President Donald Trump gave his second State of the Union Address (SOTU) and his third speech before a joint session of Congress. Here are my top six moments.
1. Promoting a culture of life.
I was very pleased to hear President Trump address the infanticide comments during his SOTU. He said:
There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days.
Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.
These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and 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.
To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.
Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life
. Andlet us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.
2. Touting Criminal Justice Reform
I think this is one of the greatest accomplishments for Congress and the President in 2018. He was right to tout it. He said:
And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reform.
Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson. I was deeply moved
. In1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender.
Over the next two decades, she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path.
She had a big impact on that prison population — and far beyond.
Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing — and the need to remedy this injustice.
She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.
In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence –when I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the right thing — Alice is here with us tonight.
Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny.
Inspired by stories like Alice’s, my administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law.
This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community.
The First Step Act gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens.
Now, states across the country are following our lead.
America is a nation that believes in redemption.
We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee.
In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses.
Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates.
Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act.
Matthew, on behalf of All Americans: Welcome home.
3. Bashing Socialism
I imagine he was looking at U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) or Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) when he said these words:
Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Gwydo.
We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.
Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.
America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination
We are BORN FREE, and we will STAY FREE.
Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will NEVER be a socialist country.
Very happy to hear that commitment, but there is a lot of work to do among our youngest citizens to combat their mindboggling embrace of this failed economic policy.
4. Tying Border Security to Human Trafficking
President Trump needs to keep beating this drum. A secure border is necessary
Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel.
1 in 3 women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north.
Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country
. Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.
5. Condemns Anti-Semitism
In light of the BDS movement among Democrats, I was happy to hear President Trump highlight anti-semitism. He said:
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.
Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an Anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer.
Timothy has just had his 12th surgery — but he made the trip to be here with us tonight.
Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil
. Tonightwe are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began.
But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall — more than 7 decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps.
Today is Judah’s 81st birthday.
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 halt.
A soldier appeared.
Judah’s family braced for the worst.
Then, his father cried out with joy: “It’s the AMERICANS.”
A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp.
He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks.
“To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.”
I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War.
One of them was Herman Zeitchick.
But there is more to Herman’s story.
A year after he stormed the Beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American Soldiers who helped liberate Dachau.
He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth.
Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight –seated side-by-side, here in the home of American Freedom.
Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire nation.
6. Fighting Childhood Cancer
As the father of a cancer survivor, this is personal. I was thrilled to see childhood cancer research highlighted in President Trump’s SOTU. I was originally only going to highlight my top five moments, but I had to mention this. He said:
Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10-year-old girl, Grace Ee-line.
Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself.
Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Immediately, she began radiation treatment.
At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 dollars for the fight against cancer.
When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes as she hung up a poster that read: “Last day of Keemo.”
Grace — you are an inspiration to us all.
Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades.
My budget will ask Congress for $500 million dollars over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.
Note: The transcript of his remarks were provided by the White House as prepared