Circumstances added an extra dollop of drama to the State of the Union address delivered by President Trump last night. The White House has posted the video on YouTube; I have posted it below. RealClearPolitics has posted the transcript here.
In the modern tradition of SOTU speeches, this was an overlong address of many parts. The parts mostly fit together. Looking back at the first two years of his administration, he touted accomplishments at home and abroad.
The White House has posted profiles on the president’s “special guests” for the speech. These profiles provide a thematic key to the speech. I should note that several of the guests represent the president’s support of the “jailbreak” legislation that we oppose.
One such special guest escaped attention in the speech. He falls into a category of his own solely by virtue of his name: Trump. President Trump hosted young Joshua Trump (no relation): “Joshua Trump is a 6th grade student in Wilmington, Delaware. He appreciates science, art, and history. He also loves animals and hopes to pursue a related career in the future. His hero and best friend is his Uncle Cody, who serves in the United States Air Force. Unfortunately, Joshua has been bullied in school due to his last name. He is thankful to the First Lady and the Trump family for their support.”
The state of the union is good and getting better, but the left is full of hate. Bullying is the name of their game.
Among the notable themes of the speech: the economic success of Trump’s domestic policy, the continuing crisis of illegal immigration (“working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration — reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net. Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel…”) and related issues, trade policies, and opposition to socialism.
I found a few discordant notes as he went along, but I want to highlight one especially important theme. President Trump has taken a lot of unjustified grief for alleged anti-Semitism. What a farce.
Last night the president recognized individual Holocaust survivors among his special guests, but he went beyond gestures. He expressed support of the Jewish people and opposition to anti-Semitism (see, e.g., the case of Iran). He mentioned his support of Israel as well. The Jewish theme made for a powerful motif. Here he knit together Trump foreign policy with recognition of a law enforcement hero:
My Administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran.
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 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.
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.
He wasn’t done:
Tonight, we 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 seven 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 Zeitchik. 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.
All in all, an excellent speech with many highlights.
Quotable quote: “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, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”