This week in politics: Trump’s SOTU, Rush Limbaugh’s Medal of Freedom, the National Prayer Breakfast clash, and more
President Trump delivered his third State of the Union address in the House chamber of the United States Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 4 on the cusp of his impeachment trial and just a day before the Senate voted down his impeachment charges.
Trump said the economy is the best it has ever been, with a rebuilt and unmatched military, secure borders, flourishing families, renewed values and restored pride. Republican members in the room chanted “four more years!” as he entered the chamber. During the State of the Union, Trump made no mention of the upcoming election in November or the impeachment trial, according to NPR.
“The state of our union is stronger than ever before,” Trump said at the beginning of his address. “The vision I will lay out this evening demonstrates how we are building the world’s most prosperous and inclusive society, one where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success and where every community can take part in America’s extraordinary rise.”
Trump said his administration launched the “great American comeback” three years ago and cited that jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and the country is thriving and highly respected again.
Trump honored special guests throughout the speech, including syndicated conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, who announced Monday that he has advanced-stage lung cancer. The president asked first lady Melania Trump to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to Limbaugh.
President Trump recognized fourth grader Janiyah Davis from Philadelphia and gave her a scholarship to go to a school of her choice. Trump also honored the family of Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Hake, who was killed during his second tour of duty in Iraq, 2-year-old Ellie Schneider, who was born at just 21 weeks and six days and beat the odds to survive, along with several other special guests.
Sergeant First Class Townsend Williams returned from his fourth deployment and surprised his wife Amy and their two young children during the State of the Union address as they reunited in the House gallery.
Trump also honored one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airman, 100-year-old retired Brigadier General Charles McGee who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. McGee participated in the Super Bowl LIV’s coin toss and had his stars pinned to his uniform in the Oval Office the day of the address, according to WhiteHouse.gov. Trump also honored McGee’s great-grandson, Ian Lanphier, who was the top graduate of the Aerospace Career Education program, which is sponsored by Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and many female Democrat lawmakers wore white to the State of the Union to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, while some Democratic lawmakers refused to attend the address.
Trump’s speech reflected his “unbridled optimism” and hope for America’s future, as he praised the economy, a low unemployment rate, pro-life initiatives, the military, opportunity zones, school choice and other accomplishments during his administration.
“The American age, the American epic, the American adventure has only just begun. Our spirit is still young. The sun is still rising. God’s grace is still shining and, my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come,” Trump said.
At the conclusion of the speech, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ripped her copy of the transcript of President Trump’s speech in half, calling it a “manifesto of mistruths” on Twitter. The GOP introduced a resolution to condemn Pelosi for this action, which was rejected in a 224 to 193 party-line vote Thursday.
At the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning, Trump celebrated the impeachment vote by waving a newspaper with “ACQUITTED” as the headline. He then criticized those who use their faith as justification for doing what is wrong and the people who say they will pray for you and do not, referring to Sen. Mitt Romney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Christian leaders and voices on both sides of the aisle commented on these remarks made at a traditionally non-partisan event, according to ABC News. At the end of the speech, Trump offered an apology for his words.
“I’m trying to learn. It’s not easy,” he said. “When they impeach you for nothing and then you’re supposed to like them, it’s not easy folks. I do my best.”
Emily Wood is the Editor-in-Chief. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRWood17