

Before the President’s speech, he gave both Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Pelosi copies of the address, and during this exchange, President Trump ignored Pelosi’s hand for a handshake. Immediately after the speech, Pelosi ripped her copy of the speech.

Pelosi defended her actions after leaving the address saying. “It was a courteous thing to do considering the alternative. It was such a dirty speech.”

Vice President Pence responded to Pelosi’s actions saying, “I think it was a new low…I wasn’t sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution.”

Trump’s address had the theme, “The Great American Comeback.” The President touted record low unemployment rates, specifically for many minority groups. 

The speech shifted from unifying messages to partisan policies the President wishes to achieve this year. Trump did not discuss the impeachment trial, which was ongoing at the time, in his speech.

The President also invited several guests to the viewing gallery, a tradition which began during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

Trump’s most controversial guest was conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who had announced a stage-four cancer diagnosis less than a week before the speech. Limbaugh was also honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the middle of the speech.

Another guest of the President was Juan Guaidó. Guaidó is the opposition leader in Venezuela and is considered the legitimate President of Venezuela by the United States and 60 other countries. 

During his address, Trump procalimed Guaidó the “true and legitimate” leader of Venezuela.

Trump also used the State of the Union to reunite Amy Williams and her children with her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams who had been deployed in Afghanistan for seven months.

One of the other guests President Trump invited was Jody Jones, brother of Rocky Jones, who was killed by an illegal immigrant in the state of California. Trump used this guest to highlight the dangers of California’s controversial “sanctuary state” policy which protects illegal immigrants from border patrol.

As a promotion of the newly formed military branch Space Force, Trump invited 13-year-old Iain Lanphier from Arizona, who had expressed interest in eventually joining the Space Force.

Lanphier was invited alongside his great-grandfather, Charles McGee, who is one of the last surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American military pilots who served in World War II. 

President Trump was able to convey policies and goals for the country through his speech and his selected guests.

Approval numbers for the President are at the highest in his presidency following the State of the Union. According to Gallup Inc., President’s approval is at 49%.