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Trump Hails 'Great American Comeback'

Rush Limbaugh received medal during SOTU address
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2020 8:28 PM CST

(Newser) – President Trump delivered his third State of the Union address less than 24 hours before the Senate was due to decide his fate in his impeachment trial. The president, speaking to a joint session of Congress, including the senators who are expected to acquit him on Wednesday, was greeted by Republican chants of "Four More Years." He declined to shake Nancy Pelosi's hand. "My fellow citizens, three years ago, we launched the great American comeback," he said. "Tonight I stand before you to share the incredible results." The president praised the strong economy and promised a "blazing bright" future. "We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never ever going back," he said. More:

  • Revived US economy. "From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the US economy—slashing a record number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements," said Trump, who claimed that the US economy is better than it has ever been. The AP notes that the economy is definitely healthy, though it has continued on an upward trajectory that started under former President Obama.

  • "Where the action is." "The fact is that everybody wants to be where the action is, and the United States of America is, indeed, the place where the action is," said Trump, hailing the return of manufacturing to the US and the USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA. "Unfair trade is perhaps the single biggest reason I decided to run for president," Trump said.
  • Venezuela's "true president." There was bipartisan applause when Trump introduced Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, one of his State of the Union guests, and called him the "true and legitimate president," the Guardian reports.
  • Space Force. Trump praised the creation of Space Force, introducing Ian, a 13-year-old from Arizona, who "aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the Space Force." And behind Ian was his 100-year-old great-grandfather: Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
  • Health care. Trump vowed to defend Medicare and Social Security, then denounced Democrats for "socialist" health care plans. "One hundred thirty-two lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our health care system, wiping out the private health insurance plans of 180 million Americans," he said. The New York Times considers the claim "weighted, but mostly true."
  • "HR3!" After Trump challenged Congress to send him legislation to lower drug prices, Democrats chanted the name of the drug price reduction bill the House passed in December that is now "untouched" in the GOP-controlled Senate, the AP reports.
  • Medal for Limbaugh. Trump not only announced that Rush Limbaugh would be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he had Melania Trump bestow it on Limbaugh during the address.
  • A "very powerful wall." Trump denounced "sanctuary city" policies and boasted of border wall progress. "As we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built," he said. "We have now completed over 100 miles and have over 500 miles fully completed in a very short period of time."
  • Democrats walk out. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan walked out of the chamber during the speech, saying he had "had enough" and it was all as fake as professional wrestling, the Guardian reports. He was soon followed by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who left after the president hailed Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
  • An "Oprah moment." In what critics described as an "Oprah moment," Trump introduced a military spouse and her two children, and then revealed that her husband, Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams, was back from Afghanistan, the BBC reports. There were chants of "USA" as the family was reunited in the gallery.
(Moments after Trump finished his remarks, Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of his speech.)

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