Trump calls for bipartisanship, but holds on to divisive themes

In the State of the Union address, President presses hishard line on immigration, says he will get the wall built Speaking words of bipartisanship, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a State of the Union (SOTU) address that suggested he would continue to pursue policies that have most deeply divided the country. Standing in front of Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, Mr. Trump delivered an hour-and-twenty-minute speech that exposed, in parts, a chasm between his words and the reality of his governance. “Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one nation,” he said, adding, “…we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.” However, he quickly swivelled to the migrant caravan — a concept Mr. Trump has often used to fire up his voter base and back his claims for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well-being of all America,” Mr. Trump said. Mr. Trump called on his audience to “defend our very dangerous southern border” and portrayed the issue in class terms. “No issue better illustrated the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration.” Among the guests at Tuesday’s show were the family of a couple who had been killed allegedly by an “illegal alien”. Mr. Trump has frequently demonised illegal migrants to get support for his hardline on illegal immigration and his demand for a border wall, this despite data showing that more crimes are committed by native-born citizens than by undocumented migrants in the U.S. Smart barrier Of the border wall, Mr Trump said: “I’ll get it built”. His demand for a wall and the Democrats’ refusal to allow a physical structure across the 2,000-mile border had shut the government down for a record 35 days over December and January. The President and Congressional Republicans — not all of whom support his wall idea — will have to come up with a deal by February 15 when key parts of the federal government will run out of budgetary authorisation again. “This is a smart, strategic see-through steel barrier… deployed in the areas… having the greatest need,” Mr. Trump said of his proposal, suggesting that there may be scope for an agreement with Democrats who have showed a willingness to consider a “smart wall” and increased money for border security. In what appeared to be a thinly veiled threat to the ongoing Mueller investigation and Democrats who now chair powerful House oversight committees, Mr Trump said: “An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.” “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he added.

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