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The Seattle Collegian

News Central To You

April 25, 2019

Photo Credit: SOTU

The Breakdown – SOTU Edition


The following is a live-stream text reaction to the State of the Union address given by President Trump earlier this week. Two people from the paper sat down at their computers in separate parts of the city, decided to imbibe in some spirits and rip on the President as a way of dealing with their frustrations with the administration in a lighthearted manner. Here’s what happened:

[Photo: The NEW White Party]

Tiffany: That’s hilarious Rick Perry is the Designated Survivor… at least he’s been on Dancing with the Stars, so he’s obviously prepared for a position as commander-in-chief.

Tess: Lol.  So we’ll be in good shape if they take out everyone else.

Tiffany: Better shape than we are in now. That’s great to see so many women in suffragette white, as an act of solidarity amongst democratic women.

[Photo: Democratic women in suffragette white at SOTU]

Tess: No clue. Looks like lots of women to me. Why does Pence always look like he’s demonically possessed?

Tiffany: Because he is possessed… he’s evil.

[in response to announcers discussing the rise of Antifa etc]

Tess: It’s wild if you start verbally attacking people and calling them horrible things and whatever, at some point, those people start punching back.  Shocking. I’m shocked.

Tiffany: They do? I’m shocked.

Tess: We are BOTH SO SHOCKED.

Tiffany: Look at Brett! Why doesn’t he have a beer in his hand? Where’s PJ? Tobin? Squee?

Tess: He almost looks sober, even!

Tiffany: I wouldn’t go that far… he looks pretty happy. How could he be happy unless he’s drunk…

Tess: Good point.  He’s probably had a few.  His cheeks are so pink! Oh look it’s Melanie!*

[ed: *Trump has called Melania “Melanie” in tweets]

Tiffany: I was hoping she was going to wear white, but I guess her jailer wouldn’t let her.

Tess: No such luck, no. She also always looks so dead inside.

Tiffany: She isn’t exactly a beacon for women’s liberation, but it’s ok – Be Best!

Tess: Uh yeah no, not even remotely. Pelosi is in a nice creamy off-white.  Almost an ecru. Eggshell?

Tiffany: Nice to see her in something other than purple – standing with the Dems is good! The men should have worn white suits… linen. Like a beach trip to democracy.

Tess: That would’ve looked SO GOOD. T minus 1 minute…..

Tiffany: Steve Munchin makes me happy I’m a lesbian, just the sight of him.

Tess: Ugh yes.

Tess: POOOOOOMP AND CIRCUMSTAAAAAAAANCE

Tiffany: Here comes the giant peach. ITMFA – impeach the mother fucker already.

Tess: He needs to be in the dictionary under backpfeifengesicht… which I think I almost spelled right.  “A face in need of a fist”

Tiffany: LOL. His face isn’t super orange tonight, that’s a pleasant change. Wait… never mind – sweaty needs a wipe down.

Tess: Yeah I think it’s relative and depends on the lighting… But he’s not the MOST orange I’ve ever seen him.

Tiffany: OMG he’s already running 5 min late stop shaking hands and get on with it. Glad there’s a disabled person up front so he can mock someone.

Tess: What’s with his fuckin’ boring ass red ties?  Does he literally only have one kind of tie????  Of course, it’s also wildly crooked. Who dressed this man?  Who let him go out in public looking like this? Theory 1: not Melania.  Theory 2: Definitely Melania.

Tiffany: He used to have his own line of them, you think he could get more creative. I think he’s just channeling the MAGA vibes. You know that’s killing Nancy to stand and clap.

Tess: She’s a professional, she can do this.  Yes, it hurts but she is a warrior.

Tiffany: Did someone say, Hillary? WHERE? I don’t see her. Is she in white? Why isn’t he locking her up? Oops, my mistake. No Hillary.

Tess: Fuck his awful voice omg I wasn’t ready there is not enough tequila in all the world for what is about to happen to us. LOL

Tiffany: I hate to legitimize it by watching, but this is the price we pay for being informed citizens.

“We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation.”

Tess: He said “potential!” It’s got three syllables!

Tiffany: Unlimited potential, wtf? He doesn’t deserve to be in that great chamber

Tess: They’re gonna have to bleach it after he leaves.

Tiffany: Those Dems need to sit their asses back down. Trump is a hypocrite, they shouldn’t encourage his lying with their applause.

Tess: He’s doing a “good job” so far reading his script.

Tiffany: He’s pretty boring when he reads from a teleprompter, I hope he goes rogue.

[Photo: Democratic women dressed in white at the SOTU, looking deeply unimpressed.]

Tess: That sea of women in white with MAJOR RBF is so great.

Tiffany: Seeing those women makes me want to cry.

Tess: I mean yes, also crying.  But they look supremely unimpressed.

Tiffany: Yeah it’s a powerful look, but I am saddened that what enabled them to get to the capitol is all of the misogyny in politics that necessitated a blue wave. It’s great, but such a rocky road.

[Photo: view of the audience for the SOTU from behind; the Democratic women in white are grouped to the left, providing a visual juxtaposition to the man at the dais; House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi is a single figure in white next to the President. This could be a Renaissance painting.]

Tess: He flares his hands it’s so weird.  Flare. Flare. Flare. Oh, there goes the hand moving sideways.

Tiffany: Why is he talking about D-Day with his tiny hands… oh, military heroes – OH SIT DOWN!

“In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Great Crusade — the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny. Here with us tonight are three of those heroes: Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik. Gentlemen, we salute you.”

Tess: Those dudes are NOT into this.  Look at that. They deserve so much better than this.

“In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.”

Tess: Buzz Aldrin is there looking pissy as shit!  I love that man. AMERICAN ROCKETS.  Because the rockets we used before were definitely not made by/in the US….   https://www.space.com/29295-rocket-history.html

“There’s nothing anywhere in the world that can compete with America”  That’s… not really a sentence? Nothing? You mean nowhere?

[Photo: Buzz Aldrin flew all the way to the moon and back just so he could stand here and listen to the world’s least coherent world leader barely string words together on a topic vastly beyond his comprehension. We feel you, Buzz.]

Tiffany: SPACE FORCE

Tess: He just says words and has no idea what they mean.

“But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.”

Tess: Yeah, you could start by leading by example, my dude.

Tiffany: Nancy is reading – she doesn’t give a fuck! Do you think he reads these speeches first? Oh, he sure as hell isn’t bridging a damn thing!!

Tess: He can barely read, I doubt he does.  He might skim them. AOC IN THE HOUSE BABY!!! Who did not stand btw?

[Photo: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seated, while others stand and applaud. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, is the youngest sitting member of congress; she unseated incumbent House Democrat Joe Crowley in a surprise upset during the 2018 midterms.]

“In just over 2 years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom — a boom that has rarely been seen before. We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs — something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.”

Tiffany: I didn’t catch it. “Choose greatness”… oh, the lady in blue is sitting and not standing. OMG don’t you talk about your administration dealing with stuff others haven’t … BOOM my ass. 5.3 million new jobs? Sure because you had anything to do with that. Can we get a fact check on those numbers – wages are going up because of people like Bernie Sanders fighting for a living minimum wage – nothing to do with Trump Admin.

Tess: Politifact says 5.3 million new jobs since Trump was elected; 4.9 million new jobs since he took office.  The new job trend started in 2010 under President Obama and after the end of the The Great Recession.

“Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else. Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history — 157 million.”

Tiffany: Yes for sure – like unemployment that low? I mean I’m sure that’s possible.

Tess: FACT-CHECK: Again, Politifact identifies the decreasing unemployment as a trend that began under President Obama and has since continued, and also mentions that it’s not realistic to give presidents either full credit or full blame for unemployment numbers.  Additionally, having VERY low unemployment numbers isn’t actually good either, it means that people are staying at their jobs instead of seeking new once, probably because they feel too financially insecure to risk looking for something new and better.  

Tiffany: And how are those numbers on unemployment for the disabled? No way… and I’m sorry during the infrastructure boom in the Truman era I feel like more people were working.

Tess: BULL FUCKING SHIT.                                                                                                                                                                                                                ADDED FACT-CHECK: On wages: The recent wage increases were faster under, again, President Obama in the latter half of 2014, and were steeper even than that in the 1990’s under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

Tiffany: And even if more people are working, the inflation rates have made it so more people HAVE to work to support their families. Less unemployment and more jobs because people are working 5 jobs

Tess: This guy makes me feel queasy.  I think it’s all the lies.

“We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit. We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms. We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty — and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed right to try. My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.”

Tiffany: Going after the ACA hasn’t helped anyone… I need to look up “right to try” what is that? I don’t know if he should be bragging about cutting regulations

Tess: Right to try (click here) is the bill that makes it so people trying experimental treatments can’t receive compensation.  It’s fucking crap (more here).

ADDED FACT-CHECK: Basically, the “Right to Try” bill makes it possible for terminally ill patients to access experimental treatments that haven’t passed through all three phases of clinical testing.  Which sounds like it should kind of be a good thing since they’re dying anyway, why not try random shit, right? But actually, patients have always had access to this through the Expanded Access Program, which has a 99% approval rate from the FDA.  So really the RTT act circumvents the protections of the FDA by exposing people in already vulnerable medical and emotional states to treatments that could worsen their condition or kill them outright, without any legal recourse. So fuck that. Medical ethicists and universities are all against this thing.

We have unleashed a revolution in American energy — the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.”

Tess: Well that’s not gonna last.  

ADDED FACT-CHECK: Also, it’s not true: yet.  We’re on track to be a net energy exporter by 2020, something that hasn’t happened since 1953.   Right now it depends significantly on the form of energy; we export much more coal than we import, but we still import more petroleum and liquid gas than we export.  We do produce more than anyone else, but we also use more than anyone else. (ref: Politifact)

Tiffany: No it isn’t – it doesn’t sound accurate either.

After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day. Members of Congress: the State of our Union is strong. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.”

Tiffany:  Ok military power, sure. Big dick swinging, ‘merica, yeah winning. Ok, get some Tiger Blood.

Tess: UGH.  Here it goes.  So. Gross. “My military is more powerful than your military.”  Gag.

Chanting: “USA! USA! USA”

Trump: “That sounds so good.”

Tiffany: He has the best words though OMG they are not chanting USA, are they in high school, sounds like a football game.

Tess: Are you fucking kidding me.  It’s become a sportsball rally. Did he just nut?

Tiffany: My sportsball is better than your sportsball… I hope he talks about CHINA… CHI-nah. How can he talk about ridiculous partisan politics when his shutdown was at the root of it?

On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone — almost double what was expected. 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.”

Tiffany: Oh buddy, it DOES work that way.

Tess: Oh here we go.  The Mueller probe.  I knew he couldn’t stay away from that.  Also, boy, is that just the definition of fascism or what?  What “foolish war” is he talking about? We’ve been fucking around in the Middle East for twenty fucking years now.  Is there some new fucked up war thing we’re gonna go do?

Tiffany: No way he would ignore the chance to talk about it – if he wants bipartisan action he shouldn’t shut down the government for a dumbass wall

Tess: He’s so fucking predictable.  It’s all ego and a game and score keeping.  None of this is any kind of “morals”, he doesn’t have any, it’s “you’re keeping my stuff from happening”.

This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate — some after years of waiting. The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and to our country. Now is the time for bipartisan action. Believe it or not, we have already proven that it is possible. In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new Farm Bill, historic VA reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.”

Tiffany: Draft dodger… (not that I blame him, but don’t talk about vets like that when you’re a draft dodger).

Tess: They’re just a piece of leverage.  He brings them out when he wants to look like he does the right thing.  He obviously doesn’t actually care.

Tiffany: Hey it’s the Kardashian criminal they released!

Tess: “I heard through friends”? He has friends?

Tiffany: Yeah Kanye and Kim… the type of friends all President’s should have. Does she know she is just being used as a pawn? At least she got released from prison. She didn’t deserve to be there anyway. 

Tess: Look at him squint trying to figure out the words he’s supposed to say. Ugh Jared.  UGH IVANKA.

And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking criminal justice reform. Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson. I was deeply moved. In 1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender. Over the next two decades, she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path. She had a big impact on that prison population — and far beyond. Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing — and the need to remedy this injustice. She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.”

Tess: She ALSO deserves so much better than this tangerine corpuscle of a biped.

Tiffany: Has anyone ever heard Jared talk?

Tess: I don’t know?  Maybe? I think I have but I can’t remember.

“In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence — and she is here with us tonight. Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny. When I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the right thing. Inspired by stories like Alice’s, my Administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law. This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community. The First Step Act gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. Now, States across the country are following our lead. America is a Nation that believes in redemption.”

Tess: WHAT’S THE FUCKING CATCH.

[Photo: Alice Johnson had her life sentence commuted by Trump; hundreds of thousands of others remain incarcerated for similar non-violent crimes and the school-to-prison pipeline feeds a supply of people of color into the for-profit prison industry which utilizes inmates for dangerous and extremely underpaid labor like fighting wildfires in California.]

We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee. In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses. Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates. Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act. Matthew, on behalf of all Americans: welcome home.”

[Photo: Matthew Charles. He completed Bible studies. More impressively, he became a law clerk. Released due to the newly-signed First Step Act, legal experts are unsure as to what effect Charles’ case will have in the future.]

Tiffany: Since when does Trump give a shit about bible studies? And why does a bible study get you out of jail? Priests diddle kids… they have lots of bible studies.

Tess: Point. I think you’re like three to five seconds ahead of me in the stream, it’s funny.  It’s like I get a preview of what’s about to happen via your reaction.

As we have seen, when we are united, we can make astonishing strides for our country. Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis. Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our Government, protect our homeland, and secure our southern border. Now is the time for the Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.”

Tiffany: Coyotes and YUMAN traffickers lol.

Tess: EYEROLL

As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States. We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught.”

Tiffany: NO not the caravan again, they’re coming for us! Immigrants come for jobs to send money home and for a better life, not kill us… troops at the border again for immigration? WHY!?

Tess: Look at those head shakes.

“TREMENDOUS.”

[Photo: Kamala Harris radiating all that is beautiful in the world at SOTU]

Tiffany:  Kamala Harris looking very presidential.

Tess: Oh my god yes she is.  President Harris 2020 pretty please. UGH I LOVE HER.

[Photo: California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. Harris served as the Attorney General of California, as well as the District Attorney of San Francisco before that. She has just released her intent to run for President under the Democratic Party in the primaries in 2020. She’s a total badass and is looking at Trump the way a lazy but mildly bored and potentially hungry python looks at the world’s stupidest orange rabbit.]

“This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well‑being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.””

Tiffany: Does he not understand that presenting yourself at a US border asking for asylum is actually the LEGAL way to do it?

Tess: No.  He’s really dumb, remember?  Like, unbelievably stupid. How soon before he wraps this shit up?

No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards. Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration — reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net. Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country. Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.”

Tess: Oh my god I almost can’t even with this.  He lives in a fucking tower all the time.

Tiffany: YEAH HE SEXUALLY ASSAULTS WOMEN! Grabbing them by the pussy is sexual assault.

[Photo: Recently elected House Representatives Deb Haaland (left), a Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico, and Sharice Davids (right), a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Kansas, looking entirely unamused by the grotesque spectacle parading as our country’s leader. Davids is also the first openly gay person to represent the state of Kansas, and is also a mixed-martial arts fighter. I would not like her to be looking at ME with that expression, I tell you what.]

Tess: Warren looks so irritated. YUMAN # 2

Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities — including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they’re going to keep streaming back in. Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.”

Tiffany: Is he going to start talking about the plot to Sicario 2 again? Yeah, we know MS13 killed someone in NY… NY is not the border.

Tess: Are we?  Really? Maybe we should make drugs even more illegal, that’s definitely been working really well.

Tiffany: I want to vomit. Yeah, doesn’t he realize if they legalize everything they can tax the fuck out of it and reduce the debt?

Tess: LOL he can barely pronounce her name.

Tiffany: Catch that? Tiffany Trump wearing WHITE!!!!

[Photo: Tiffany Trump is Donald Trump’s fourth child and only child by Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples. Her three older half-siblings are Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, and her younger half-sibling is Barron, Trump’s son with current wife, Melania. Tiffany was raised by her mother in California, which was a much better option than the alternative, clearly. Like the female Democratic House Representatives, she’s wearing all white. Was that on purpose, Tiffany?]

Tess: GO TIFFANY!!!! WOOOOOOOO! I wonder if he’s going to disown her once he’s out of office. What does Pence have up his butt?  It looks very uncomfortable. He should probably prepare more and use lube next time.

In the last 2 years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings. We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes: ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez. When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent. Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking. Elvin says: “If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve done my job.” Thanks to his work and that of his colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from horror and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars in the last year.”

[Photo: Elvin Hernandez, Immigration & Customs Enforcement Special Agent. ICE was formed in 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11th attack, under the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. Undocumented immigrants in the US are statistically less likely to commit violent crimes than native-born citizens. ICE is currently responsible for separating children from their parents at the border, putting them in cages, and then losing track of them.]

Tiffany: Those numbers he spouted are completely incorrect, they disputed that on every late night talk show weeks ago.

Tess: I don’t like it when he says the word “sex” in relation to “trafficking”.  He looks like he likes saying it a little too much. HOW LONG DOES THIS GO ON?

Special Agent Hernandez, please stand: We will always support the brave men and women of Law Enforcement — and I pledge to you tonight that we will never abolish our heroes from ICE.”

Tiffany: What does it even mean he won’t ever “abolish our heroes from ICE”, wtf does that mean? He’s abolishing people now?

Tess: I think there are calls to abolish ICE as an institution.  It’s a pretty new institution.

Tiffany: Build a wall… blah blah… As an institution, yes. Not the people that work for it, the INSTITUTION, he’s so dumb. Ted Cruz needed that beard years ago.

Tess: He should have it all over his face.  Like up to his forehead would be good.

Tiffany: Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in the country. In response, and at the request of San Diego residents and political leaders, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.”

Tess: KAMALA HARRIS’ FACE IS MY FAVORITE SONG.

[Photo: Kamala Harris. Clearly, we’ve got a major crush on her. Here she is, looking both extremely skeptical and almost amused at the level of ignorance on display.]

The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country and considered one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”

Tiffany: Pass the Old El Paso, taste the old southwest, pass the Old El Paso, taste our very best. This throwback Tuesday presented to you by Old El Paso brand salsa.

My Administration has sent to the Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border. It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built. 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 as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.”

Tess: HE IS SO DUMB JESUS I CAN’T EVEN.  It hurts my brain to listen to him

If walls worked we would already have them.  They are expensive. They are static. They can be defeated. Maginot line anyone?  Berlin wall? The Great Wall required constant presence to keep the Mongols from simply going over it. A wall by itself is fucking useless.

Tiffany: Those women weren’t standing for him… they’re standing AGAINST him, how does he not realize that?

[Photo: The sea of Democratic women in white standing, cheering, clapping, pumping arms, and generally being loud and celebratory. Democrats took the majority of the House in the 2018 midterms which gives them the much need financial oversight over the current administration, amongst other various legal leverage. Consider this group the biggest, most epic cock-block party of the decade; nay, century!]

Tess: They had their backs turned!

Tiffany: He’s too cocky.

No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before — and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.”

[Photo: Full audience view in the capitol at SOTU]

Tess: PUNCH HIM. YEAH THEY TOOK YOUR HOUSE YOU FUCKER. Smoke THAT!

Chanting: USA! USA! USA! USA!

Tiffany: Oh god it’s sportsball again.

Tess: Oh Lord.  That makes me ACTUALLY queasy.  It’s so… cult-like.

To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount — reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.

We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.

Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods — and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime. But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us — I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.”

Tiffany: CHINA! I had money on China, how much do you owe me? $1 each time he says it… there’s another dollar.

Tess: I did not agree with this bet.  Did not consent!

Tiffany: I think that sounds a lot like our current government – no consent! Too bad, I said it outloud so it counts, Trump said build a wall, no take-backs. This is kindergarten governing, rules go by who shouts loudest.

Tess: …..I see.  Well, I guess I’ll bring you what, $3 tomorrow?

Tiffany: I’m hoping we’ll get to $10, I love the way he says CHI-nah.

Tess: You know Alec Baldwin does such a great impersonation of that particular phrase.

Tiffany: I’ll pay out for the irritating “USA” chanting. I love Alec Baldwin’s Trump, it’s toooo good.

Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA. I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other States whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried — until now. Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — or USMCA — will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA. Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.”

Tess: You know, we made cars for a long time but I mean other countries are just more invested in manufacturing and they do it better than we do.  We need to invest not just in facilities but also in skilled workers.

Tiffany: BTW this fucker knows nothing about how tariffs work.

Tess: Of course not.  Remember the part where he’s dumber than the human brain can comprehend?

Tiffany: I’m amazed he has prehensibility and opposability of his thumbs.

Tess: Plus he can walk on two legs.  It’s incredible. I don’t think the FBI or whoever is prepared to handle Arnold Schwarzenegger come back to save humanity.  I haven’t seen Terminator though.

Tiffany: How have you not seen that movie?!?! Yeah if we’re going to have a republican in office, I’ll take Arnold. I don’t care he wasn’t born here… at least he’s progressive socially. He can come back and save us all. Or go forward. The Terminator timeline is pretty confusing, actually.

Tess: Ditto.  I want a dollar for every time he says “yuman”.  I had no idea he said it like that. It’s amazing.

No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom. In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach. My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.”

Tiffany: OMG you know he doesn’t know what HIV and AIDS are, he asked Bill Gates about the difference between HIV and HPV. It was epic

Tess: This speech has literally no cohesion.  It’s so random. We talk about the economy and trade policy and then various health epidemics and drugs and justice reform and BACK TO TRADE POLICY and now children with cancer and I just can’t keep up.  Who the fuck wrote this?

Tonight, I am also asking you to join me in another fight that all Americans can get behind: the fight against childhood cancer. Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10-year-old girl, Grace Eline. Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself. Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer. Immediately, she began radiation treatment. At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 for the fight against cancer. When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes as she hung up a poster that read: “Last Day of Chemo.” Grace — you are an inspiration to us all.”

Tiffany: Also, what 4 yr old asks for donations to St Jude and not toys, that’s the parents, not the kids doing that.

Tess: Probably not, no.  I certainly wouldn’t have at 4. 

[Photo: Grace Eline has been raising money for children with cancer since she was 4 years old. When I was 4, I was playing in the mud with sticks.]

 

Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades. My budget will ask the Congress for $500 million over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.”

Tiffany: $500 mil for cancer but $5.7 billion for a wall? Great idea, that makes so much sense. That wall will save lives, right? Maybe a cancer curing wall?

Tess:  YUUUUUUUUUUP. And people have no concept of the difference between a million and a billion; they sound so alike. It’s only three orders of magnitude difference. But when you get that big three orders is HUGE. It’s the difference between 11.57 days and 31.7 YEARS  as counted in SECONDS. If you were given one dollar per second, you’d be a millionaire in 12 days, and a billionaire in 30+ years. Human brains are so bad at grasping the sheer SCALE of numbers that big. Also: multi-billionaires just shouldn’t even exist.  It just not okay to control that much of the world’s resources.

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.”

Tiffany: OMG no one is killing babies seconds from delivery. They aren’t doing an abortion at 9 mo.

Tess: OH MY GOD.  GO AHEAD AND BAN ABORTION AT 9 MONTHS.  DO THAT. IT LITERALLY NEVER HAPPENS. Pulling a baby out at 9 months is called “birth” and no one straight up kills a viable infant; we spend immense amounts of money attempting to save the lives of infants born with various medical issues.

Tiffany: Who does that? I mean only if the mother’s life is in danger and you can save the fetus or the mother do you have a choice there. And when the fetus becomes viable, they try and save them. Who is delivering babies and killing them right after?

[Photo: Rashida Tlaib, Michigan House of Representatives, looking like all of us are feeling. Basically, a permanent “WTF did you just say?”]

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”

Tiffany: Separation of church and state… I knew it was a matter of time before he’d go after Roe v. Wade in this speech.

Tess: Obviously.  That’s been a big deal for Pence this whole time.  Roe V Wade is one of those lines that has been a major piece in the political fight for decades.

The final part of my agenda is to protect America’s National Security. Over the last 2 years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military — with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO — but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.”

Tiffany: Wait he switched to military and NATO spending in the same sentence, that doesn’t make sense.  Babies in god’s image because our military is great and other countries don’t pay their fair share. Maybe it’s just his delivery, but this sounds awful.

Tess: See? I’m so confused.  Whoever wrote this needs to be fired. I mean, if they have ADHD they should probably get treatment and medication but they might need some collaborative oversight if they are writing a SOTU address.  Just, maybe.

Tiffany: Maybe someone fucked with the prompter – that would be classic – especially because no one would notice since he’s always incoherent.

Tess: That would be HILARIOUS.  Who could’ve done that? Pelosi???  But yeah this shit is just everywhere.  Oh, that’s another dollar.

As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months. If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed. Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.”

Tiffany: Oh I love it when he slurs. What, why would we be in a war with North Korea if Hillary was president? The North Koreans don’t like pantsuits? Maybe he is working with the Terminator and this was the timeline that was better for humanity…

“Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaido. We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.”

Tess: I’m just pawing at my face now.  What’s even happening? I don’t understand. Wasn’t that a coup? In Venezuela?

Tiffany: I think he just announced we’re going to war with Venezuela.

Tess: FUCK.  No that was capitalism.  And colonialism.

FACT-CHECK: Looks like some shady-ass shit going down in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.  Juan Guaido is has sworn himself in as interim President, bolstering himself by questioning the legitimacy of the previously democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro AND claiming that Maduro was failing to live up to his duties as defined by the Bolivarian constitution; neither of which, btw, appear to be accurate over here in Reality-land.  So, basically, it’s yet another attempt on the part of the US to squash a socialist-leaning country in the Western hemisphere by backing a fairly naked coup by a right-leaning, presumably US-friendly dictator. SUPER GROSS.

Tiffany: Sportsball time again. Not sure how socialism takes away our freedom… democratic socialism 2020!!!

Tess: Bernie’s face OMG.  Ah, fuck you, dude.  We already have socialism and we were MUCH better off when he had more of it.  WTF do you think SS and medicare is?

[Photo: Bernie Sanders, Democratic Socialist and member of the Independent Party. Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary of 2016. He’s been a long-time proponent of accessible and affordable healthcare, higher education, Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, and other such ‘socialist’ policy.]

One of the most complex set of challenges we face is in the Middle East. Our approach is based on principled realism — not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my Administration recognized the true capital of Israel — and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.”

Tess: Realism? Is that a type of art?

Tiffany: Yeah I think it is. He wouldn’t understand that Social Security and Medicare are socialism. And I’m sorry but moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem does not fully support a two state solution.

Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years. In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East. As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.”

Tess: Pretty sure a Republican president put us in the ME in the first place…

When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.

Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home. I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor — and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict. In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement — but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.”

Tiffany: Didn’t all that start back in 1979 when they were trying to aid the fight against the USSR by arming the people in Afghanistan who turned into Taliban? Basically the fault of the US government there. Al Qaeda, ISIS the whole thing. I need to fact check myself!

Tess: No you’re correct.  We funded the fundamentalist Islamic radicals to topple the democratically elected premier all the way back in 1953… which led to the rise of the Shah.  We also basically funded and trained Al-Qaeda and the Taliban so they could fight the Russians for us in Afghanistan. WAY before my time, so I need to double check too but we totally fucked around in their shit.

Tiffany: No I think that’s pretty much right. I didn’t know wtf was going on back then, I was like 2-3 years old. Counter – terrorism… happening at a Denny’s near you (that’s when the short order cook gets your eggs wrong).

Tess: MY administration. That we installed. In Iran.

I cannot believe how many people do not know their history.  Our history. Our education system is laughable.

We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs. Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer. Timothy has just had his 12th surgery — but he made the trip to be here with us tonight. Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil.”

Tiffany: How dare he talk about anti-semitism when he’s said “Good People on BOTH sides” after the Unite the Right violence in Charlottesville. I’m particularly offended.

Tess: OH MY GOD dude, those are YOUR pet Nazis shooting people.  You do NOT get to pretend to be on this side of the issue.

[Photo: SWAT officer Timothy Matson. Matson took multiple bullets when accused shooter Robert Bowers opened fire on the Tree of Life Synagogue during the Sabbath, killing 11 people and wounding others. President Trump’s previous Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, co-founded Breitbart News, a far-right platform associated with the recent rise in anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi rhetoric. Trump has said that there are “good people” on both sides of “the issue”, whatever “the issue” is.]

Tiffany: I’ve got a way to deal!

[Photo: Bottle of Grand Marnier in front of computer screens showing SOTU and text conversation]

Tess: VERY NICE.  I approve. Fuck we’re almost 90 minutes into this thing.

Tiffany: Can he stop slurring?

Tess: No.  He cannot.  He’s perma-drunk.

Tonight, we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall — more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps. Today is Judah’s 81st birthday. Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. A soldier appeared. Judah’s family braced for the worst. Then, his father cried out with joy: “It’s the Americans.”

Tiffany: That guy looks pissed. I feel bad he’s spending his 81st b-day listening to this fool.

A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. “To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.”

[Photo: WWII vet and Holocaust survivors at SOTU]

Tiffany: This Holocaust stuff is super depressing. I have friends that lost family there. I lost my extended family there.

Tess: And really irritating given the source. I’d be fine with the topic if this asshole wasn’t supporting our own homegrown Nazis the rest of the time.

I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchik. But there is more to Herman’s story. A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight — seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire Nation.”

[Photo: Joshua Kaufman (left) and Herman Zeitchik (right). Kaufman survived being held at the Nazi concentration camp called Dachau. Current neo-Nazi and white supremacists still make jokes about putting Jews in ovens, or gassing them; this demographic shows strong support for Trump in the polls. Trump has been very hesitant to explicitly condemn white supremacist speech.]

Tiffany: HEARD THAT! Double Ditto… his anti-immigration rhetoric is just brewing more white nationalists, so why bother talking about fighting Nazis and antisemitism.

Tess: Perfect.  The thickness of the hypocrisy in this speech is absurd.

Tiffany: I’m driven by guilt. It’s the Jew in me (speaking of antisemitism). I have the best words. Wait, no that’s not me.

Tess: LOL

Tiffany: DONE. He’s done.

Tess: THANK FUCKING GOD

Tiffany: I’m more interested in the commentary by the analysts than the whole speech.

Tess: I’m really looking forward to seeing what the pros have to say, yeah.  

Tiffany: Fox and friends tomorrow morning lol.

Tess: You know all those women in white are gonna go get shitfaced after this.

Tiffany: I think cannabis is legal in DC if they were smart they would have had a little edible before going into the building. I don’t think that was a bipartisan moment, that was a mini-demonstration against Trump. Sweet some fact checks there… bad numbers!

Tess: I’m probably going to have nightmares now.

Tiffany: Yeah me too…

Politico’s live fact check can be seen here. The fact check and script to the Democratic response can be seen here.

Full transcript:

We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation.The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.

Many of us campaigned on the same core promises: to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers; to rebuild and revitalize our Nation’s infrastructure; to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs; to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America’s interests first.

There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.

This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America’s mission, and the power of American pride.

In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Great Crusade — the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny. Here with us tonight are three of those heroes: Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik. Gentlemen, we salute you.

In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.

In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, and redefined the middle class standard of living for the entire world to see. Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century. An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach.

We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.

But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.

Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make.

We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.

Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.

Over the last 2 years, my Administration has moved with urgency and historic speed to confront problems neglected by leaders of both parties over many decades.

In just over 2 years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom — a boom that has rarely been seen before. We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs — something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.

Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else. Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history — 157 million.

We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.

We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.

We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty — and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed right to try.

My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.

We have unleashed a revolution in American energy — the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.

After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day. Members of Congress: the State of our Union is strong. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.

On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone — almost double what was expected. 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.

This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate — some after years of waiting. The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and to our country.

Now is the time for bipartisan action. Believe it or not, we have already proven that it is possible.

In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new Farm Bill, historic VA reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.

And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking criminal justice reform. Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson. I was deeply moved. In 1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender. Over the next two decades, she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path. She had a big impact on that prison population — and far beyond.

Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing — and the need to remedy this injustice. She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.

In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence — and she is here with us tonight. Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny.

When I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the right thing.

Inspired by stories like Alice’s, my Administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law. This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community. The First Step Act gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. Now, States across the country are following our lead. America is a Nation that believes in redemption.

We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee. In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses. Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates. Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act. Matthew, on behalf of all Americans: welcome home.

As we have seen, when we are united, we can make astonishing strides for our country. Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis.

The Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our Government, protect our homeland, and secure our southern border.

Now is the time for the Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.

As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States. We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught.

This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well‑being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.

Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country.

No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.

Meanwhile, working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration — reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.

Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.

Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities — including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.

The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they’re going to keep streaming back in.

Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.

I’ve gotten to know many wonderful Angel Moms, Dads, and families — no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache they have endured.

Here tonight is Debra Bissell. Just three weeks ago, Debra’s parents, Gerald and Sharon, were burglarized and shot to death in their Reno, Nevada, home by an illegal alien. They were in their eighties and are survived by four children, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. Also here tonight are Gerald and Sharon’s granddaughter, Heather, and great‑granddaughter, Madison.

To Debra, Heather, Madison, please stand: few can understand your pain. But I will never forget, and I will fight for the memory of Gerald and Sharon, that it should never happen again.

Not one more American life should be lost because our Nation failed to control its very dangerous border.

In the last 2 years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.

We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes: ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez. When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent. Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking. Elvin says: “If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve done my job.” Thanks to his work and that of his colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from horror and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars in the last year.

Special Agent Hernandez, please stand: We will always support the brave men and women of Law Enforcement — and I pledge to you tonight that we will never abolish our heroes from ICE.

My Administration has sent to the Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border.

It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built.

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 as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.

San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in the country. In response, and at the request of San Diego residents and political leaders, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.

The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.

Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.

As we work to defend our people’s safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace.

No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before — and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.

As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first ever Government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.

To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount — reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.

We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.

Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods — and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime. But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us — I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA.

I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other States whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried — until now.

Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — or USMCA — will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA.

Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.

Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.

I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill — and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.

The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs — and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

Already, as a result of my Administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.

But we must do more. It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it.

I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients. We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.

No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom. In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach. My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.

Tonight, I am also asking you to join me in another fight that all Americans can get behind: the fight against childhood cancer.

Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10-year-old girl, Grace Eline. Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself. Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer. Immediately, she began radiation treatment. At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 for the fight against cancer. When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes as she hung up a poster that read: “Last Day of Chemo.” Grace — you are an inspiration to us all.

Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades. My budget will ask the Congress for $500 million over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.

To help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America’s children. I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave — so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.

To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

The final part of my agenda is to protect America’s National Security.

Over the last 2 years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military — with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO — but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.

As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System.

Under my Administration, we will never apologize for advancing America’s interests.

For example, decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities. While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.

Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can’t — in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.

As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months. If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed. Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaido.

We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

One of the most complex set of challenges we face is in the Middle East.

Our approach is based on principled realism — not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my Administration recognized the true capital of Israel — and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years. In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East.

As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.

When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.

Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.

I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor — and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.

In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement — but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.

Above all, friend and foe alike must never doubt this Nation’s power and will to defend our people. Eighteen years ago, terrorists attacked the USS Cole — and last month American forces killed one of the leaders of the attack.

We are honored to be joined tonight by Tom Wibberley, whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was one of the 17 sailors we tragically lost. Tom: we vow to always remember the heroes of the USS Cole.

My Administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran.

To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.

Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer. Timothy has just had his 12th surgery — but he made the trip to be here with us tonight. Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil.

Tonight, we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall — more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps. Today is Judah’s 81st birthday. Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train, and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. A soldier appeared. Judah’s family braced for the worst. Then, his father cried out with joy: “It’s the Americans.”

A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. “To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.”

I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchik. But there is more to Herman’s story. A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight — seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire Nation.

When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war.

They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this Nation, and generations yet unborn.

Why did they do it? They did it for America — they did it for us.

Everything that has come since — our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress toward equality and justice — all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

Think of this Capitol — think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire.

Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California. Together, we represent the most extraordinary Nation in all of history.

What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?

I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us! Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream.

We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them.

We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance — or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans. We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.

This is our future — our fate — and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.

No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.

We must keep America first in our hearts. 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!

Thank you. God Bless You, God Bless America, and good night!

 

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