As Part of a Bold New Diplomacy:
"We Continue Our Historic Push for Peace
On the Korean Peninsula"
- In the State of the Union Address by U.S. Pres. Donald Trump -
The 2019 State of the Union Address was given by the President Donald Trump, on Feb. 5, 2019, in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives to the 116th United States Congress. Presiding over this joint session was the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (right), accompanied by Mike Pence (left), the Vice President of the United States. It was Trump's second State of the Union Address and his third speech to a joint session of the United States Congress. The Address was watched by 46.8 million viewers, which aired live on 12 major television networks.
U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and con-firmed the second summit between Pyongyang and Washington will take place in Vietnam on February 27 and 28 this year during his State of the Union address on Feb. 6, 2019. "As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula," said Trump. Trump highlighted his achievements in ongoing nuclear diplomacy with North Korea. "Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in more than 15 months," he said. President Trump urged Americans to come together in the Union speech seeking to turn the page on two years of divisive turmoil and transform him into a bipartisan national leader. "We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution - and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good," Trump told Congress and a huge television audience. "We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction," Trump said in the speech, which was littered with soaring rhetoric and interrupted continuously by applause from his camp. He touted what he called "the hottest economy anywhere in the world," and called for a bipartisan push to eradicate the AIDS epidemic in the United States in a decade. But the picture in the U.S. Congress is anything but unified two years into Trump's presidency, with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, Republicans in charge of the Senate, and Trump finding himself stymied at every turn. Trump's claims to foreign policy successes are not necessarily endorsed even in his own party. He repeated in the speech that he wants U.S. troops to pull out from long-running wars, such as Afghanistan and Syria as soon as possible. "Great nations do not fight endless wars," he said. "Constructive" talks with the Taliban guerrillas have "accelerated," he said in a notably upbeat assessment. Trump's speech began by recalling United States triumphs in World War II and space exploration. It ended with an oratorical flourish, declaring "this is the time to reignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit and to set our sights on the brightest star." But it was not at all clear that political foes in Washington were ready to follow.★
The following are excerpts from the remarks by U.S. President Trump in the State of the Union Address on Feb. 6, 2019. - Ed.
There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage, together, to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country. This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America's mission and the power of American pride. In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the "Great Crusade" - the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny. In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a centur later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin. Thank you, Buzz. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets. In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, redefined the middle class, and, when you get down to it, there's nothing anywhere in the world that can compete with America. Now we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century. An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within reach. We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before. But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good. Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make. We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness. Over the last two years, my administration has moved with urgency and historic speed to confront problems neglected by leaders of both parties over many decades. In just over two years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom - a boom that has rarely been seen before. There's been nothing like it. We have created 5.3 million new jobs and, importantly, added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs - something which almost everyone said was impossible to do. But the fact is, we are just getting started. Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades and growing for blue-collar workers, who I promised to fight for. They are growing faster than anyone else thought possible. Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office. And we are considered, far and away, the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Not even close. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century. African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in the history of our country - 157 million people at work. My administration has cut more regulations in a short period of time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to our historic reductions in taxes and regulations. And we have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way. We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad. This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate. In some cases, years and years waiting. Not right. The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and very unfair to our country. Now is the time for bipartisan action. Believe it or not, we have already proven that that's possible. In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new farm bill, historic VA reforms. And after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so that we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans. Now is the time for Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business. This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial wellbeing of all America. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. 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. Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration: reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools, hospitals that are so crowded you can't get in, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net. Tolerance for illegal immigr-ation is not compassionate; it is actually very cruel. My administration has sent to Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on the southern border. It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. 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. This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier - not just a simple concrete wall. It will be deployed in the areas identified by the border agents as having the greatest need. And these agents will tell you: Where walls go up, illegal crossings go way, way down. San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in our country. In response, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings. The border city of El Paso, Texas used to have extremely high rates of violent crime - one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put: Walls work, and walls save lives. So let's work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe. As we work to defend our people's safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace. No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year. Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA. I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other states whose dreams were shattered by the signing of NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would renegotiate for a better deal, but no one ever tried, until now. Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the USMCA, will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers like they haven't had delivered to for a long time. I hope you can pass the USMCA into law so that we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expand American agriculture, protect intellectual property, and ensure that more cars are proudly stamped with our four beautiful words: "Made in the USA." Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the exact same product that they sell to us. Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure. I know that Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill, and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including invest-ments in the cutting-edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity. The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and to protect patients with preexisting conditions. Already, as a result of my administration's efforts, in 2018, drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years. No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom. In recent years - in recent years, we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach. My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. We have made incredible strides. Incredible. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond. Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades. My budget will ask Congress for US$500 million over the next 10 years to fund this critical lifesaving research. To help support working parents, the time has come to pass School Choice for Americans' children. I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave, so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. 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. The final part of my agenda is to protect American security. Over the last two years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States military, with US$700 billion last year and US$716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. Finally. For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by friends of ours, members of NATO. But now we have secured, over the last couple of years, more than US$100 billion of increase in defense spending from our NATO Allies. They said it couldn't be done. As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art missile defense system. Under my administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests. For example, decades ago, the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capability. While we followed the agreement and the rules to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. It's been going on for many years. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty. Perhaps - we really have no choice. Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't - in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far. As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in more than 15 months. If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea. Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27th and 28th in Vietnam. America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country. One of the most complex set of challenges we face, and have for many years, is in the Middle East. Our approach is based on principled realism, not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my administration recognized the true capital of Israel, and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem. Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years. In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than US$7 trillion in fighting wars in the Middle East. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement, but we do know that, after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace. And the other side would like to do the same thing. It's time. Above all, friend and foe alike must never doubt this nation's power and will to defend our people. My administration has acted decisively to confront the world's leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran. It is a radical regime. They do bad, bad things. To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed by us on a country. We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants "Death to America" and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs. Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly, the train screeched to a very strong halt. A soldier appeared. Judah's family braced for the absolute worst. Then, his father cried out with joy, "It's the Americans! It's the Americans!" Thank you. When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war. They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this nation and generations yet unborn. Why did they do it? They did it for America. They did it for us. Everything that has come since - our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress towards equality and justice - all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before. Think of this Capitol. Think of this very Chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, and defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, and to face down evil empires. Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California. Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history. 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 squander our great inheritance or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans. We do the incredible. We defy the impos-sible. We conquer the unknown. This is the time to reignite 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.★