Call & Times

Trump praises American economy in optimistic State of the Union


WASHINGTON (AP) — Addressing the nation, President Donald Trump declared America “stronger than ever before” Tuesday night as he delivered his State of the Union address on the eve of his likely impeachmen­t acquittal.

The first president to run for reelection after being impeached, Trump received a sharply partisan welcome to the House of Representa­tives, with some Republican­s chanting “Four More Years” while Democrats stood silently.

“America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise and America’s future is blazing bright,” Trump declared. “In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginab­le just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”

Republican members of Congress applauded often. In the nationally televised speech, Trump was speaking from the House of Representa­tives, on the opposite side of the Capitol from where the Senate one day later was expected to acquit him in a bipartisan vote.

Trump aimed to spend the first part of his speech highlighti­ng the economy’s strength, including low unemployme­nt, stressing how it has helped blue-collar workers and the middle class.

Trump was staring out at some of the Democrats who have been vying to take his job, although it was unclear if he would weigh in on the confusion in Iowa, where the results of Monday’s leadoff caucuses were still a mystery even 24 hours after they ended. In advance of his address, Trump tweeted that the caucus chaos showed Democrats were incompeten­t and should not be trusted to run the government.

Trump spent the hours before his speech tucked away at the White House, hosting network anchors for lunch while working on final drafts of the address. He entered the moment on a roll, with his impeachmen­t acquittal imminent, his job approval numbers ticking upward and Wall Street looking strong.

“I think that this has gone on for too long and I think that, if you look at the ratings, the American people are frankly bored of it,” White House

press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News early Tuesday.

Trump stressed the new trade agreements he has negotiated, including his phase

one deal with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement he signed last month.

He will also dedicate a section to American values, discussing efforts to protect religious liberties and limit the expansion of abortion as he continues to court the evangelica­l and conservati­ve Christian voters who form a crucial part of his base.

As usual, the presidenti­al guests will reflect issues that Trump wants to highlight. The invited guests include military families, immigratio­n officials and the former sheriff from Venezuela who fled to the

United States.

Several Democratic lawmakers, including California Rep. Maxine Waters and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, announced in advance of the speech that they would be skipping it.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was delivering the party’s official response and, in excerpts released ahead of the speech, was to draw a contrast between actions taken by Democrats and the president’s.

“It doesn’t matter what the president says about the stock market,” Whitmer says.

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