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A Look Back at the State of the Union

Shortly following the longest government shutdown to date, the delayed State of the Union took place on February 5th, 2019. This SOTU is President Donald Trump’s first with a house held by Democrats, and his acknowledgement of recent political turnover, among a myriad of other issues, was highly anticipated.

Though most SOTUs commence with an introduction made by the Speaker of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi made no such speech, presumably at the request of President Trump. Despite her inability to speak at the SOTU, Speaker Pelosi made powerful statements through other means.

Speaker Pelosi, along with over 100 other women in Congress, in homage to the suffragettes who earned women the right to vote, was donned in all white. Their outfits and all they stand for made a stark statement at the SOTU, as every time the camera panned from President Trump to the crowd, the mass of women in white stood in stark contrast to the sea of men in suits and ties.

While the group of women remained seated for the majority of Trump’s address, some moments managed to bring them to their feet. This included standing out of respect during introductions of people in attendance, most of whom had endured tremendous hardship or had made great sacrifices for the country. Women also rose to their feet and cheered when Trump discussed the progress of women in the country and their rise in the workforce.

In addition to this, Trump also touched on some of the topics which everyone was all but sure would be mentioned. Trump talked about his stance on immigration, claiming he was in favor of increased legal immigration -– which is contradictory to past statements – but that he felt there was no room for tolerance of illegal immigration.

The raid against illegal immigration included many mentions of the wall he hopes to build, though Trump failed to make any direct mention of the government shut down, which was his response to being denied funding for the wall.  

Trump also discussed his mission to outlaw late-term abortions, sparking the Republican side of the hall to rise to their feet, and unsurprisingly left most Democrats seated.

While of course the night was filled with clear contention between the two sides, Trump had said both at the beginning of the speech and at many points throughout, that he hoped not to push a Republican agenda, but rather a bi-partisan one. Whether or not the speech managed to do so is a different story entirely.

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