On Tuesday, February 4, President Trump addressed the nation in his third State of the Union speech. In what sounded much like a campaign speech, Trump touted his record on jobs and economic growth, claiming that he has created “the greatest economy that we’ve had in our history” (CNBC). He also promised to protect Social Security and private healthcare against proposed Democratic policies.
President Trump also recognized Venezuala’s Juan Guaido who is pushing to oust the current president, Nicolas Maduro. According to Trump, “Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who brutalizes his people. But Maduro’s grip of tyranny will be smashed and broken.” According to CNBC, the Trump administration has been increasing its pressure on Maduro with new sanctions and by supporting Guaido.
For the remainder of the night, partisanship prevailed. Among those in attendance was conservative radio personality host, Rush Limbaugh. On Monday, Limbaugh announced that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 advanced lung cancer and in response, Trump awarded Limbaugh with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. According to the White House, the Medal of Freedom is awarded to “individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” Trump spoke of Limbaugh’s charity efforts, but others felt that Limbaugh’s history of divisive and disparaging comments made him unfit for such an honor.
Perhaps the most memorable event of the night came after what seemed like a snub from Trump when House Speaker Pelosi attempted a handshake.
After Trump concluded his speech, Speaker Pelosi tore the speech in two. When asked why she did this, Pelosi responded, saying it was “the courteous thing to do given the alternatives,” adding that the speech was a “manifesto of mistruths.” While some applauded this act, others were highly critical, calling it childish and petty. By the end of the night, our country remained just as divided as ever.
Abby Haslem – Copy Editor