Trump’s State of the Union Address Simplified

Focusing on the bigger claims and what experts have to say on them


Image Credit: Official White House Photographer Shealah Craighead.

President Donald Trump gave the State of the Union Address for 2019 on Jan. 5 and several claims were made in just under 90 minutes.

Trump opened by calling for unity. He asked that Congress not govern as two parties and that it govern as one nation instead.

Eliana Johnson reported that this was rare and was not the approach Trump had taken with Chuck Shumer before the address, while Kamala Harris said that Trump would make “insincere appeals to unity” before he gave the speech.

Nonetheless, Trump continued this call for unity.

“Many of us have campaigned on the same core promises, to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers, to rebuild and revitalize our nation’s infrastructure, to reduce the price of health care and prescription drugs, to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure, and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America’s interests first,” he said.

For the economy, Trump’s figures of $5.3 million new jobs and 600,000 new manufacturing jobs were contested by those pointing to the Bureau of Labor Statistics which shows figures closer to $4.8 to $4.9 million and 436,000 manufacturing jobs.

Other sources verify that the economy is growing and meeting Trump’s goals for economic growth, and point to 4.2 percent growth in GDP.

The talks of unity were then put on hold during Trump’s address.

“If there is going to be peace in legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just does not work that way. We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad,” Trump said.

Regarding the law, Trump spoke on passing legislation to help nonviolent offenders through the “First Step Act,” which he signed into law on Dec. 21. It holds a 60 percent approval rating according to polls.

In reference to immigration, Trump’s claim that 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted heading to America was verified by sources. His later claim on trafficking was considered “dangerous,” however.

Doctors Without Borders reported in 2017 that of 467 migrants, 17 percent of males and 31 percent of female migrants said they were abused while traveling through Mexico.

In a letter, 80 anti-trafficking organizations had group representatives call Trump’s statements on trafficking “dangerous and destructive.” They said most victims enter on visas that expire and others argue that Trump’s version of their struggle is closer to Hollywood than reality.

Two other important developments are the new efforts to get rid of the HIV epidemic and to start paid leave for families.

“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,” Trump said.

This goal can realistically be achieved as well, since the World Health Organization has set the same goal. The WHO will work to end HIV transmission by 2030 though making prevention and medicine available.

Regarding paid leave, he said he was the first to budget for it.

“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,” he said.

He followed that claim with some emotionally charged words regarding abortion, but for more on that and the speech there are numerous in-depth articles on CNN, Politico, Fox, NPR, Washington Post and USA Today for reference.