State of the Union Address Rundown

A close look at the highlights from the 2020 SOTU address


photo by Shealah Craighead

Tyler Boyles, Staff Writer

On Monday, February 3rd, the Iowa caucus was, by accounts from both the left and the right, a disaster for the Democrats. On Wednesday, February 6th, President Trump witnessed the Senate deliver an impeachment trial acquittal.

In between those two days, the President delivered his 4th State of the Union address.

Trump began the speech by touting his “blue collar boom” with repeated references to “record lows” during his victory lap about the economy. As he wrapped up, he fired shots at previous administrations, praising the changes he brought to Washington to bring the country back on track.

The Key Takeaways:

The President seemed to ignore Speaker Pelosi’s handshake, though he did not shake Vice-President Mike Pence’s hand, either. It was not clear what his intentions were.

Speaker Pelosi did not deliver the traditional introduction to the President.

Republicans chanted “four more years” when the President took the podium in a rally-like setting.

The President never mentioned the impeachment.

Democrats chanted “H.R. 3” in response to Trump’s thoughts on Medicare.

Trump attempted to paint the left as socialist.

Speaker Pelosi ripped up the President’s speech at its conclusion.

The Guests

Stephanie and Janiyah Davis, school choice advocates

Juan Guaido, recognized President of Venezuela

Kelli and Gage Hake, the family of a fallen soldier killed by Qasem Soleimani

Jody Jones, brother of a man victimized by an illegal alien

Iain Lanphier, aspiring astronaut and grandson of Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee, who was also present

Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk show host who would later receive the Medal of Freedom

Paul Morrow, a war veteran who has been creating jobs from the Opportunity Zones created by Trump’s tax bill

Carl and Marsha Mueller, parents of a Doctors without Borders worker who was killed by ISIS

Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz, US Border Patrol and Superior Civilian Service Medal recipient

Tony Rankins, war veteran who lost everything due to drug addiction because of PTSD, but took his life back after getting a job from Opportunity Zones.

Robin and Ellie Schneider, the latter born at 21 weeks, one of the youngest babies ever to survive, advocates for banning late-term abortion and greater neonatal funding.

The Williams Family, who have not seen their father/husband for many months because he was away at war, only to be reunited at the address.

Joshua Smith, brother of Channing Smith, who committed suicide after being bullied.

Ivan Simonovis, imprisoned for 15 years for protecting protesters in Venezuela.

The Policy

The President’s guests featured a wide variety of heroic stories. These guests were placed to capture the hearts of Americans while adding to the President’s record. Trump mentioned his pledge to pull out of wars, providing Syria as an example. Then he introduced the wife of a U.S. service member serving in Afghanistan, a guest of his sitting in the First Lady’s box, with Trump adding that she hadn’t seen her husband in seven months. Then, to their apparent surprise, the President called out the Army sergeant in a tearful reunion.

The President also provided an explanation of his decision to kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was responsible for the death of Staff Sergeant Hake, whose vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb supplied by Soleimani.

Trump also brought the spotlight back to the U.S. border, mentioning that illegal crossings have decreased by 75 percent since May — dropping eight straight months in a row. He then said, “And as the wall goes up, drug seizures rise, and border crossings go down.”

While on the topic of immigration, he brought the brother of a victim of an illegal immigrant who was set free by the “sanctuary city” policy. Along with him, Trump brought Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz, who seized over 200,000 pounds of poisonous narcotics with the help of his team.

As the President approached the end of the speech, he brought a bright and optimistic message: 56% of viewers believe that the speech will unite the country.

According to CBS , more than three quarters of viewers approved of the speech. Of the viewers, 43% were Republicans, 24% Democrats and 30% were Independents. Of those three groups, Republican approval was at 97%, Democrats at 30%, and Independents at 82%.

Trump also took a Kennedy-like approach when he called for America to spend more on space exploration. He said, “I am asking the Congress to fully fund the Artemis program to ensure that the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts — using this as a launching pad to ensure that America is the first nation to plant its flag on Mars.”

Each year, the State of the Union is largely reflective of what the budget will look like. With the new budget proposed on Monday, NASA would see a substantial boost.

The President then used the final part of his speech to push for unity and patriotism.

“We must keep America first in our hearts,” he said. “We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny that one nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise, and the light and the glory, among all the nations of the world.”