- Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
President Donald Trump delivered his first major address to a joint-session of Congress amid internal Republican confusion about how the administration will pursue some of its major legislative priorities.
In contrast to the dark message of his inauguration speech, which argued that America was engulfed by “carnage,” the speech struck a slightly lighter tone, focusing on the policy objectives the president wishes to accomplish over the next year on issues like international trade, military, and the economy.
“American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice – in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world,” Trump said. “I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.”
His guests – several family members of Americans killed by immigrants living in the US without permission – signaled that Trump would discuss immigration and border security in his address, which ran over 4,000 words. Trump indeed emphasized he would begin construction on his proposed border wall, and promised to continue increased immigration enforcement.
“As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised,” Trump said.
The speech came as the new administration has gotten a slow start on major legislative initiatives, which account for a large chunk of any president’s state of the union.
In his first month in office, Trump has been slow to pursue his goals in Congress, opting for smaller executive actions aimed at federal government reforms. This is partially the result of divides within the Republican caucus over how to replace former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.