State of the Union addresses partisanship

Where last year’s State of the Union address was full of platitudes and boasts for a greater future, this year’s speech was much of the same, punctuated by talking points on “partisan investigations,” the economy, job opportunities and immigration to sum up the majority of President Donald Trump’s 82-minute speech.

The State of the Union address on Feb. 5 was delivered weeks after it was postponed due to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Right of the bat, Trump reiterated that his speech was “not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda,” but rather an American agenda.

As expected, he expressed his dissatisfaction over “partisan investigations” that has surrounded him and some of his associates over the past year.

“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. It just doesn’t work that way. We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad,” Trump said.

Another major theme throughout his speech was on the economy. Trump spoke proudly of the surge in job opportunities across the country.

“Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers, thanks to our historic reductions in taxes and regulations and we have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. And now for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy,” Trump said.

The big talking point was immigration — the issue that resulted in the month-long government shutdown. Trump urged his counterparts in the Senate and Congress to reach a compromise that ensures a wall is built along the southern border to prevent illegal immigration.

“This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier— not just a simple concrete wall. It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way, way down.”

Trump cited El Paso as a case study for his proposed immigration policy. He said, “The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime, one of the highest in the entire country and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.”

According to The Associated Press, that is a distorted quote on El Paso.

“El Paso has never been considered one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. In fact, its murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. The city has experienced ebbs and flows in violent crime but they have largely mirrored national trends and been under national averages for decades,” The Associated Press reported.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have until Feb.15 to find a security compromise. Otherwise, another shutdown could be likely.