11 things you need to know about Trump’s first State of the Union speech

11 things you need to know about Trump’s first State of the Union speech
Copyright REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Copyright REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
By Alice Cuddy
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From boasts of boosting the economy, to pledges on immigration and foreign policy threats, here are the key takeaways from Trump's address.


US President Donald Trump made his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, focusing on immigration, jobs and the economy, infrastructure and security.

With 4.5 million tweets, the speech was the most tweeted State of the Union address ever.

But what did Trump actually say? Here are 11 key takeaways from the address. 

1. Calls for unity 

Following a divisive first year in office, Trump called for unity across the political spectrum.

"Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve," he said.

"Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family."

Foreign Policy

2. North Korea

Trump condemned “depraved” North Korea, warning that Pyongyang’s “reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.”

“We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening,” he said.

3. Islamic State

Trump noted that nearly all territory in Syria and Iraq once controlled by the extremist Islamic State had been reclaimed.

“We will continue to fight until ISIS is defeated,” he said.

4. Guantanamo Bay

Trump said he had signed an order for the controversial US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be kept open, reversing a directive from former US president Barack Obama to close the detention camp.

a Guantanamo detainee does pull-ups inside an exercise area at the detention facility at Guantanamo BayREUTERS/Michelle Shephard/Pool


5. Migration and crime

Trump said open borders have “allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities.”

“They've allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives,” he said.

Trump called on Congress to close the “deadly loopholes” that he claimed had allowed criminal gangs into the country.

6. ‘Four pillars’

Trump detailed his "four pillars" of immigration reform, claiming it was a "down-the-middle compromise” that would create a “safe, modern, and lawful immigration system."

The pillars include offering a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented young people brought to the US as children; building a wall along the Mexico border and hiring more border agents; ending the visa lottery; and ending chain migration.

7. Bipartisan deal

Trump said he was “extending an open hand” to the Democrats for an immigration deal that would provide Dreamers a pathway to citizenship over 10 to 12 years in exchange for funding the border wall and restrictions on legal immigration.

“Let’s come together, set politics aside and finally get the job done,” he said.

'Dreamers' meet with relatives during the 'Keep Our Dream Alive' binational meetingREUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez


8. Employment

Trump claimed credit for 2.4 million new jobs and rising wages.

"Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages,” he said.

The president said unemployment was at a 45-year low, with the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for African-Americans.

“African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history,” he claimed.

9. Stock market, taxes

Trump said the stock market has soared under his administration, and said he had enacted the “biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.”


10. Modern infrastructure

Trump said he would like a compromise over a plan to rebuild old roads, bridges and other infrastructure. He said he wanted legislation to generate at least $1.5 trillion through a combination of federal, state and local spending as well as private-sector contributions.

“I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.”

Donald Trump departs after delivering his State of the Union addressREUTERS/Leah Millis


11. ‘Right to try’ and prescription drugs

Trump said he wanted Congress to allow terminally ill patients the “right to try” experimental therapies not approved by federal authorities. 

He also called cutting drug prices one of the "greatest priorities" for his administration.

"In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. And it is very, very unfair," he said. 

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