4 key takeaways from Trump's address to Congress - CBS46 News

4 key takeaways from Trump's address to Congress

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(Source: Getty Images) (Source: Getty Images)

While laying out his vision for making America “greater than ever before,” President Donald Trump spoke about his agenda in broad terms. In a speech that ran a little over an hour, he touched on a long list of issues, from immigration to Obamacare to national security and his imminent budget proposal.

With so much to sift through, it can be hard to know just what you should pay attention to. Here are our top four takeaways from the President’s address.

1. The President looked, well, presidential

It doesn’t seem like it should be a headline, but a big question coming into Tuesday’s address was how Trump would handle the more scripted and formal confines of addressing a joint session of Congress. More improvisational by nature, Trump has often eschewed the teleprompter in favor of a more off-the-cuff delivery, but he stuck to the script Tuesday.

And he avoided picking at many of the festering feuds he fuels with his Twitter feed. He only took one jab at his favorite target of late, the media, when he announced the creation of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or Voice, to give “a voice to those who have been ignored by our media...”

He also offered up a message of hope to go with his often gloomy rhetoric about the state of America, giving viewers a path to believe in, not reason for despair. He still painted a less-than-rosy picture of the current state of things, but this time paired descriptions of “neglected inner cities” with a promise of a “rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity.” He didn’t just say that “Obamacare is collapsing,” he gave Congress a list of priorities for its replacement.

2. A strong message of Nationalism

“A new chapter of American greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation.”

A consistent theme Tuesday night was nationalism, echoing his Inaugural address’ promise of “America first.” Consistently, he emphasized where he believed the government should be focusing its efforts: American citizens, and only American citizens.

“...America must put its own citizens first, because only then can we truly make America great again.”

And that philosophy would seem to hold true in foreign policy as well, as Trump hinted at a somewhat Isolationist approach to global issues. He said trillions of dollars invested in the Middle East would have been better spent at home, and that “America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path.”

“My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.”

3. A passionate defense of border security

Trump didn’t miss the opportunity to defend his immigration and deportation policies in front of a national audience. He spoke of building a “great, great wall” to address “an environment of lawless chaos.” And he introduced four of his guests that evening to bring the point home, all family members of law enforcement officers killed by undocumented immigrants. Finally, he leveled a challenge to legislators that oppose his policies.

“To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this one question: What would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income or their loved one because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”

He spent less time making a case for his contested immigration ban. Saying a new, revised vetting procedure would be released soon, Trump said anyone allowed into the United States “should support this country and love its people and its values.” And he forecast a dangerous future without those measures.

“It is not compassionate, but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. ...we cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”

4. An emotional tribute to a fallen soldier

Trump pointed out several guests of honor during the course of his address, but the emotional moment of the night belonged to Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy Seal Ryan Owens. Owens lost his life during the first military operation of Trump’s presidency, one that has drawn heavy criticism for its planning and execution, including from Owens’ father, who has called for an investigation.

But Tuesday night, as Trump quoted his defense secretary’s praise for the operation, and paid tribute to the fallen Navy Seal and his sacrifice, all eyes were on the sobbing widow.

“Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.”

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