Students Respond to Trump’s State of the Union Address

On Feb. 5, 2019, President Donald J. Trump gave his State of the Union speech, addressing immigration policies and his funding for the border wall.


Photo by Brooke O'Flaherty

Students offer their points of view on President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address.

Democratic View

After a short delay due to the government shutdown, the State of the Union Address occurred on Feb. 5, 2019. President Donald J. Trump led the speech with his long-promised immigration policies and the fund for his infamous wall. Now that the House has a Democratic majority and is under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the president asked for more bipartisanship for the loss of Republican seats. He quickly diverted from the topic of unity and victory between both parties to reprimand the Democrats for opposing the funding for the wall. Trump’s focus and determinism were clear and never faltered throughout his speech.

I don’t feel that he was effective in addressing and including specific groups of people.

— Paige Hulsman

Democratic congresswomen in the room dressed in white to pay tribute to the U.S suffragists, the color white meant to stand out and symbolize purity. Trump announced that Congress had the most women serving than ever before, this earned a roar of approval in the room. The congresswomen in white stood up and cheered unexpectedly during Trump’s speech, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mentioning the 19th amendment and women’s success in Congress appeared as a surprise due to the president being accused of misogyny.

Junior Paige Hulsman expresses her overall opinion and take-away from the State of the Union address.

“Initially I thought it was cool that the crowd cheered for and recognized the First Lady of the United States. However, on the other hand, Trump’s opening words didn’t seem very heroic. I was unaware that there are more women in Congress than ever, that is amazing and impactful. Another thing that stood out to me was when Trump said ‘Simply put: walls work and walls save lives’. This stood out to me because a wall is the last thing America needs right now. As a country, we have much bigger issues that are overseen. Elaborating on that, I don’t feel that he was effective in addressing and including specific groups of people,” said Hulsman.

Trump also commented on the American economy multiple times, referencing the country’s economic growth as well as low unemployment rates throughout multiple demographics, citing that “African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.” Although this is a significant improvement, the unemployment rate for black people is still 1.85 times higher than the rate for white people. He also claimed that “wages are rising at the fastest pace of decades,” despite wages for African Americans largely remaining stagnant even as the economy progresses.

Senior Hannah Keaton shared her thoughts after watching the State of the Union Address.

“He mainly focused on the economy and that was it. He thought that just because we have a good economy and a giant military, we’re a good strong country that no one can beat. But that isn’t what’s important, it’s not what we should necessarily be focusing on… It just doesn’t line up with everything he says and does. The things he was talking about he never showed,” said Keaton. Despite Trump’s desire for a non-partisan government, he has frequently slandered the Democrats; despite claiming he welcomes legal immigration, he lowered the maximum number of legal immigrants to 30,000 from 45,000; despite claiming to be immensely proud of the number of women in Congress, he has repeatedly shown his misogynistic nature and disrespected women to no avail; and despite fixating the public’s attention to the migrant caravan coming to our borders, he ignores the rise in hate groups and domestic terrorism that threaten the American people every day.

How did you feel about the State of the Union Address by Donald Trump in February?

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Republican View

The 45th president Donald Trump showed growth and maturity in his 2019 State of the Union address. President Trump touched on several successes of his presidency economically, diversely, and humanely, while civilly touching on the issue of the southern border. He started his speech calling for unity of the political parties, then about the 5.3 million jobs — 600 thousand of which were in manufacturing, that were created in 2018 — as well as the 157 million people overall who are working in the United States. In 2018, the unemployment rate reached the lowest point of the last half a century.

Next, President Trump turns to acknowledge the increase of women in politics. One success was the establishment of reform sentence laws, which provides individuals who have been jailed, such as the heavily impacted African American community, with a second chance to be reintegrated into society as law-abiding citizens after detaining. One of President Trump’s most iconic campaign promises and movements is the push for the southern border wall.

In his State of the Union address, President Trump explains his reasoning behind the wall and how he wishes for coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers to be kept out of the United States so that they are put out of business; furthermore, work is being done to tighten illegal immigration control, and President Trump has sent 3,750 troops to the border wall in preparation for the “onslaught” of caravans heading for the southern border. The 45th president further establishes that he has no hatred of immigrants and that his only problem is with illegal immigration.

Senior Aaron Krupinski talks about how what he thinks about the construction of the wall.

“I support the idea of the wall, but I’m not sure how realistic it is. I do support more agents and patrol officers around that area to help stop that,” said Krupinski.

Sophomore Kyle Rainy voiced his opinion on the southern border situation.

“I think we need a border wall. I don’t think it would make illegal immigration go away, but it would greatly decrease illegal immigration and encourage people to come here the right way,” said Rainy.

In other health news, the president speaks of prohibiting abortion during late-term pregnancy when the baby can feel pain helping find middle ground on the polarized issue and says the HIV virus will be eliminated within the US in the next ten years.

“If [I] had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now … 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,” said Trump.

Overall, President Trump made a persuasive speech without polarization that professionally addressed many issues. His formal addressing of highly debated and controversial matters in a united way made the 2019 State of the Union address one of President Donald Trump’s most influential speeches.

Aaron Krupinski addresses how he felt after the speech.

“I think it was one of the best speeches the president has given over his first two years in office and from what he said and I’ve seen in the news, I’m pretty satisfied with how things are going right now,” said Krupinski.