A Kennedy responds

A Kennedy responds
US President Donald Trump has delivered his first State of the Union speech in which he highlighted his plans regarding immigration. Joe Kennedy, the scion of the Kennedy..

US President Donald Trump has delivered his first State of the Union speech in which he highlighted his plans regarding immigration.

Joe Kennedy, the scion of the Kennedy family and the person chosen by the Democrats to respond officially to Trump’s speech criticized the US President and noted that the nation was fractured.

Background

The State of the Union Address is an annual message presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress, except in the first year of a new President's term. The message includes a budget message and an economic report of the nation, and also allows the President to outline their legislative agenda (for which the cooperation of Congress is needed) and national priorities.

US President Donald Trump is a deeply divisive figure in American politics both domestically and internationally. His first year of Presidency was met with multiple controversies as well as the revelation that his presidential campaign was under the investigation by FBI. There is an ongoing investigation looking into whether members of the Trump Presidential campaign colluded with Russia to harm Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid. This has resulted in Trump gaining record-low approval ratings.

However, Trump has defended his actions by pointing out that the US economy is performing better than expected. The US economy expanded at an annual pace of 3% during the three months to the end of September. The growth rate was higher than what had been forecast by experts. In 2017, the stock market in US performed robustly. By November 2017, the markets continued to climb due to better than expected performance of the US economy.

Joe Kennedy

Joseph Patrick Kennedy III is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he is a member of the Kennedy clan.

Analysis

Trump delivered his first State of the Union address Tuesday night. During his speech, he promised a new “American moment” and emphasized on unity. The speech was well received by Republican party members, however, the Democrats criticized the US President and the many controversies he has been embroiled in presently.

“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,” Trump said. This is our new American moment,” he added. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.”

For most part of his speech, Trump brought up his own accomplishments. Well into the speech, he mentioned a proposal -- a massive infrastructure bill -- that he wanted Congress to take up. Tellingly, he only briefly mentioned Russia. He said, “Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values.”

In particular, he spoke about his immigration plan. It was the issue he spent most time speaking about. According to media reports, nearly 650 words in his address were about immigration. He also outlined his offer of a path to citizenship to 1.8 million "Dreamers" who were brought to this country illegally by their parents. He also spoke about merit based immigration.

The Democratic members in attendance noted that they were unimpressed with the President’s pitch on immigration and the nation’s governance. Joe Kennedy, the scion of the Kennedy family and the person chosen by the Democrats to respond officially to Trump’s speech criticized the US President and noted that the nation was fractured.

"Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark," the Massachusetts Democrat said. "But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future." He added, “It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics. But it's far bigger than that. This administration isn't just targeting the laws that protect us -- they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection."

Democrats choosing Kennedy to provide a rebuttal to Trump indicates that the party is willing to have a younger generation represent the party. Kennedy is 37 years old and despite being part of one of the most famous political families in America, is relatively unknown in national politics.

Assessment

Our assessment is that Trump’s State of the Union is unlikely to usher in a new era of bipartisanship. Kennedy who provided the rebuttal will now gain national and international exposure and could become a candidate to be the Democratic nominee during the next general elections. Trump’s stance on “merit based” immigration might prove to be good news for immigrants from nations like India. We also feel that Joe Kennedy will emerge as a strong US Presidential candidate in the near future. 

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