Recap of the 2018 State of the Union Address

Recap of the 2018 State of the Union Address

February 1, 20182 min read

President Trump delivered his first official State of the Union address Tuesday evening focusing on five key issues: Jobs and the Economy, Infrastructure, Immigration, Trade and National Security. The House of Representatives and US Senate, as well as members of the president's cabinet, and justices of the Supreme Court filled the chamber.

Douglas Bennett, Chair for Political Science and Criminal Justice Department at Southern Utah University, and expert on U.S. politics felt the speech was balanced.

“The tone was less strident and confrontational, and I think most Americans agreed. President Trump is not a natural speaker, and, as has been observed, often ‘speaks words as though he’s mad at them.’ Last night was a softer tone. The edge was there, but so was the heart. I was pleased and somewhat relieved.”

According to a CBS News poll taken after the State of the Union address, the majority of Americans agree: “three in four Americans who tuned in to President Trump's State of the Union address tonight approved of the speech he gave. Just a quarter disapproved.”

President Trump began his presidency by putting the U.S. first and started the address strongly defending domestic policies, again making them his priority.

Bennett summarizes that “the President touted his administration's economic record which includes rising wages, increased asset values, lower taxes and unemployment. As Republicans stood and applauded the success, Democrats sat uncomfortably. Advantage Trump.”

“On immigration, the reception was muted all round. Republicans do not like DACA and were not happy talking about a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented workers. Democrats were equally upset as President Trump announced the end of the visa lottery, ‘catch and release,’ and chain migration.”

“The President spoke both warmly and critically of trade policy, citing the need for ‘fair and reciprocal’ trade and promising to renegotiate trade agreements that fail to meet his standards.”

Bennett concludes thinking “the BBC put it well when they said ‘this speech had a softer touch. The language was smooth. The edge, however, was still as sharp.’”

Douglas Bennett joined Southern Utah University in 2014 after a long and successful career in Washington D.C. He is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit his profile.


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  • Douglas Bennett
    Douglas Bennett Associate Professor of Political Science

    Dr. Bennett joined SUU after a successful career in D.C., specializing foreign commerce, trade, and product liability

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