State of the Union: Wrap-up

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On the Wednesday January 31st, 2018 edition of WITF’s Smart Talk:

President Donald Trump called on Congress to permanently fix the nation’s immigration system in his first official State-of-the-Union Address Tuesday night.  Trump indicated that his main duty was to protect Americans and talked about immigrant gangs coming into the country who had harmed Americans.  Trump also wants to find a solution to the DACA issue — foreign born people who were brought to the U.S. as children but could be deported if Congress doesn’t meet a March deadline.

President Trump’s State-of-the-Union was one of the longest in history.  He spent most of it touting successes during his first year in office.  Trump pointed to the massive tax cut for businesses and individuals he signed into law last month and heralded the booming economy — saying the stock market had set records and unemployment was low.

The president called for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure upgrade and a build-up of the military.

Democratic members of Congress in the audience were cool to Trump’s speech.  Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey said “Donald Trump’s presidency has been a series of broken promises to the middle class and workers, a fact which tonight’s address did not change.”

On Wednesday’s Smart Talk we discuss the State-of-the Union with David O’Connell, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Dickinson College and Kyle Kopko, Associate Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College.

We encourage you to weigh in on how you see the state of the union as well.

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Kyle Kopko, Associate Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College / David O’Connell, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Dickinson College


State of the Union – 

I was most shocked by this line, which appears to be making an argument for letting politics determine who can work for government:

“So tonight I call on Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust, or fail the American people.”

 I haven’t hear much comment on this, but his words are so decisive, I’m not sure why we’re not paying more attention. – Tim

While democrats and republicans have plenty to disagree about, there were points in the speech that both sides can agree on. It’s a shame that the democrats official response to the speech couldn’t leap on at least one point. We are all very aware of our differences of opinions. Let’s talk about what we agree on. Just ignore the non-starters and focus on getting infrastructure done! – Bill 

I haven’t heard anyone talk about the unspoken part of his speech.  What I saw in his body language spoke volumes.  He looked at the Republican side of the House for almost the entire speech EXCEPT when he was admonishing/chastising/challenging Democrats.  His eyes, his expressions were not welcoming or showed any interest in talking to Democrats.  He was physically only talking to Republicans, to those who he thinks approve of the agenda. – Jeff

Tax give away ruined an infrastructure bill.  New funding stream… de criminalize marijuana. – Chris

I noticed that the president’s wife, Melania, was not standing or applauding at least a few times when the cameras cut to her, the people around her were standing and applauding; do your guests know if “not standing” is a first lady tradition? – Listener

How does increasing nuclear arsenal make us safer? In fact, it makes us less safe? Does he expect to sell it all down the line? – Diane