Trump lays out his vision for America

During his maiden address to Congress the US president touched on the economy, tax reforms, Obamacare, "national pride", immigration and a border wall with Mexico.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US President Trump addresses a Joint Session of Congress - Washington, US.

President Donald Trump hailed the emergence of a "new national pride" in his first speech to Congress on Tuesday, pushing for tough immigration enforcement as the key to delivering jobs and security at home.

During his speech he:

  • decried threats to Jewish centres
  • lauded "new national pride" sweeping America
  • vowed to “soon” begin construction of a “great great wall” on US-Mexico border
  • said his administration has taken steps to protect US from "radical Islamic terrorism"
  • promised new system of immigration based on merit
  • called on Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare
  • ​promised to boost economy through tax reforms
  • recommitted to US allies but says they must pay "fair share"
  • pledged $1 trillion to rebuild infrastructure

After arriving to cheers from members of the Republican-led House of Representatives and Senate, Trump declared "a new chapter of American greatness."

"A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp," he said, promising to save billions of dollars by enforcing immigration law. 

President Trump opened his speech by asserting his commitment to civil rights and condemning the recent wave of threats targeting Jewish centres across the United States.

"Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nation's path toward civil rights and the work that still remains," Trump began by saying.

"Recent threats targeting Jewish community centres and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms," he said.

US President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress in the House chamber of the US Capitol in Washington DC on February 28, 2017. (Reuters) 

The US president also reaffirmed an "unbreakable" alliance with Israel. 

Trump also said, "We strongly support NATO, but our partners must meet their financial obligations." Trump also warned, "My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America." 

He also said that he wants to promote clean air and clean water.

To fulfil his campaign promise to defeat Daesh, Trump said, "We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet," 

The billionaire president said his administration has taken steps to protect the US from “radical Islamic terrorism." 

He added, "We cannot allow the US to become a sanctuary for extremists."

Trump said he will shortly take steps to keep the US safe and “keep those out” who would do the US harm. "It is reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur."

"We must restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders," Trump declared, promising to build a "great, great wall" on America's southern border with Mexico. The US president did not make any reference to having Mexico pay for the border.

Trump said immigration reform is possible if both Republicans and Democrats in Congress were willing to compromise and "if focus is on better jobs, wages for Americans, national security, rule of law."

He also vowed to introduce a new merit-based immigration system to regulate new arrivals in the United States and reduce the flow of unskilled workers. 

Trump said an Australian-style immigration system would "save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families -- including immigrant families – enter the middle class."

US President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017, in Washington DC. (Reuters)

Pressing his domestic agenda, Trump promised to boost the US economy with tax reform and also provide "massive" tax relief for the American middle class.

He called on the Republican-led Congress to repeal his predecessor's landmark Obamacare health reform with reforms that expand choice, increase access and lower costs. Obamacare had expanded coverage to 20 million people.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare has been a Republican rallying cry for years, but there is still no clear plan in place to proceed.

"Democrats and Republicans should unite and work together for the benefit of the US and its people," he said.

The US president also pledged a $1 trillion infrastructure effort.

On economy, the real estate tycoon-turned-reality TV star-turned president said, "We have to make it much, much harder for companies to leave the US. "I believe in free trade, but it also has to be fair trade,” he further said.

TRTWorld and agencies