State of the Union creates a lot of talk

State of the Union creates a lot of talk

Aidan Denehy, Editor-In-Chief

Just a few short weeks ago, Donald Trump gave his first ever State of the Union address. In it, he made several claims (some of which have already proven controversial,) which received a variety of responses, which begs the question; was Trump’s first State of the Union effective or not?

Trump touched on several of his accomplishments during his first year, such as the surge in the stock market (citing strong growth in the DOW Industrial Average,) and spoke on the recent tax cuts and the average savings for American taxpayers. However, quickly after the speech concluded, journalists began to fact-check some of Trump’s statements and found that some claims were true, some muddled in a mixture of truth and fiction, while others were outright false.

For example, Trump claimed in his address that, with American assistance, Coalition forces had “retaken 100% of the ground formerly held by ISIS.” There is no data whatsoever that supports this conclusion. Although most major population centers formerly under ISIS control have been liberated (or are currently besieged by various forces,) many areas outside of major cities, particularly in Syria, remain under the control of ISIS. Furthermore, many question whether Trump’s claim of control by government forces actually represents proper security in areas formerly held by ISIS.

Either way, by most estimates, ISIS may still control about 45% of its peak territory- a significant decrease in the group’s power, but 55% is a far cry from 100. Analysts also warn that although the group is moving out of Iraq and Syria, it is migrating into areas with significant Muslim populations and poor government control, in areas like Africa and the Philippines.

Some have said that Trump’s use and particular attention to guests during his speech was an attempt to draw attention away from the speech itself. Other students, such as Sean Connor, Class of 2020, see it differently; Sean spoke for our article about Trump’s presidency in our last issue, and had this to say about the State of the Union Address: “I really want to put Emphasis is on was that moment with the North Korean defector and the crutch. As a South Korean and an American I thought that was an extremely powerful moment and I was extremely proud about it. I think that it was a great sign of faith to our allies and it’s one thing I’ll never forget. It really gave me hope. I don’t cry too often, but I definitely shed some tears overs it.”

Some, such as Jarrod Solloway, also Class of 2020 (and who also spoke for our last article,) said that they had mixed feelings about the speech. “Overall,” Solloway said, “I think the Trump address was an accurate portrayal of his first year.”

Solloway did note, however, that, “ If I could have given any advice to the president, I would have asked him to speak more about the future he sees for the country, and specifics as to how he would achieve it. The vision he has is not clear, and that probably adds to the apprehension people have for him.”

Democrats (and even some Republicans,) however, have begun to fight back against Trump’s State of the Union, either by attacking what they say are incorrect or misrepresentative claims in his speech, or by pointing out his broken campaign promises. Joseph Kennedy III, delivering the Democrats’ Response to the State of Union, said of the Trump Administration: “This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.”

Some, such as last years’ Editor-In-Chief and member of the Saint Anselm Class of 2017, Cody Jones, agree. He stated that Trump’s speech felt like an attempt to distract listeners from the broken promises and failures of his administration thus far: According to Jones, “I don’t think the address was an accurate appraisal of Trump’s first year in office. This administration hasn’t made nearly as much progress as they claim.”

Jones continued to cite specifics: “They failed to pass a healthcare reform bill, which was one of the president’s top goals. Republicans also passed a tax reform bill that gives more tax cuts to the upper class and eliminates a lot of tax breaks for the middle class. While Trump ran on a platform in which he claimed to be fighting for the working class, he in fact has made it harder on lower income families and has put more money in the pockets of the wealthy.”

Jones concluded his statement with, “These factors, along with Trump’s controversial rhetoric and irresponsible use of Twitter, has led to the nation to being more divided than at any other point in recent history.”

Trump’s use of social media continues to be problematic into the second year of his term. As year two goes on, partisanship continues, frustration continues to mount, and many Americans begin to ask: “When do I lose my due?”