President Trump urges Americans to 'choose greatness' in State of the Union address

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019
President Trump urges American's to 'choose greatness' in State of the Union address
President Donald Trump finished his 82-minute speech on an optimistic note, suggesting that "our biggest victories are still to come."

WASHINGTON -- "In concluding his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump is urging Americans to "choose greatness." Trump finished his 82-minute speech on an optimistic note, suggesting that "our biggest victories are still to come" and that "we have not yet begun to dream."

FACT CHECK: President Trump's claims in his State of Union address

The Latest on President Donald Trump's State of the Union address (all times local):

10:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump, in concluding his State of the Union address, is urging Americans to "choose greatness."

Trump finished his 82-minute speech on an optimistic note, suggesting that "our biggest victories are still to come" and that "we have not yet begun to dream." And he urged the nation to not be "defined by our differences."

But despite Trump's call for unity, much of his speech echoed his usual partisan talking points and the reaction to his address varied wildly among Democrats and Republicans.

In concluding his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump is urging Americans to "choose greatness."

Moreover, Trump, in the hours before speech, attacked Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. And the president's previous public pleas for bipartisanship have usually worn off in a matter of days, often overwhelmed by a flood of his incendiary tweets.

FULL TEXT: Read President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech


10:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is launching a campaign to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030, targeting areas where new infections happen and getting highly effective drugs to people at risk.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and senior public health officials say the campaign would focus on areas where about half of new HIV cases occur. That includes 48 counties, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and seven states with at-risk rural residents.

Anti-AIDS groups are reacting with both skepticism and cautious optimism.

Trump said in his State of the Union speech Tuesday that funding will be in his budget. He did not specify an amount.

There are about 40,000 new cases of HIV infection a year in the U.S. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

RELATED: Pres. Trump to meet with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam


10: 30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States stands with the people of Venezuela in their "noble quest for freedom. He condemned "the brutality" of President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to ratchet up pressure on Maduro, saying he has turned the wealthy nation in to a state of poverty. He also said that the U.S. will never be a socialist country.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido (Gwy-DOH) has deemed himself the country's interim president over Maduro, who banned opponents from running in an election last year that has been condemned internationally as illegitimate.

The U.S. and more than 30 other countries have now recognized Guaido.

Earlier Tuesday, Maduro lashed out at Trump, saying he was obsessed with Venezuela because the U.S. wants steal Venezuelan oil.

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10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling on lawmakers from both parties to come together "for a great rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure" as he highlights a slew of domestic policy proposals during his State of the Union speech.

Trump typically spends most of his time talking about issues like trade and immigration.

But he says Tuesday night that he's eager to work with Congress on an infrastructure package - without offering specifics. And he says his "next major priority" will be working to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs.

Trump also says his coming budget will ask Democrats and Republicans "to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years."

And he's calling on Congress to dedicate $500 million over the next 10 years to fund childhood cancer research.

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10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is denouncing embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in calling for tougher anti-abortion legislation.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump asked Congress to pass legislation to prevent "late-term abortion of children."

He attacked Northam - not by name, but by title - claiming he would "execute a baby after birth." Northam in an interview last week defended, in rare occasions, the practice of third-trimester abortions.

Trump received the enthusiastic backing of evangelicals and pro-life advocates during the 2016 elections and aides have said he planned to focus on the issue ahead of his re-election campaign.


10:20 p.m.

House Democrats are sitting stone faced through much of President Donald Trump's references to overhauling immigration during his State of the Union address.

Republicans jumped to their feet again and again when Trump said the U.S. needs to crack down on people entering the U.S. illegally.

Mostly, Democrats stayed seated. Some booed when Trump described immigrants on the march to the U.S. Some chuckled when he referred to a "tremendous onslaught" of people coming over the border. Most sat in silence when he said that encouraging illegal immigration was "cruel."

But Trump did get some applause when he saluted more women serving in Congress. Many of the Democrats who wore white high-fived each other and chanted, "U-S-A!"

Trump said, "That's great. Very great."


10:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is suggesting that a multination arms control agreement could be negotiated to replace the one with Russia he is exiting.

Trump accused Moscow of repeatedly violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with "impunity" by deploying banned missiles. Russia says it's pulling out, too.

U.S. officials also worry that China is gaining a significant military advantage in Asia by deploying large numbers of missiles with ranges beyond the treaty's limit. China is not party to the treaty.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Trump said that perhaps the U.S. could negotiate a "different agreement, adding China and others" or "perhaps we can't."

If not, Trump vowed that the U.S. would "outspend" and "out-innovate" all other nations in the development of arms to protect America.


10 p.m.

A special agent who works to combat human trafficking is among President Donald Trump's State of the Union guests.

Elvin Hernandez works in the New York office of Homeland Security Investigations. He and his colleagues began targeting a violent pipeline for prostitution through Tenancingo (ten-ahn-SEEN'-go), Mexico, in 2012. The final defendants were sentenced last month to decades in prison.

Trump has pushed the idea that human trafficking is a major reason why he needs $5.7 billion for a border wall, even though most trafficking victims come through ports of entry, according to data from the International Organization for Migration.

In total, Hernandez said during one investigation he and his colleagues brought down more than 80 defendants; rescued more than 150 victims, including 45 minors; and reunified 19 children with their mothers.


9:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is addressing immigration in his State of the Union speech, saying Republicans and Democrats "must join forces" to confront what he's calling "an urgent national crisis."

Trump says Congress "has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland and secure our very dangerous southern border" ahead of a February 15 deadline. Critics dispute the level of danger at the border.

But he's made no reference to the national emergency he's threatened to declare if Democrats in Congress fail to give in to his demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the southern border.

Trump says that lawmakers "have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens."

Democrats oppose Trump's stalled wall as immoral and unnecessary.


9:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is declaring that the state of the union is "strong."

The president delivered his annual address to Congress on Tuesday with the now-standard declaration that the nation is prospering.

Trump, whose red tie was oddly askew, declared "our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before."

He added that "the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations" an apparent swipe at the special counsel probe into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

He was greeted with cheers from the Republicans in the chamber and chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A" filled half the room.

But many Democrats did not cheer, including dozens of female lawmakers who wore white as a tribute to suffragettes.


9:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump has invited some previously unannounced guests to his State of the Union speech.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin - the second man to walk on the moon - is among those seated in the House chamber for the president's speech.

Trump is also honoring World War II veterans who participated in D-Day and recounting the "fifteen thousand young American men" who "jumped from the sky and sixty thousand more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny."

Three D-Day veterans, Pfc. Joseph Reilly, Staff Sgt. Locker and Sgt. Herman Zeitchik, are also attending.


9:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump will hold a two-day summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam to try to convince him to give up his nuclear weapons program.

The announcement was made in Trump's prepared remarks the White House released for his Tuesday night State of the Union address.

Trump has said that his outreach to Kim and their first meeting last June in Singapore opened a path to peace. But there is not yet a concrete plan for how denuclearization could be implemented.

U.S. intelligence chiefs believe there is little likelihood Kim will voluntarily give up his nuclear weapons or missiles capable of carrying them. Private analysts reviewing commercial satellite imagery have assessed that the North is still developing nuclear and missile technology despite suspending tests.

RELATED: Some women Democrats wear white to State of the Union


9:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in the House chamber to deliver his State of the Union speech.

Trump, wearing a red tie, was greeted with a round of applause from Republicans as well as some Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The chamber is filled with his family members, Cabinet, a handful of Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and their invited guests.

Trump is expected to strike a unifying tone in his remarks, which are expected to touch on subjects including immigration, trade negotiations with China and U.S. troop deployments in the Middle East.

The speech is being delivered a week later than originally scheduled after Pelosi said Trump would not be allowed to speak in front of the House Chamber until the partial government shutdown came to an end.

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8:55 p.m.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is the so-called designated survivor for this year's State of the Union address.

By tradition, one Cabinet secretary is closeted away at a secure, undisclosed location to ensure continuity of government in case disaster strikes while government leaders attend the speech.

The choice of Perry was confirmed by a White House official, who was not authorized to disclose the person's identity, and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was last year's designated survivor.

Trump's choice this year was limited by the number of "acting" secretaries in the Cabinet. Only Senate-confirmed secretaries (and natural-born citizens) in the line of succession to the presidency can assume control of government in a crisis.

--Contributed by Zeke Miller


8:50 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and dozens of women Democrats are wearing white to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.

As Pelosi climbed the dais, they gathered in the aisle of the Democratic side of the House, raising their voices and hands as other members raised their cell phones and recorded the moment. Most women on that side of the House chamber were wearing the color favored by suffragettes and the president's opponents who want him to see them from the dais.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a white caped blazer. A man wore white, too: Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota.

The palpable excitement comes after the November elections sent a record number of women, most of them Democrats, to Congress.


8:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump will call on Congress to "break decades of political stalemate" in Tuesday night's State of the Union speech.

Trump will tell the American people that the country is "winning each and every day," but has "a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens."

And he will accuse "wealthy politicians and donors" of pushing "for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards."

That's according to early excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

He'll also say that: "Great nations do not fight endless wars."

Trump is expected to strike a unifying tone in his remarks, despite his current showdown with Democrats over border-wall funding that led to the longest government shutdown in the nation's history.


7:05 p.m.

Hours ahead of the State of the Union address, at least a dozen members of Congress were milling around the House chamber.

A number of women were wearing white, the color that suffragettes favored and that President Donald Trump's opponents want him to see.

The scene was a preview for what's expected to be an especially tense event just over a week after Trump capitulated on his demand for border-wall funding in exchange for ending the longest government shutdown in history. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who led the effort to block the funding, will sit behind Trump as he delivers the address, along with Vice President Mike Pence.

Security was extraordinarily tight outside the Capitol building ahead of Trump's arrival later in the evening.


6:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump's Washington hotel is buzzing ahead of the State of the Union address.

The Pennsylvania Avenue hotel's soaring lobby is packed with onlookers in advance of the speech, which staffers told guests is to be broadcast on the TVs with the volume up.

Among those spotted in the lobby: the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Also there were Trump allies like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and conservative advocate Charlie Kirk.

Some of those in attendance were spotted consuming steak frites and grilled octopus.


5 p.m.

President Donald Trump's two Supreme Court picks are among four justices expected to attend the State of the Union. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not be among them.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan are expected to join Trump nominees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch in the House chamber on Tuesday.

Justices typically attend State of the Union speeches given by the president who nominated them. Roberts and Kagan have never missed the State of the Union address since they've been on the court.

The 85-year-old Ginsburg is recovering from cancer surgery in December. She made her first public appearance since the surgery on Monday at a concert given by her daughter-in-law in Washington, D.C. Ginsburg did not attend Trump's speech last year, either.


4:50 p.m.

The bitter partisanship of the past two years is on full display hours before President Donald Trump is expected to call for optimism and unity in his State of the Union address.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that the president talks about unity in his annual addresses to the nation but "spends the other 364 days of the year dividing us."

Trump responded that Schumer was "just upset that he didn't win the Senate, after spending a fortune."

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were skeptical ahead of Trump's televised address. Democrats see little evidence the president is willing to compromise. Even Trump's staunchest allies know that bipartisan rhetoric read off of a teleprompter is usually undermined by scorching tweets and unpredictable policy maneuvers.


2:15 p.m.

Iowa Republican Steve King says his State of the Union guest will be Lynette Hardaway, otherwise known as the video blogger Diamond.

King tweeted on Tuesday that since he only has one guest seat, he flipped a coin between inviting Hardaway and her video partner, Rochelle Richardson, also known as Silk. Hardaway won the coin toss.

The Iowa congressman has come under fire recently for questioning in a New York Times article how white supremacy became an offensive term. House Republicans stripped King of his committee seats and some called on him to resign. King denies he is a racist.

Both women, known as Diamond & Silk, are African-American and prominent Trump supporters.


1 p.m.

Among House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's State of the Union guests are the Planned Parenthood president, active-duty transgender service members and chef Jose Andres. Andres heads a charity that began in 2010 to feed earthquake survivors in Haiti and that offered free food and coffee to furloughed workers during the partial government shutdown.

Lawmakers often make a political statement with their invitees.

Among other guests are Fred Guttenberg, the father of a Parkland, Florida, student killed by gun violence, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez and several national labor union leaders.

Pelosi's husband, Paul, and one of her five children, the filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, will also join.


12:40 p.m.

The recruiting arm for Senate Republicans is poking at Stacey Abrams even before she delivers the formal rebuttal to President Donald Trump's State of the Union message.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a brief video online Tuesday stringing together snippets of past comments by Abrams, including when the Democrat says, "This is not a speech of concession" after her narrow loss to Republican Brian Kemp in last year's race for Georgia governor.

Other clips show Abrams talking about impeachment, presumably for Trump, and telling an interviewer that she tells folks she's met herself and "I'm not overly impressed."

At that point, the words, "Finally, something we agree on," appear on screen.

Abrams is being encouraged to run for Senate next year against first-term Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia.


12:01 p.m.

Melania Trump is going early to the State of the Union again to spend time with her guests.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says the first lady escorts the guests to help put them at ease and so they have time to look around the Capitol.

President Donald Trump's public schedule has Mrs. Trump departing the White House about 40 minutes before Trump.

She caused a stir last year by arriving at the Capitol early and without the president. Grisham said then that the reason was to spend time with the guests. Her decision to travel alone also followed reports that Trump's lawyer had paid a porn star to keep quiet about an alleged past affair with Trump.

Trump and his wife returned to the White House together after the speech.

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