On February 5th, 2019, President Trump addressed the American people in the annual State of the Union Address (SOTU). An annual overview of the president’s term and his plans for the future, this year’s SOTU sought to unite divided partisans, highlight the success of professional women, and advance security measures, particularly along the southern border.

Leading up to the address, a primary concern was whether Trump’s speech was going to be one of unity or one of division. He made his intentions quite clear in his opening remarks stating, “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.”

Upper school Choir Director, Mr. Richard Carrillo thought Trump succeeded in unifying his listeners during “the praise of the women’s success in Congress, the heartfelt moment of the holocaust survivor, his savior, and raising awareness of childhood cancer”.  “Those moments were a good way to wash away partisanship,” added Isabella Igbanugo ‘19.

Grace Eline, honored during the SOTU address for surviving brain cancer and bringing awareness to childhood cancer.

Trump’s efforts to unify came across throughout the address, but Carrillo further reflected, “at times he tried to reach out more broadly, but he was still making an effort to advance his platform and agenda. Our politics are so divided anyway, that to even express one’s opinions and policies would come off as divided on either side.”  Nonetheless, Igbanago believes “it is a nice bridge between the president and the American people.” She continued, “[Trump] had the intent of unifying but because of the strong partisanship, the government shutdown, and the disapproving democratic audience members’ response it seemed like it wasn’t as unifying.”  

Democratic female members of Congress cheer at this year’s SOTU after President Trump announced there are more women in Congress than ever before.

For some, the annual event didn’t hold any appeal at all. Mr. Ian Skemp, US history teacher, didn’t even watch the speech, saying, “I cannot stomach such cheap political posturing. I wish presidents would go back to just having a letter delivered to Congress now and then instead of making such a big, pompous show about it.”  In the end, everyone will have a different opinion of the speech, perhaps even the practice itself.  To stay informed and come to your own conclusions, watch President Trump’s SOTU speech at: https://youtu.be/CjbdMU2shPE.

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