Trump Calls for Unity in Maiden State of the Union Address

Donald Trump has called for unity in his maiden State of the Union Address, calling on Republicans and Democrats to work together in “building a safe, strong and proud America”.

The US President said he was “extending an open hand” as a unifying figure, urging both sides to come together to build the nation.

“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people,” Mr Trump said in the one hour and 20 minute speech in the House of Representatives.

“Tonight I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, colour and creed.”

“Let’s come together, set politics aside and finally get the job done.”

He also implored the nation to join together as “one team, one people and one American family”, as many as 40 million television viewers tuned in to the annual address.

Mr Trump’s upbeat speech came following his tumultuous first year in office, using the speech to overcome doubts about his presidency amid connections to Russia during his election campaign and low approval ratings.

However, Mr Trump said “there has never been a better time to start living the American dream,” following improvements to the economy.

He said 2.4 million jobs had been created during his first year and unemployment was at a 17-year low as the country recovers from the recession of 10 years ago.

The stock market has also soared since he came to office.

He also confirmed his plan to rebuild the US’s roads and infrastructure, but did not provide details.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump announced he was aiming for a compromise on protecting 1.8 million “Dreamers” immigration deal, offering an olive branch to immigrants who entered the US illegally.

He said he would provide them a path to citizenship over 10 to 12 years in exchange for funding over a border wall with Mexico.

However, his “down-the-middle compromise” received boos from Democrats when he said he wanted to end “chain migration”, where legal immigrants brought wide-ranging numbers of family members into the country.

Mr Trump also condemned North Korea’s leadership, calling it “depraved”.

He claimed Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program remained a threat to the country.

“North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland,” Mr Trump said.

“We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening.”

“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.”

Mr Trump also revealed nearly all Syria and Iraq territory controlled by Islamic State had been retaken.

“We will continue our fight until (Islamic State) is defeated,” he said.

Division remained as Republican politicians cheered during his speech while Democrats remained silent, occasionally booing Mr Trump’s speech.

Massachusetts Democratic congressman Joseph Kennedy III criticised the president , speaking for “Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken”, calling Mr Trump’s presidency “ as “chaos”.

He said many Americans had “spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid” during the first year of Mr Trump’s presidency.

“Bullies may land a punch,” Mr Kennedy said.

“But they have never, not once in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defence of their future.

 

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