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Analysis: Unsurprisingly, Trump Fails to Unite in his First SOTU

The president proved he is just as dangerous polished as he is unhinged.

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In the first State of the Union address of his presidency, President Donald Trump failed to unite a divided nation and instead opted for divisive stances on immigration, religion and first amendment rights.

Of course, this is a shock to no one.

His speech didn’t feature his trademark word salad, but he chose to speak only to his supporters rather than make an attempt to address legitimate concerns people have had about his presidency. He weaved inspiring stories of tragedy survivors, grieving families, and military heroes between calls to upend modern American democracy.

VP Mike Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan listen to the president’s speech last night. (Image: CBS Video)

He chose not to mention the current investigation into his campaign’s relationship with Russia. Instead, he opted for cheap applause and acclaim over Obama administration accomplishments that he’s foolishly trying to play off as his own.

Throughout multiple points in his speech, the president referred to America’s faith in God as universal. This traditional Republican value is jarring. There is, of course, no official religion in the United States. The melting pot of faith is essential to the essence of this country. Each person has the right to believe in the high power of their choice.

This also leaves opportunity for non-believers to have their own freedom in this regard as well. It’s simply un-American for any president to assert that this country is united under one particular being.

This was just an attempt to appeal to Trump’s largely Christian base. But it’s concerning nevertheless. Though the comments undermining freedom of religion were quick, they cannot be ignored given the president’s many attempts to undermine freedom every day.

President Trump’s comments on immigration prove further that he and his party cannot be trusted when it comes to reform despite Democrats foolish wishes for a compromise. One particular moment went stood out among the rest.

When urging Congress to unite for immigration legislation, Trump said “Americans are dreamers, too.” It’s unclear exactly what this means. The comments came in a section of the speech dedicated to reaffirming his dedication to helping the American people.

“I am extending an open hand to work with the members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion and creed. My duty and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber is to defend Americans, to protect their safety, their families, their communities and their right to the American dream,” said Trump.

His words here are meaningless given his stances on immigration. This is nothing but an empty promise and a feeble attempt at a commitment to diversity.

In fact, his comments likely allude to something much more sinister. The president made it clear in his speech that he was the leader of the American people and touted the idea of the American dream.  It seemed as though he was saying that he only cares about legal citizens. He surely mentioned immigrants and stated a commitment to helping them. But he seemed much more confident in his promise to help Americans.

His policies and attitude throughout his entire political career serve to prove this as well.

Republicans have no intention of helping immigrants and the president only proved that further in his speech. His cheap political rhetoric means nothing when he still speaks of building walls to keep people out of the country. He used a family’s grief in a horrible attempt to build a case against immigration. He fed off of their tears and pain to create a political moment for himself and his party. Trump wanted to gain power and status in this ongoing legislative battle, and chose to do so at the cost of family that’s already been through enough. This alone proves who the president truly is and renders any hope of uniting the legislature for the common good utterly pointless.

The president was able to stay on script throughout the speech, but that cannot be applauded. It is not only the bare minimum for a presidential address, but the true meaning behind his prepared remarks prove he is just as dangerous polished as he is unhinged. His presidency has lacked leadership and courage since Day One, and his first State of the Union address proves that there is no hope for improvement in the future.

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Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

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