Trump Delivers 2019 State Of The Union Address — Live Updates

Tuesday, February 5th 2019, 9:29 pm
By: News 9

President Trump entered the House chamber to applause Tuesday evening to deliver his second State of the Union speech, coming just weeks after the longest government shutdown in history.


With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence seated behind him on the dais of the House chamber, Mr. Trump planned to implore the assembled lawmakers to "break decades of political stalemate" and "heal old wounds."

The House chamber was marked by dozens of Democratic women wearing white, the color historically associated with the suffragette movement.

Mr. Trump's speech is his first address to a joint session with one House controlled by Democrats. His remarks come as Congress works to craft a deal on border security to prevent another shutdown before a looming mid-month deadline.


State of the Union live updates -- follow below:

Stacey Abrams delivers Democratic rebuttal

10:39 p.m.: Democrat Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic rebuttal to President Trump's State of the Union address shortly after he concluded his speech in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Abrams narrowly lost Georgia's gubernatorial election in November.

Abrams drew from her experience growing up in a middle class family to explain her view about America.

"My family understood firsthand that while success is not guaranteed, we live in a nation where opportunity is possible," she said. "But we do not succeed alone - in these United States, when times are tough, we can persevere because our friends and neighbors will come for us. Our first responders will come for us."

Abrams emphasized the importance of bipartisanship and the need to avoid another government shutdown like the one which left 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay for 35 days.


Abrams also alluded to her time as the minority leader of the Georgia state House of Representatives, saying that in times of difficulty in the state, "the leaders of our state didn't shut down -- we came together. And we kept our word."

"It should be no different in our nation's capital. We may come from different sides of the political aisle; but, our joint commitment to the ideals of this nation cannot be negotiable," she said.

"Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers. They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn't received a paycheck in weeks," Abrams said, accusing Mr. Trump of "making their livelihoods a pawn for political games."

Abrams outlined Democratic priorities, like strengthening gun control, working on reducing student loans, and decreasing economic inequality.

"In Georgia and around the country, people are striving for a middle class where a salary truly equals economic security. But instead, families' hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn't understand it," Abrams said.

She also hit back against Mr. Trump's call to build a wall at the southern border, saying: "America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants - not walls."

In her speech, Abrams also discussed voting rights, as she has long advocated for greater access to the ballot.


"While I acknowledged the results of the 2018 election here in Georgia - I did not and we cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote. That's why I started a nonpartisan organization called Fair Fight to advocate for voting rights," she said.

"This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country. We must reject the cynicism that says allowing every eligible vote to be cast and counted is a 'power grab,'" Abrams said, referencing a recent speech where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of a "power grab" by supporting making election day a federal holiday.

Like Mr. Trump, ironically, Abrams pleaded for greater unity among the American people.

"In this time of division and crisis, we must come together and stand for, and with, one another," she said. "So even as I am very disappointed by the president's approach to our problems - I still don't want him to fail. But we need him to tell the truth, and to respect his duties and the extraordinary diversity that defines America."

Abrams concluded her speech by saying that "the state of our union will always be strong" because Americans fight for "shared values."

Congress closes joint session

10:35 p.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the joint session of Congress dissolved. The session then adjourned.

President Trump departs House chamber

10:29 p.m.: President Trump concluded his speech and exited the House chamber at around 10:30 p.m.


President Trump wraps up speech on hopeful note

10:23 p.m.: President Trump concluded the speech on a hopeful note, with a final call for bipartisanship.

"Think of this Capitol -- think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire," Mr. Trump said.

He added that the country's "biggest victories are still to come."

"We must choose whether we are defined by our differences -- or whether we dare to transcend them," Mr. Trump said. "We must choose whether we squander our inheritance -- or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans: we do the incredible, we defy the impossible, we conquer the unknown."

In an allusion to two of his favorite campaign slogans, "Make America Great Again" and "America First," Mr. Trump called for Congress to keep America "first in our hearts" and to "choose greatness."

President Trump denounces anti-Semitism

10:14 p.m.: President Trump denounced the "vile poison of Anti-Semitism," and referred to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earlier this year, which killed 11 people.

"With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs," Mr. Trump said. SWAT Officer Timothy Matson, a first responder during the shooting who was shot seven times, was a guest at the State of the Union.

Mr. Trump praised another guest at the address, Judah Samet, a survivor of the massacre at the synagogue and of the Holocaust. The chamber then broke out in an impromptu round of the song "Happy Birthday to You."

Joshua Kaufman, a survivor of the Dachau concentration camp, was also in attendance at the State of the Union address.


President Trump addresses controversial Middle East policies

10:11 p.m.: President Trump addressed his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, which has been met with resistance from many Republicans.

"We have spent more than $7 trillion dollars in the Middle East. As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars," Mr. Trump said. He claimed that the U.S. has helped to liberate Syria and Iraq from the terrorist group ISIS.

Mr. Trump also discussed the war in Afghanistan, which has been ongoing for the past eighteen years. The administration is currently negotiating peace talks with the Taliban. Some Republicans are concerned that the Afghan government is not playing a bigger role in the negotiations.

"As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism," Mr. Trump said. "We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement -- but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace."

President Trump announces summit with Kim Jong-Un

10:07 p.m.: President Trump announced a second summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un at the end of the month.

"If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea," Mr. Trump claimed. "Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one."

He said that he will meet with Kim on Feb. 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

10:00 p.m.: After receiving bipartisan applause over his support for paid family leave, President Trump addressed the contentious issue of abortion rights around an hour into his speech. He criticized a law recently passed in the New York state legislature which strengthened abortion protections.

"Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth," Mr. Trump said, incorrectly. The law passed in New York decriminalizes abortion past 24 weeks of pregnancy. Late-term abortions are rare and typically occur when the life of the mother or fetus is in danger.

He also criticized embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was criticized last week for his comments on how late-term abortions occur.

"To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb," Mr. Trump said, to cheers from Republicans. "And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image ofGod."

Trump outlines priorities for Congress

9:50 p.m.: President Trump called on Congress to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, "so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us."

He also alluded to the long-promised infrastructure plan, a priority of his administration since taking office.

"I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future," he said.

State of Union
Republicans stand as President Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.ANDREW HARNIK / AP

Mr. Trump also discussed the need to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices.


Democrats cheer loudly at a line on women gaining new jobs

An unexpected audience cheered at a line in Mr. Trump's speech: Democratic congresswomen. When Mr. Trump said that women filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year, Democratic congresswomen jumped up and cheered.

"You weren't supposed to do that," Mr. Trump quipped to the Democratic side of the chamber. "Thank you very much."

After women began to sit down, Mr. Trump urged them to remain standing: "Don't sit yet, you're going to like this," he joked.

He then acknowledged that more women were serving in Congress than at any other time in history. This was met by standing ovations and a chant of "USA." This time, Democrats joined in on the chant.


President Trump calls for Congress to fund a border wall

9:42 p.m.: President Trump touted his "common sense" proposal to build a wall at the southern border. Although other presidents had not managed to build a border wall, Mr. Trump said, "I will get it built."

"This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier -- not just a simple concrete wall," Mr. Trump said. "Walls work and walls save lives!"

He used the examples of San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas as two cities on the border with walls.

President Trump discusses "crisis" at southern border

9:30 p.m.: President Trump called on Congress to pass a bill to fund the government. Mr. Trump signed a bill reopening the government without money for a border wall after a 35-day shutdown in late January. The continuing resolution to fund the government ends on Feb. 15, and Mr. Trump has continued his call for funding for a border wall.

"Now is the time for Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business," Mr. Trump said. He said that he ordered 3,750 military troops to the southern border to stop "caravans" of migrants from entering the United States.

"Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country," Mr. Trump said. He repeated an argument he has often made to justify the wall, saying that wealthy and powerful people keep walls around their houses to protect from intruders.

"Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate -- it is actually very cruel," Mr. Trump said, citing human and drug trafficking concerns. However, much of the drugs which passes over the border is smuggled in through legal points of entry.


He then pivoted to discussing the victims of crime by illegal migrants. He praised three of his guests, the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Gerald and Sharon David, who were killed by an illegal immigrant in Reno, Nevada in January.

"Not one more American life should be lost because our nation failed to control its very dangerous border," Mr. Trump said.

He also celebrated another guest, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer Elvin Hernandez, who immigrated to the U.S. legally from the Dominican Republic as a child and now leads investigations into sex trafficking.

President Trumps touts passage of First Step Act

President Trump touted the passage of the bipartisan First Step Act, a criminal justice reform act, which Mr. Trump said "gives non-violent offenders the chance tore-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens."

He also praised guest Alice Johnson, a first-time non-violent drug offender sentenced to life in prison, whose sentence he commuted after hearing about her situation from Kim Kardashian West. He also praised guest Matthew Charles, the first man released under the First Step Act.

Trump says State of the Union is "strong," briefly alludes to Mueller investigation

9:22 p.m.: President Trump said that the "State of our Union is strong," again to a standing ovation and chants of "USA" from Republicans. Many Democrats did not clap.

"That sounds so good," Mr. Trump quipped, responding to the chants.


"An economic miracle is taking place in the United States -- and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations," Mr. Trump said, referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."

Mr. Trump has also made the controversial decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, which many Republicans oppose.

Mr. Trump also called for executive and judicial appointments to be confirmed by the Senate.

President Trump touts his administration's accomplishments

Mr. Trump touted his administration's accomplishments in his first two years in office to a standing ovation from the Republican side of the chamber.

"The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world -- not even close," Mr. Trump said, repeating a common line from campaign rallies about low unemployment rates among African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and women.

Mr. Trump also touted the tax overhaul which passed Congress at the end of 2017.

Democrats looked on wearing frowns or stone-faced as Republicans applauded several of Mr. Trump's lines on about the state of the economy.


President Trump outlines the "agenda of the American people"

9:05 p.m.: Mr. Trump began his State of the Union address with a call for bipartisanship.

"The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people," Mr. Trump said. Democrats prefer to use the adjectival "Democratic" instead of "Democrat," but Mr. Trump and other Republicans use "Democrat" as an adjective instead.

"Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country," Mr. Trump said. He introduced three soldiers who served on D-Day, as this year marks the 75th anniversary since that battle in World War II. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was one of the men to fly to the moon 50 years ago on Apollo 11, was also in attendance.

"We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution -- and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good," Mr. Trump said, in a paean to bipartisanship, although he is known for publicly insulting and belittling his political enemies. "We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction."

State of Union
President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., watch, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.ANDREW HARNIK / AP

President Trump enters the chamber

9:03 p.m.: President Trump has entered the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union address. He shook hands with lawmakers on his way to the dais to give the speech.


First lady enters the House chamber

State of Union
First lady Melania Trump waves as she arrives for President Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.ANDREW HARNIK / AP

8:56 p.m.: First lady Melania Trump entered the House chamber to extended applause. The president's cabinet, excepting Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the designated survivor, then entered the chamber.

Supreme Court Justices enter the chamber

8:54 p.m.: Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch, entered the House chamber for the State of the Union. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito do not attend because of personal philosophy.

President Trump has arrived at the Capitol

8:50 p.m.: President Trump has arrived at the Capitol.

Rick Perry is the designated survivor

8:49 p.m.: CBS News has confirmed that Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry is the designated survivor, meaning that if the Capitol is attacked, Perry will become president.


President Trump leaves the White House

8:40 p.m.: President Trump has left the White House to travel to the Capitol for the State of the Union.

Kamala Harris delivers pre-State of the Union address

8:39 p.m.: Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 presidential candidate, delivered remarks on Facebook Live at 7:45 p.m. ET prior to President Trump's State of the Union address.

Harris told viewers to take Mr. Trump's speech with a grain of salt. She said that when Mr. Trump talks about a growing economy and crisis on the border, that listeners should not forget about the realities of minorities, immigrants and middle class. She urged leaders to recommit themselves to the truth and fighting for an "optimistic America."


Harris ended her video by telling viewers to tune into Stacey Abrams and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's speeches after Mr. Trump's address.

Harris brought a government worker who was furloughed during the recent shutdown as her guest to the State of the Union, telling CBS News' Nancy Cordes the shutdown was "not without harm." Harris and her guest Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik spoke to Cordes before the senator's pre-speech rebuttal to President Trump's address.

Excerpts from President Trump's State of the Union address

8:07 p.m.: The White House has released excerpts of President Trump's State of the Union address, less than an hour before Mr. Trump is set to give the speech. Based on the excerpts provided, the speech will address the need for bipartisanship and unity, as well as his administration's accomplishments over the past year.

Mr. Trump is expected to say that he is not laying out a party agenda, but an "agenda of the American People."

"Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make," Mr. Trump will say.

Mr. Trump will call for a border wall, a signature issue of his campaign and presidency. The president recently capitulated to Democrats by reopening the government after a 35-day shutdown with no money for a wall guaranteed. Mr. Trump signed a continuing resolution for the government to remain open through Feb. 15.

"No issue better illustrates the divide between America's WORKING CLASS and America's POLITICAL CLASS than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards," Mr. Trump will say. The capitalization was present in the excerpts provided for the press.


Find all the excerpts here.

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