Historical tributes, individual showcases, and an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday to a holocaust survivor. The 2019 State of the Union was a lively affair, but what did Trump actually say?
The proposed wall at the US' southern Border with Mexico got a lot of airtime. "This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier -- not just a simple concrete wall," said Trump before uttering an unlikely catch phrase: "WALLS WORK and WALLS SAVE LIVES!"
"Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland, and secure our Southern Border," Trump urged before using a treatise on the dangers of illegal immigration to highlight the necessity of his proposed wall.
"1 in 3 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."
One thing we definitely learned in the SOTU address is that Trump will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.
"If I had not been elected President of the United States," Trump enthused, "we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea."
"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 dollars of Chinese goods -- and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars," proclaimed Trump. "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."
Just a couple of days after the US announced they were making preparations to withdraw from the INF treaty, it was unsurprising to hear Trump repeating the accusation of Russian treaty violation:
"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." he said.
Trump reiterated the US position of officially recognising Venezuelan National Assembly chief Juan Guaido as the nation's interim president.
"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."
Large swaths of Congress broke into applause as Trump said his administration "recognised the TRUE capital of Israel -- and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem."
"They do bad, bad things," Trump said of Iran's theocratic regime, ad-libbing from the text that was released by his administration. At the mention of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got to his feet to applaud.
"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 counterterrorism," Trump stated.
ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS
"We have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty monsters," he declared before saying it is time to warmly welcome "our brave warriors in Syria" home.
Trump was keen to demonstrate his ability to extract money from NATO:
"For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by friends of ours, members of NATO -- but now we have secured over the last couple of years over $100 billion increase in defence spending from NATO allies."
Funds used to rebuild the military were "$700 billion last year and $716 billion this year." One place this money will be used is a "state-of-the-art Missile Defence System."
To eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. We have made incredible strides, incredible. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond.
To lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs
To protect patients with pre-existing conditions.
To fight against childhood cancer
Trump will ask Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children "who can feel pain in the mother's womb."
In a section of the address containing no small rhetoric, Trump made what appeared to be an emotive case for new laws.
"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."
He also mentioned "the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth," referring to Democrat Ralph Northam's controversial and perhaps confused comments on a radio broadcast last week.
THE WOMEN IN WHITE
A significant section of the women in the chamber had been invited by The House Democratic Women’s Working Group to wear white to this address.
The sartorial coordination was designed to honour the legacy of women’s suffrage in the US.
"All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before -- and exactly one century after Congress passed the Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than ever before," Trump pointed out.
Sitting together were two special guests, Joshua Kaufman and Herman Zeitchik.
Kaufman was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp. Herman was one of the US 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-byside, here in the home of American Freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening is very much appreciated," said Trump.
The two men made a touching tableau.
During another personal tribute, an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday broke out for 81-year old holocaust survivor Judah Samet.
Congress was not left wanting when it came to a rousing finish. They were only missing the orchestra.
"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 a 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 neighbours, as patriots. This is our future, our fate, and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness."
Watch the whole thing in the link below.
See below to see how events unfolded during our live blog: