On the State of the Union


The Witness will be featuring new “guest writers” throughout the week to test their potential in becoming members of the Witness staff – first up, Ayden Fisher gives a summary on the recent State of the Union with an opinionated twist, different from the opinions typically issued by resident opinions writer Zac Bestwick.


– Quick facts –

Viewer approval: 76%

Important topics: Party unity, border security, foreign wars, and the economy

Top line: “Great nations do not fight endless wars.”


With the government shutdown ending late January, President Trump was re-invited to deliver his 2019 State of the Union Address on February 5th. The speech was met with a quite decent instant viewer approval of 76%; a comparable 7% lower than Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address (delivered in his second year of presidency just as Trump’s is here). Most congressional representatives were in attendance, as well as 4 Supreme Court Justices and 7 Military Generals. Female Democratic officials iconically wore all white in a notion for women’s solidarity. The 90-minute speech was a lot to take in, so for those who need a quick overview…


Here’s the breakdown:

Party Unity-

A recurring theme in the President’s speech was a call for party unity. This is a reflection of the recent political gridlock during the 35-day government shutdown. The shutdown’s credited cause was the inability for our parties to come to a compromise. Throughout his speech, Trump implored bipartisanship on topics from border security to abortion. Will we see that bi-partisanship soon? It’s unlikely. Since the 2016 election, the parties have drifted further apart than ever. This ongoing political divide is something to closely watch for the next few years.


Border Security/Immigration-

It isn’t a surprise that, as border security is a hot issue in America right now, a large portion of the State of Union was dedicated towards the “border crisis.” Most of what President Trump said was not completely new information, but is important information to understand his point-of-view.

“In the last 2 years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.”

Trump did offer one big new announcement about the ordering of “another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught.” This is a beginning stage to what we may be seeing more of as President Trump stands by his position to declare a state of emergency on February 15th if Congress cannot come to a compromise over border security. A declared state of emergency will enable the President to immediately organize funds to begin building the wall as a military defense project. This move is considered to have risky effects on his upcoming 2020 campaign, but as we’ve seen in the past, we cannot expect Trump to back down due to the possibility of bad PR.


Foreign Wars-

An overlooked subject of President Trump’s speech was the topic of foreign wars. Among the successes talked about was the negotiated $100 billion increase in defense\spending from NATO allies. This is a big reflection of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to get allies to pay fairly for our military protection. Another important takeaway was Trump’s statement:

“As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.”

This response was not received well by the attending military generals, who were among the few who did not applaud the statement. Throughout his term so far we have seen Trump make surprising steps to get America out of the Middle East. Say what you want about Trump, but a President who is willing to make more than empty promises to end the 7 trillion dollar Middle-Eastern conflict is one that will go down with respect in history. U.S. involvement in the Middle East has been quite unfruitful in its original mission.


The Economy-

One of Trump’s biggest successes is the current economic boom under his administration.

“[W]e added another 304,000 jobs last month alone — almost double what was expected.”

In his speech, Trump reflected on recent positive economic outcomes since entering office. The economy has continually been exceeding expectations with low unemployment rates and high stock prices. While easily overlooked, this is a very important topic in showing the health of our Nation. It is only a matter of hoping to see this boom continue for many years to come.



During the speech, there were also several smaller, less impending topics like the announcement of another North Korean summit in Vietnam. Overall though, President Trump’s State of the Union speech was quite successful. He made some very strong statements on border security and our foreign conflicts. He did his job in addressing Congress and the Nation on the impending topics surrounding the United States, along with facts and statistics needed to support it.


View the full transcript here