On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump delivered The State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol.
In Orlando, members of The College Republicans at UCF, led by Jarrett Cathcart, Chairman, gathered at a local restaurant, to watch the address and support the President as he detailed his administration’s accomplishments over the past year and outlined his legislative agenda.
“The College Republicans are excited to watch President Trump tonight, with his first State of the Union Address,” Cathcart said As he spoke, over twenty College Republican members, many of whom were dressed in Trump shirts and MAGA(Make America Great Again)hats.”This is something we have all been excited for ever since the inauguration last year, which a lot of us got to go to.”
Cathcart said he was looking forward to several topics being discussed. Prior to the speech, Cathcart told Knight News he hoped Trump would speak about the controversial FISA memo that Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee recently voted to release.
“So we’ll be looking forward to his plans for immigration reform, infrastructure, hopefully hear something about the memo tonight too, but I think its going to be really good and I’ll be looking forward to hearing it,” Cathcart, a senior majoring in economics, said.
Charles Crawford, a UCF alumni, predicted Trump would mainly speak about the state of the economy as well as his attempts at bipartisan immigration reform.
“What I’m expecting him to say tonight is basically he’s going to tout the economy that’s doing well, he’s going to talk about how he’s been working with democrats to try and get more border security and I think he’s going to lay part of the blame on why it hasn’t happened yet on the Democrats, rightfully so, because he’s offered them a DACA deal yet they’ve declined it several times based on the fact that they just don’t want to work with him and they do not want to have not only border security but especially the wall itself,” Crawford, a former history and political science major, said.
As many predicted, early in Trump’s address, he praised the economy, describing the creation of 2.4 million new jobs and the record-breaking stock market as well as a 45 year-low unemployment, including the lowest rate recorded for African-American and Hispanic American unemployment.
Trump also spoke about the recent tax reform legislation, that he and his party passed last year.
“And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses,” Trump said.
Cathcart felt that Trump would continue to emphasize the economy as his main focus throughout remaining years of his presidency.
“His main focus has been the economy, you’ve seen the stock market, you’ve seen the unemployment rate, you’ve seen all of that, companies moving back to the U.S.,” Cathcart said. “I think its something that he’s only going to put more and more emphasis on and its going to be the trend for the next three or seven years, however longer he’s in.”
In his address, President Trump reached out to Democrats, in an effort for bipartisan immigration reform.
“So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans, to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too,” Trump said.
He then cited the four pillars of his proposed immigration plan. The first being a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants “who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character.” The second pillar cited securing the border by building a wall and hiring more agents to protect it.
The final two pillars of his proposal were the ending of the visa lottery and chain migration. Trump then went on to explain how he wants America to have a merit-based immigration system.
“It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country,” Trump said.
As he concluded his proposal, he stated these pillars put America first and invited everyone to work together to get it done.
“Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done,” Trump said.
Emily Manning, a sophomore studying business , aligned with Trump on the need for tougher immigration policies.
“Based on his immigration policies, especially when he talked about the families who lost children from the MS-13 gang members. I hope people saw that and realize that we do need stricter immigration policies and laws and that hopefully the wall is going to be built soon and Democrats get behind him on those policies,” Manning said.
Manning said she was overall impressed with Trump’s speech and hoped it would unify the country.
“Overall, I think it was a great speech and I hope most of our country watched it and realized that we have a president that is truly for the people and is trying to make things better for our country and I hope people saw it as a unifying speech and don’t use it against the hard work he’s been trying to do,” Manning said.
Crawford similarly felt that this was a unifying speech and that coming together would be in everyone’s best interest.
“I thought it was a great speech overall. He called for unity while challenging the Democrats who are so determined to oppose anything he proposes simply because they are operating on an anti-Trump agenda. He reminded them that it will be in everyone’s favor if they would come to a compromise and work together,” Crawford said.
Cathcart was very happy with Trump’s speech, stating many people have been waiting for this for their entire childhoods and felt this was a good event for members of the College Republicans at UCF.
” I was really excited to hear about a lot of things he had to say. It seems like a lot of club members really enjoyed it. It was just really something we’ve been waiting on for really like all of our childhoods. We’ve finally got our President in there and he’s gonna get our goals done and he’s going to put America first,” Cathcart said.