Washington (People’s Daily) - Democratic and Republican lawmakers on the floor gave sharply different reactions to US President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to the US Congress on Tuesday evening, in which he combed through the policy changes of his more than three years in office, calling them "the great American comeback".
It was Trump's last State of the Union address before the 2020 US presidential election. The address came at a crucial moment in the battle between the two parties as the impeachment trial in the Senate is underway. In his speech, Trump tried to offer a unifying vision but could not mask the current division of US politics.
While Republican lawmakers chanted, "four more years" and frequently rose to applaud Trump, Democratic lawmakers were mostly unimpressed, and booed Trump several times when he talked about social policies. For example, when Trump said that someone was trying to destroy health care, Democrats shouted "you." Democrats also laughed when Trump said he was taking on big pharmaceutical companies.
Many female Democratic lawmakers wore white, as they did last year, to show their commitment to gender equality. In addition, several Democrats, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, boycotted the address and did not attend.
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer will respond to Trump's speech on Tuesday night on behalf of the Democratic Party, according to media reports. At that time, Whitmer is expected to emphasize that Republican policies have not helped average American families improve health care or their financial situations.
On foreign policy, Trump noted efforts to end U.S. wars in the Middle East and said talks with the Taliban were underway. Trump said he does not want to kill thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of whom are innocent. Trump also invited Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to the address.
On US-China relations, Trump referred to the newly concluded first phase trade agreement and said “we have perhaps the best relationship we have ever had with China”. Trump also mentioned the outbreak caused by the new coronavirus, saying the United States is coordinating with the Chinese government to deal with the outbreak.
As always, every detail of the address has been carefully captured by the media. This time, it was widely noted in the US media that the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who was seated behind Trump before his speech, extended her hand to him for a handshake, but Trump did not accept. At the end of Trump's speech, the image of Pelosi ripping Trump's speech became the climax of the evening and was widely reported by the media.