In his first State of the Union address, U.S. President Donald Trump called on Congress and the American people for unity and attention to bedrock principles. “Together, we are rediscovering the American way,” he declared.
President Trump was quick to identify the foundation of that American way. “In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life,” he said. He reminded those assembled that America’s motto is “In God We Trust,” a line that happily received applause from many Republicans and Democrats in the chamber.
Looking back at his first year in office, Trump reflected on how his administration had worked “to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government.” He highlighted the appointment of Constitution-honoring judges and Executive Branch actions to protect freedoms in the Bill of Rights, particularly religious liberty.
The President also drew attention to a number of powerful stories, among them that of Officer Ryan Holets of the Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico. While on duty he helped a woman avoid harming her prenatal baby with a heroin injection. In response to the woman’s cry for help and the Lord’s prompting in his heart, Officer Holets and his wife agreed to adopt the child and named her Hope. Looking into the House Gallery at the couple and their baby, Trump said, “You embody the goodness of our nation.”
Internationally, Trump recounted America’s commitment to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, recalling the insult delivered to the United States by many nations in the UN in response to that move, he called on Congress to “help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.” He also had tough words for ISIS and the Iranian government. Perhaps most powerful was Trump’s focus on North Korea and the image of Mr. Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean defector and convert to Christianity, standing in the House chamber and raising his crutches in defiance of the despotic regime that had brutalized him and his family. “Seong-ho’s story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom,” Trump said.
The President concluded by focusing on freedom and the government’s job to honor and serve America’s people. “The people dreamed this country,” he declared. “The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again…. As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: February 2, 2018