President Donald Trump has addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, undertaking to deliver on his campaign promises. The soaring speech has been described by some commentators as marking the moment Trump assumed the mantle of the presidency.
Trump maintained his commitment to repealing the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – and reiterated many of his election campaign themes to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC.
Trump said “ninety-four million Americans are out of the labour force”. He outlined a one trillion dollar infrastructure program he will submit to Congress. He said: “I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be FAIR TRADE.” He said his motto would be to “buy American and hire American”.
The president reiterated his commitment to building a “great wall” along the border with Mexico. He lauded the process of “extreme vetting” of immigrants.
Trump committed himself to America’s allies, “but our partners must meet their financial obligations”.
The speech offered no proposals on spending or taxation, or on deficit reduction. Trump said his economic team was working on “historic reform” to taxation and he pledged a big reduction in company tax.
Trump honoured the widow of a Navy Seal, William “Ryan” Owens, killed in a raid in Yemen. He said, “Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero –- battling against terrorism and securing our Nation.” The tribute led to an unprecedentedly lengthy standing ovation for Carryn Owens.
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Prepared text of President Donald Trump’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress.
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and Citizens of America:
Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains. Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.