Donald Trump′s 2019 State of the Union: What you need to know | News | DW | 06.02.2019
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Donald Trump's 2019 State of the Union: What you need to know

In his second State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump called for unity amid deep political divisions. DW takes a look at what he said about the US' major domestic and international challenges.

US President Donald Trump urged unity in his second State of the Union address on Tuesday against a backdrop of deep partisan bickering over a host of issues that are set to dominate his next two years in office.

Despite repeatedly clashing with Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, Trump urged Washington to govern "not as two parties, but as one nation."

Read more: Donald Trump delays State of the Union until shutdown ends

Congresswomen, dressed in white in tribute to the women's suffrage movement, pose for a photo as they arrive for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 5, 2019 (AFP/S. Loeb)

Many women representatives from the Democratic Party wore white in a tribute to the women's suffrage movement

The economy

Trump spoke of an "unprecedented economic boom" in the United States, touting low unemployment and rising wages as an immense success for American workers in the world's "hottest economy." 

The president also credited his signature tax cuts for driving economic growth, although economists expect the cuts' impact to fade this year. He also credited his administration with rolling back regulations.

Calling the US economy the "envy of the world," Trump said: "An economic miracle is happening in the United States and the only thing that can stop it is foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations."

But Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, who is considering a presidential campaign, said Trump had not done enough for working people.

"The reality is that for far too many people in this country, hard work isn't paying off like it should," Brown said. "President Trump doesn't understand that, and he's used the White House to enrich people like himself."

Watch video 01:31

US economic numbers are good, but are they sustainable?

Border wall

Trump reiterated his pledge to build a wall or fence along the southern border with Mexico.

"In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall, but the proper wall never got built. I will get it built," he said."Simply put, walls work and walls save lives."

In the Democratic response to the speech, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams accused Trump of choosing to "cage children and tear families apart" rather than craft a bipartisan immigration plan.

"America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants — not walls," Abrams added.

Trump's demand for $5.7 billion (€5 billion) in funding for a border wall triggered a  partial government shutdown of record length. Congress has 10 days to pass a federal budget to avoid another shutdown. 

North Korea

Trump claimed that if he had not been elected president, the United States would now likely be at war with North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

He also announced that he would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a second summit on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

Read more: Donald Trump to meet Kim Jong Un in Vietnam for second summit 

Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June 2018. The meeting ended with a joint statement in which North Korea agreed to work towards "the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Read more:  In Japan, Angela Merkel warns against handling North Korea naively

Middle East

Trump said the US was holding "constructive talks" with the Taliban and other groups to end the war in Afghanistan. He did not give a timeline for the planned US withdrawal.

"As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counterterrorism," he said.  

On the "Islamic State," Trump said "we have liberated virtually all of that territory [Syria and Iraq] from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers" and it was time for US troops to come home. 

Trump praised his decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and the re-imposition of US sanctions on Tehran.

He also called out Iran for threats against Israel. "We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants Death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people," he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter, saying the US supports "dictators, butchers and extremists" in the Middle East.

"US hostility has led it to support dictators, butchers and extremists, who've only brought ruin to our region," Zarif wrote.

NATO

Trump praised increased military spending under his administration while also "getting other nations to pay their fair share, finally."

"For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by friends of ours, by members of NATO, but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies," he said.

Watch video 01:48

Trump denies US threat to pull out of NATO

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