Published: Thu, February 01, 2018

Melania Trump defies tradition to arrive alone at speech

Melania Trump defies tradition to arrive alone at speech

The President of the United States on Tuesday called for a "new American moment" in his first State of the Union address, urging Congress to toughen the country's immigration laws, approve his ambitious infrastructure plans and prioritize USA interests in security and trade.

First Lady Melania Trump broke with long-standing tradition when she arrived at her husband's State of the Union address alone.

"Calling Russia a rival that "(challenges) our interests, our economy, and our values", Trump said the US should "fully fund our great military".

Mr Trump also said he was ordering Guantanamo Bay to be kept open, reversing an Obama-era directive to close the controversial detention camp.

The American economy is booming but Mr Trump's approval rating languishes. It was an attempt to rekindle the idea that is the "American Dream".

President Donald Trump vowed again Tuesday to bring down prescription drug prices in the United States, an issue on which his government has been accused of dragging its feet. During the almost 90-minute speech, Trump said criminals, including MS-13, the worldwide criminal gang, were taking advantage of "outdated immigration rules".

"Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses", Trump will say according to the excerpts.

The president wants more border security, including a full wall on the US-Mexico border and more Border Patrol agents.

"Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone".

But Mr Trump has often complained that he does not get enough credit for the rosy outlook.

Trump said the time has come to "rebuild our crumbling infrastructure", calling on Congress to draft legislation that "generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment that our country so desperately needs".

He attempted to seize Mr Trump's political mantle by purporting to speak for "Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken".

Trump's first year has been marked by record low approval ratings, and a majority of Americans said in a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll that Trump has done more to divide the country than to unite it.

"Bullies may land a punch", he said. "They might leave a mark. but they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defence of their future".

A final problem in finding significance to Trump's speech stems from his own mercurial conduct - in saying things that are not true, in abruptly reversing himself on policy, in praising congressional leaders of both parties one moment and ripping them on Twitter the next. "But now they are roaring back, they're coming back, they wanna be where the action is", he said.

One of them, California congresswoman Maxine Waters, told MSNBC: "Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?"

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