WASHINGTON – In the face of fierce opposition from the Democratic Party, President Trump attempted to lift the American spirit to dream in his second State of the Union address – to "do the incredible" and "to defy the impossible."
Trump challenged Americans to believe "our most thrilling achievements are still ahead – our most exciting journeys still await, our biggest victories are still to come."
"We have not yet BEGUN TO DREAM," he said.
Trump tried to inspire the nation to believe "we can conquer the unknown. This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination."
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In a swirling appeal to unity and belief in the country, he said: "This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots. This is our future – our fate – and our choice to make."
"I am asking you to CHOOSE GREATNESS," Trump said.
It was a kinder, gentler, yet immovable Trump on his signature agenda for border security and prosperity.
He invited Americans to "step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this Great American Adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century. An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach. We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before."
To get there, Trump said "we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution – and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good. 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. We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. Tonight, I ask you to choose GREATNESS."
"Members of Congress, the state of our union is strong," he said. But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, sitting right behind Trump, did not stand to clap. Some Republicans in the House stood and chanted "USA."
"That sounds so good," Trump said. "Our country is vibrant, and our economy is thriving like never before."
"There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it," Trump added. "Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our COUNTRY."
Dozens of Democratic women dressed in white to show their support for women's issues. It was referred to as a "white out."
The president continued to hold out hope of reconciliation between the parties.
"Together, we can break decades of political stalemate," he said. "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."
But he showed no sign of backing down on border security.
"No issue better illustrates the divide between America's working class and America's political class than illegal immigration," he said. "Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards. Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis."
With 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, Trump called for Congress to pass legislation that will put "the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business."
"As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States," Trump said. "We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our Southern Border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught. This," he said, "is a moralL issue."
Trump said pointedly: "Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel."
He highlighted the following points:
"1 in 3 women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north."
"Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country."
"Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery."
"Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities – including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl."
"The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in at least 20 different American states, and they almost all come through our Southern Border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they're going to keep streaming back in."
"Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens."