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tv   State of the Union Address  NBC  January 30, 2018 9:00pm-11:01pm EST

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i've been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor. i believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible. believe me, we have to close down the government with building the wall. i call it the russian hoax. rocket man should have been handled a long time ago. it's the economy stupid. did you ever hear that one? the biggest tax cut in the history of our country. hey, a president, can you believe it? >> announcer: from nbc news. the state of the union. live from washington. here's lester holt. good evening, everyone. you're looking at a live picture of the house chamber in the capitol were just moments from now president trump will enter
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and then deliver his first state of the union address before a joint session of congress. this is a moment of history and high drama here in washington. an embattled president under investigation. a congress mired in partisan conflict. a government that many americans believe is increasingly unable to function for the common good. donald trump has now been in office for one year and ten days. given the course his presidency has taken so far, there is high interest in what he has to say tonight on the economy, on immigration, on north korea, and so many other issues. here with me tonight are my nbc news colleagues, savannah guthrie, chuck todd, andrea mitchell, megyn kelly joining us for the first time, great to have you here, and tom brokaw. we'll all be watching closely tonight. savannah, a year ago it wasn't the state of the union, but it was a new president addressing congress. there was so much talk about the bar, looking presidential.
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that was a year ago. what about tonight? >> a year ago it was big-ticket items getting done and stylistically shocking. we saw some of that in the open to the show. the president has a story to tell. he has a good economy to talk about. he's got the tax cuts he was able to get through. he has the supreme court justice sitting in that audience, that was incredibly important to his supporters. and yet he has an approval rating the lowest of any president at this moment in their tenure. and what's the disconnect? it's donald trump. he has to sell himself tonight. now people have had a year to get to know him. positions calcify. this is one of those rare moments in a presidency when you get a chance to reintroduce yourself. >> chuck, you and i attended a largely off the record luncheon with the president and some other journalists today. on the record, he talked about the difference, what he's learned over the last year. >> right. >> that the businessman is always trying to win, win, win. he's learned that there's heart, i'm paraphrasing him now, the need for heart.
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>> right. >> do you think we'll see a different president trump tonight? >> we might. i'm trying to figure out how he can make tonight seem different than any other night. we get a lot of president trump. president trump is constantly communicating with the american public himself, via social media, on television all the time. he is a very omnipresent person in a way we've never seen before. so i think the difficult for him is how do you make tonight special, to make people that somehow it penetrates in a way that other stuff doesn't. and so i don't know if he's going to have that. part of it is just the era we live in, that no single event lasts a very long time. look, i think if he uses this, and he's realistic about it, and he realizes as well, a lot of my supporters will be watching, me hate watchers, i don't know if the middle is watching, if they are, i'll use it to try to tout my tax bill. at the end of the day, if he gets more people to like his tax plan, then this is a good speech for him politically.
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beyond that, i don't know how much he can accomplish tonight. state of the unions haven't been as special as they used to be, and this president is so omnipresent. >> we're waiting for the president to enter the room. megyn kelly, give us your thoughts, what do you expect from the president? >> i expect very little because these events tend to be utterly forgettable and this one will be too. donald trump makes things more exciting, for good or bad. we'll see what he can do in his first state of the union which other presidents have failed to do, which is make it interesting and exciting and get people talking about it. the campaign slogan let trump be trump, will that happen tonight, or will we get teleprompter trump who just reads and is far less memorable? they're talking about being conciliatory tonight, and what does that look like? how can he come out and be
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conciliatory? >> and will that disappoint some of his faithful? >> to whom, the 3% of democrats who approve of him right now? who will he be reaching out to? >> here is the sergeant at arms of the house of representatives, paul irving. >> the president of the united states. [ applause ] >> operating on time and greeting those along the aisle, people stake out for hours for a position where they can greet the president as he walks in the room. savannah. >> kasie hunt is our capitol hill correspondent who has the best seat in the house. kasie, we can't see you but we hear you, what are you seeing? >> reporter: savannah, good evening. there are members of the congressional black caucus who are remaining seated as the president walks into the house chamber. he is coming slowly up the aisle, which is a dramatic scene, i'm sure, that our viewers are able to look at even
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though i can't see the same thing they're seeing. but we were watching to see if there would be some sort of protest from democrats in what really is such a divided era. a year ago there were some democrats who came into this speech hopeful. it was of course not a state of the union, it was a joint address of congress. but they hoped he would talk about joint priorities and ways they might work together. and over the last year they have been sorely disappointed. and it's very difficult to overstate the emotional anger that some member of this house of representatives feel towards this president. and nancy pelosi, the house minority leader, had urged her members not to walk out of this speech, not to make it about them instead of about what the president was going to say tonight. and it appears that they have found something of a middle ground in this sign of some level of disrespect, savannah. >> kasie hunt on the hill for us, thanks, kasie.
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>> we saw some of the women democratic members wearing black, noting the "me too" movement. you'll see a lot of statements, some subtle, some not-so-subtle in this chamber tonight. andrea mitchell, your thoughts as we await the president. >> it's noteworthy that the democrats have been advised not to do anything that is rude. remember that joe wilson moment when he shouted out "you lie" at president obama, which was so notable. you see there supreme court justice stephen breyer, who has among all the supreme court justices attended most often these events. they don't have to attend. it's a matter of personal preference. ruth bader ginsburg is up in rhode island at an appearance tonight, so she's not here. but he always makes sure that he is here. as we see the president approaching the podium, this is a big question. he's got foreign policy challenges and a domestic policy to sell, tax cuts and the economy. >> four members of the supreme court attending tonight.
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tom, as we await the president to take the podium, she'll have a short amount of time on this laundry list in a year of midterm locations. >> i've been watching him since he was 34 years old. he considers himself one of the great salesmen in the world. the fact that he sells sizzle more than substance doesn't get in his way. he has utter confidence in what he's saying. that's how he got to be president, even in the ups and downs in all of this, he has not lost faith in himself. there is never self-doubt. this speech is expected to be different than what we've been hearing from him. we'll see how he carries out that speech in the days to come. that's the important part. >> and relishing the applause there, a lot of invited guests here, each telling a story of their own. first lady melania trump has a number of guests who will be referred to as we await the president's remarks. >> i think it could be a rowdy gallery. there's a lot of invited guests. and the gallery is i know where
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everybody is talking about nancy pelosi warning house democrats not to do anything. but the gallery, they don't listen to leadership. they're not members of congress. they're there as political activists. >> it's an activist audience tonight. >> and some have boycotts, some not attending. >> you can already tell, it feels like it's a loud -- >> we just saw nancy pelosi also quieting her troops. she was marshaling them, next to steny hoyer. >> let's not forget as we see attorney general sessions, this is a president who is under criminal investigation right now for obstruction of justice with regard to the russia investigation. so a lot going on in the backdrop. >> i have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. [ applause ] >> there is a missing major figure in this hall tonight that we ought not to forget about, and that is the special prosecutor of the united states,
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who is at this hour probably meeting with his team. >> he's not there, he sort of hovers over the chamber. >> that is an extraordinarily important part of what's going on in washington, d.c. and despite all of the grandeur of this setting and the television photos and the members of the supreme court, members of the cabinet, out there is a highly regarded investigator who is looking into whether or not he broke the law. >> mr. speaker, mr. vice president, members of congress, first lady of the united states, and my fellow americans. less than one year has passed since i first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the american people and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. that night, our new administration had already taken
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very swift action. a new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land. each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission, to make america great again for all americans. [ applause ] . achieved extraordinary success. we have faced challenges we expected and others we could never have imagined. we have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship.
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we have endured floods and fires and storms. through it all, we have seen the beauty of america's soul and the steel in america's spine. each test has forged new american heroes to remind us who we are and show us what we can be. we saw the volunteers of the cajun navy racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a totally devastating hurricane. we saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the las vegas strip. we heard tales of americans like coast guard petty officer ashlee leppert who is here tonight in the gallery with melania. . [ applause ]
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. >> ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene during hurricane harvey. through 18 hours of wind and rain, ashlee braved live power lines and deep water to help save more than 40 lives. ashlee, we all thank you. thank you very much. . [ applause ] . >> we heard about americans like
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firefighter david dahlberg. he's here with us also. david faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped in a california summer camp, threatened by those devastating wildfires. to everyone still recovering in texas, florida, louisiana, puerto rico, and the virgin islands, everywhere we are with you. we love you. and we always will pull through together. always. . [ applause ] . >> thank you to david and the brave people of california. thank you very much, david. great job.
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some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. with us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this house. a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work 3 1/2 months later. the legend from louisiana, congressman steve scalise. . [ applause ] . >> i think they like you, steve. we're incredibly grateful for
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the heroic efforts of the capital police officers, the alexandria police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life and the lives of many others, some in this room, in the aftermath -- yes. . [ applause ] . >> in the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as republicans or democrats, but as representatives of the people. but it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. tonight i call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to
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summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. this is really the key. these are the people we were elected to serve. . [ applause ] . >> thank you. over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew, that no people on earth are so fearless or daring or determined as americans. if there is a mountain, we climb it. if there is a frontier, we cross it. if there is a challenge, we tame it. if there is an opportunity, we seize it. so let's begin tonight by
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recognizing that the state of our union is strong, because our people are strong. . [ applause ] . >> and together we are building a safe, strong, and proud america. since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including --. [ applause ] . including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. a tremendous number. . [ applause ] after years and years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.
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. [ applause ] . unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. . [ applause ] . >> and something i'm very proud of, african-american unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded. . [ applause ] . and his panpanic-american unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history. .
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[ applause ] . small business confidence is at an all-time high. the stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion and more in value in just this short period of time. the great news -- the great news for americans, 401(k), retirement, pension, and college savings accounts have gone through the roof. just as i promised the american people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in american history. . [ applause ]
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. our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small business, to lower tax rates for hard working americans. we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. . [ applause ] . now the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. . [ applause ] . we also doubled the child tax credit.
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. the typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000, slashing their tax bill in half. . [ applause ] . in april, this will be the last time you will ever file under the old and very broken system and millions of americans will have more take-home pay starting next month. a lot more. . [ applause ] . we eliminated an especially
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cruel tax that fell mostly on americans making less than $50,000 a year, forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they couldn't afford government-ordered health plans. we repealed the core of the disastrous obamacare, the individual mandate is now gone, thankfully. . [ applause ] . we slashed the business tax rate from 35% all the way down to 21% so american companies can
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compete and win against anyone else, anywhere in the world. . [ applause ] . these changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000. a lot of money. . [ applause ] . small businesses have also received a massive tax cut and can now deduct 20% of their business income. here tonight are steve staub and sandy keplinger of staub manufacturing, a small, beautiful business in ohio. they've just finished the best
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year in their 20-year history. because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door. good feeling. . [ applause ] . one of staub's employees, corey adams, is also with us tonight. corey is an all-american worker. he supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by staub, where he trained to become a welder. like many hard-working americans, corey plans to invest his tax cut raise into his new home and his two daughters' education. corey, please stand.
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. [ applause ] . and he's a great welder. i was told that by the man that owns that company that's doing so well. so congratulations, corey. since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses. many of them thousands and thousands of dollars per worker. it's getting more every month, every week. apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in america and hire another 20,000 workers.
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. [ applause ] . and just a little while ago, exxonmobil announced a $50 billion investment in the united states. just a little while ago. . [ applause ] . this in fact is our new american moment. there has never been a better time to start living the american dream. so to every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you've been or where you've come from, this is your time. if you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in america, then you can dream anything. you can be anything.
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and together, we can achieve absolutely anything. . [ applause ] . tonight i want to talk about what kind of future we're going to have and what kind of a nation we're going to be. all of us together as one team, one people, and one american family, can do anything. we all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great american flag. . [ applause ]
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. together we are rediscovering the american way. in america, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of american life. the mountain toe is "in god we trust." . [ applause ] . and we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering
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support. . [ applause ] . here tonight is preston sharp, a 12-year-old boy from redding, california, who noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on veterans day. he decided all by himself to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. preston, a job well done. . [ applause ]
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. young patriots like preston teach all of us about our civic duty as americans. and i met preston a little while ago, and he is something very special, that i can tell you. great future. thank you very much for all you've done, preston. thank you very much. . [ applause ] . preston's researchers forverence reminds us of why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance and why we proudly stand for the national anthem. . [ applause ]
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. americans love their country and they deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return. for the last year, we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government. working with the senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the constitution as written, including a great new supreme court justice and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country. . [ applause ]
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. we are totally defending our second amendment and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty. . [ applause ] . and we are serving our brave veterans including giving our veterans choice in their health care decisions. . [ applause ]
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. last year congress also passed and i signed the landmark va accountability act. . [ applause ] . since its passage, my administration has already removed more than 1,500 va employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve. and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do. . [ applause ] .
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and i will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey. . [ applause ] . all americans deserve accountability and respect. and that's what we are giving to our wonderful heroes, our veterans. thank you. . [ applause ] . so tonight i call on congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the american people. . [ applause ]
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. in our drive to make washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in the history of our country. . [ applause ] . we have ended the war on american energy and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal. . [ applause ] .
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we are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world. . [ applause ] . in detroit, i halted government mandates that crippled america's great beautiful auto workers so that we can get motor city revving its engines again. and that's what's happening. . [ applause ] . many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the united states, something we haven't seen for decades. chrysler is moving a major plant from mexico to michigan.
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toyota and mazda are opening up a plant in alabama, a big one. and we haven't seen this in a long time. it's all coming back. . [ applause ] . very soon, auto plants and other plants will be opening up all over our country. this is all news americans are totally unaccustomed to hearing. for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. but now they are roaring back. they're coming back. they want to be where the action is. they want to be in the united states of america. that's where they want to be. . [ applause ]
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. exciting progress is happening every single day. to speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the fda approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our country's history. . [ applause ] . we also believe that patients with terminal conditions, terminal illness, should have
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access to experimental treatment immediately that could potentially save their lives. people who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure. i want to give them a chance right here at home. it's time for congress to give these wonderful, incredible americans the right to try. . [ applause ] . one of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. . [ applause ]
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. in many other countries these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the united states. and it's very, very unfair. that is why i've directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of my top priorities for the year. . [ applause ] . and prices will come down substantially. watch. america has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair
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trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our wealth. our nation has lost its wealth. but we're getting it back so fast. the era of economic surrender is totally over. from now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and very importantly, reciprocal. . [ applause ] . we will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones. and they'll be good ones. but they'll be fair. and we will protect american
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workers and american intellectual property through strong enforcement of our trade rules. as we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. . [ applause ] . america is a nation of builders. we built the empire state building in just one year. isn't it a disgrace that it can now take ten years just to get a minor permit approved for the building of a simple road? . [ applause ] .
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i am asking both parties to come together to give us safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure that our economy needs and our people deserve. . [ applause ] . tonight i'm calling on congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment that our country so desperately needs. every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments, and, where appropriate, taking into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. and we can do it. . [ applause ]
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. any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process, getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one. together, we can reclaim our great building heritage. . [ applause ] . we will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways railways, and waterways all across our land. and we will do it with american heart and american hands and american grit. . [ applause ] .
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we want every american to know the dignity of a hard day's work. we want every child to be safe in their home at night. and we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we all love so much. we can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity. . [ applause ] . as tax cuts create new jobs, let's invest in workforce development and let's invest in job training which we weed no badly. .
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[ applause ] . let's open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. . [ applause ] . >> and let's support working families by supporting paid family leave. . [ applause ] . as american regains its strength, opportunity must be extended to all citizens. that is why this year, we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance at life. .
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[ applause ] . struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of american workers and american families. for decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. they've allowed millions of low wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest americans. most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives. here tonight are two fathers and two mothers, evelyn rodriguez, freddy cuevas, elizabeth
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alvarado, and robert mickens. their two teenaged daughters were close friends on long island. but in september 2016, on the eve of nisa's 16th birthday, such a happy time it should have been, neither of them came home. these two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. six members of the savage ms-13 gang have been charged with kayla and nisa's murders. many of these gang members took advantage of glaring omissions in our laws to enter the country as minors and wound up in kayla and nisa's high school.
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evelyn, elizabeth, freddy, and robert, tonight everyone in this chamber is praying for you. everyone in america is grieving for you. please stand. thank you very much. . [ applause ] . [ applause ] .
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i want you to know that 320 million hearts are right now breaking for you. we love you. thank you. while we cannot imagine the depths of that kind of sorrow, we can make sure that other families never have to endure this kind of pain. tonight i am calling on congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed ms-13 and other criminal gangs to break into our country. we have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws and support our i.c.e. and border patrol agents. these are great people. these are great, great people that work so hard in the midst of such danger, so that that this can never happen again.
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. [ applause ] . the united states is a compassionate nation. we are proud that we do more than any other country anywhere in the world to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. but as president of the united states, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, my constant concern, is for america's children, america's struggling workers, and america's forgotten communities. i want our youth to grow up, to achieve great things. i want our poor to have their chance to rise.
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so tonight i am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, democrats and republicans, to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. . [ applause ] . 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, because americans are dreamers too. . [ applause ]
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. here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country. homeland security investigation special agent celestino martinez. he goes by dj and cj. he said call me either one. so we'll call you cj. served 15 years in the air force before becoming an i.c.e. agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off of our streets. tough job. at one point ms-13 leaders ordered cj's murder. and they wanted it to happen quickly. but he did not cave to threats or to fear. last may he commanded an
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operation to track down gang members on long island. his team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 ms-13 gang members. and i have to tell you what the border patrol and i.c.e. have done. we have sent thousands and thousands and thousands of ms-13 horrible people out of this country or into our prisons. so i just want to congratulate you, cj. you're a brave guy. thank you very much. . [ applause ] . and i asked cj, what's the secret?
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he said, we're just tougher than they are. and i like that answer. . [ applause ] . now let's get congress to send you and all of the people in this great chamber have to do it, we have no choice. cj, we're going to send you reinforcements and we'll send them to you quickly. it's what you need. . [ applause ] . over the next few weeks, the house and senate will be voting on an immigration reform package. in recent months, my administration has met extensively with both democrats and republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. based on these discussions, we presented congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise.
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one where nobody gets everything they want but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs and must have. . [ applause ] . here are the four pillars of our plan. the first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age. that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration covered. . [ applause ] . under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements
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and show good moral character will be able to become full citizens of the united states over a 12-year period. . [ applause ] . the second pillar fully secures the border. . [ applause ] . that means building a great wall on the southern border. and it means hiring more heroes like cj to keep our communities safe. . [ applause ] .
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crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country, and it finally ends the horrible and dangerous practice of catch and release. . [ applause ] . the third pillar ends the visa lottery, a program that randomly hands out green card without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of american people. . [ applause ] . it's time to begin moving toward a merit-based immigration system, one that admits people who are skilled, who want to
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work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country. . [ applause ] . the fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. . [ applause ] . under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. under our plan we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.
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. [ applause ] . this vital reform is necessary not just for our economy but for our security and for the future of america. in recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in new york were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. in the age of terrorism, these programs present risks. we can just no longer afford. it's time forto reform these outdated immigration rules and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century. . [ applause ] .
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these four pillars represent a down the middle compromise and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system. for over 30 years, washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. this congress can be the one that finally makes it happen. most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to sign a bill that puts america first. . [ applause ] . so let's come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done. .
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[ applause ] . these reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction. never before has it been like it is now. it is terrible. we have to do something about it. in 2016, we lost 64,000 americans to drug overdoses, 174 deaths per day, seven per hour. we must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge. . [ applause ]
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. my administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need, for those who have been so terribly hurt. the struggle will be long and it will be difficult. but as americans always do, in the end we will succeed, we will prevail. . [ applause ] . as we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in america. we see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the holets family of new mexico.
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ryan holets is 27 years old, an officer with the albuquerque police department. he's here tonight with his wife rebecca. . [ applause ] . thank you, ryan. last year, ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. when ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. she told him she didn't know where to turn but badly wanted a safe home for her baby. in that moment ryan said he felt god speak to him.
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you will do it because you can. he heard those words. he took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. then he went home to tell his wife rebecca. in an instant she agreed to adopt. the holets named their new daughter hope. ryan and rebecca, you embody the goodness of our nation. thank you. . [ applause ] .
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thank you, ryan and rebecca. as we rebuild america's strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad. around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorists groups, and rivals like china and russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. in confronting these horrible dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict. an unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense. for this reason, i am asking congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military. . [ applause ]
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. as part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression by any other nation or anyone else. . [ applause ] . perhaps some day in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate
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their nuclear weapons. unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly. last year, i also pledged when we would work with our allies to extinguish isis from the face of the earth. one year later, i am proud to report that the coalition to defeat isis has liberated very close to 100% of the territory just recently held by these killers in iraq and in syria and in other locations as well. . [ applause ]
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. but there is much more work to be done. we will continue our fight until isis is defeated. army staff sergeant justin peck is here tonight. near raqqah last november, justin and his comrade chief petty officer kenton stacy were on a mission to clear buildings that isis had rigged with explosive so that civilians could return to that city hopefully soon and hopefully safely. clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, kenton stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. immediately justin bounded into the booby-trapped and unbelievably dangerous and
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unsafe building and found kenton, but in very, very bad shape. he applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway. he then performed cpr for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through 2 1/2 hours and through emergency surgery. kenton stacy would have died if it were not for justin's selfless love for his fellow warrior. tonight kenton is recovering in texas. raqqah is liberated. and justin is wearing his new bronze star with a "v" for valor. staff sergeant peck. all of america salutes you.
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. [ applause ] . [ applause ] . terrorist who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. when possible, we have no choice
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but to annihilate them. when necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. we must be clear. terrorists are not merely criminals. they are unlawful enemy combatants. . [ applause ] . and when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are. in the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the
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battlefield, including the isis leader, al baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released. so today, i am keeping another promise. i just signed, prior to walking in, an order directing secretary mattis, who is doing a great job, thank you. . [ applause ] . to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in guantanamo bay. . [ applause ] .
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i am asking congress to ensure that in the fight against isis and al qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them. and in many cases, for them it will now be guantanamo bay. . [ applause ] . at the same time, as of a few months ago, our warriors in afghanistan have new rules of engagement. . [ applause ] . along with their heroic afghan partners, our military is no longer restricted by artificial timelines and we no longer tell our enemies our plans.
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. [ applause ] . last month, i also took an action endorsed unanimously by the u.s. senate, just months before. i recognized jerusalem as the capital of israel. . [ applause ] . shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the united nations general assembly against america's sovereign right to make this decision. in 2016, american taxpayers
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generously sent those same countries more than $20 billion in aid. that is why tonight i am asking congress to pass legislation to help ensure american foreign assistan american interests and only go to friends of america, not enemies of america. . [ applause ] . as we strengthen friendships all around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries. when the people of iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, i did not stay silent.
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america stands with the people of iran in their courageous struggle for freedom. . [ applause ] . i am asking congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible iran nuclear deal. my administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in cuba and venezuela. [ applause ] . but no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel
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dictatorship in north korea. north korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. we are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening. past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation provocation. i will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position. we need only look at the depraved character of the north korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to america and to our allies. otto warmbier was a hard working
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student at the university of virginia, and a great student he was. on his way to study abroad in asia, otto joined a tour to north korea. at its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. after a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced otto to 15 years of hard labor before returning him to america last june, horribly injured and on the verge of death. he passed away just days after his return. otto's wonderful parents, fred and cindy warmbier, are here with us tonight along with otto's brother and sister, austin and greta.
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please. . [ applause ] . incredible people. you are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world. and your strength truly inspires us all. thank you very much. thank you. . [ applause ]
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. tonight we pledge to honor otto's memory with total american resolve. thank you. finally finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. his name is mr. ji sung-ho. in 1996, sung-ho was a starving boy in north korea. one day he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter
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for a few scraps of food, which were very hard to get. in the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. he woke up as a train ran over his limbs. he then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain or the hurt. his brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover. and ate dirt themselves, permanently stunting their own growth. later he was tortured by north korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to china. his tormentors wanted to know if he had met any christians. he had. and he resolved after that to be free.
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sung-ho traveled on thousands of miles on crutches across china and southeast asia to freedom. most of his family followed. his father was caught trying to escape and was tortured to death. today, he lives in seoul, where he rescues other defectors and broadcasts into north korea what the regime fears most, the truth. today he has a new leg. but sung-ho, i understand you still keep those old crutches as a reminder of how far you've come. your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all. please. thank you. . [ applause ]
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. applause. . ocean and a vast wilderness. it was home to an incredible
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people. with a revolutionary idea that they could rule themselves, that they could chart their own destiny, and that together they could light up the entire world. that is what our country has always been about. that is what americans have always stood for, always strived for, and always done. atop the dome of this capitol stands the statue of freedom. she stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her. monuments to washington and jefferson and lincoln and king. memorials to the heroes of
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yorktown and saratoga. to young americans who shed their blood on the shores of normandy and the fields beyond, and others who went down in the waters of the pacific. and the skies all over asia. and freedom stands tall over one more monument. this one. this capitol. this living monument. this is the monument to the american people. . [ applause ] .
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we're a people whose heroes live not only in the past but all around us, defending hope, pride, and defending the american way. they work in every trade. they sacrifice to raise a family. they care for our children at home. they defend our flag abroad. and they are strong moms and brave kids. they are firefighters and police officers and border agents. medics and marines. but above all else, they are americans. and this capitol, this city, this nation, belongs entirely to them. . [ applause ]
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. our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them. americans fill the world with art and music. they push the bounds of science and discovery. and they forever remind us of what we should never, ever forget. the people dreamed this country. the people built this country. and it's the people who are making america great again. . [ applause ]
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. as long as we are proud of who we are and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve. as long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our god, we will never fail. our families will thrive. our people will prosper. and our nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free. thank you and god bless america. good night. . applause.
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>> president trump concluding his first state of the union speech, an hour and 20 minutes, one of the longest in history. the president sounding a lot of notes, calling for guantanamo bay, ordering guantanamo bay military prison to remain open. he extended a hand across the aisle to democrats to invite them to negotiate on immigration. he got bipartisan applause when he talked about an infrastructure bill. he ripped the regime in north korea. and he managed to even take a swipe at the nfl without naming the nfl, over the national anthem. we're back with our panel, savannah guthrie, chuck todd, andrea mitchell, megyn kelly, and tom brokaw, good to have you all. let's go around the horn. >> i thought in terms of tone, the president did what he said it was going to be. it was optimistic, it was bright, it was conciliatory. in terms of substance, i don't
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know, when you look at some of the specifics on immigration, for example. i mean, he definitely led with the issues that come up with regard to crime, ms-13, it was heavy on that, he didn't get to the dreamers until the end. the state of the union, in terms of what he had to do, i think he did it. he set a tone and he was positive and he trumpeted the economy. and i think that's exactly what he wanted to do. >> chuck todd. >> i thought he oversold what they told us today at that lunch. i expected a lot more actual outreach. it was a few things at the beginning but then it was, you know -- he didn't lead with a conciliatory tone on immigration or gitmo or even on some things like the infrastructure plan. it was -- i felt like he spoke more to his base than i expected him to. particularly on immigration.
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that could be part of his sales pitch. maybe he knows that amnesty for 1.8 million is something his base doesn't like, so he led with the, let me paint the picture of this mythical immigrant criminal here that i want everybody to get fired up about. i have to say, i felt like they forced too much upon it, and the speech dragged. the president's problem is that's not the donald trump we see every day. so while he can sound presidential in a moment like this, because it's not what we're used to seeing, i don't think it has the same effect they would like it to have. >> he read it in a measured pace. megyn kelly, you weren't expecting much. >> no, and i think he did a fine job, but i think he's going to tweet something and we'll forget all about it. i mean, these things just don't tend to be particularly memorable. there wasn't anything in this one that stood out to me as an exception to that rule. he was subdued.
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his manner was interesting, he was subdued, he was almost reserved. it was long, it was very long, i don't know how many people stayed up to watch this. the president has a habit of clapping for himself which was a little distracting and strange to listen to. >> especially if you have it in your ear. >> exactly. i thought it was a smart speech because he started with the personalized stories which were very effective, those personalized stories throughout the speech were very effective, and really made you feel something. the family in long island who lost their daughters with the dad crying, ji sung-ho with the crutches at the end was an incredible moment. he took some of his controversial stances and gave us people that you could relate to. i completely agree with chuck, this was a speech for the base. >> andrea mitchell, this is a president that's given to hyperbole often. you were taking a lot of notes. how did he do on that score? >> again, i think the personal stories were so affecting that
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that lifted the rhetoric and redeemed the speech. but the fact checkers are really going to be busy. when he talks about clean coal, when he brags about the tax cut, again, exaggerating the facts and not pointing out that the individual tax cuts expire, where is the corporate tax cuts are permanent. he talks about saving the auto industry which really was saved under the obama white house. and foreign companies are building factories here in america, that has gone back decades and decades. so there was a lot of exaggeration, a lot of hyperbole. congress can't fix the iran nuclear deal from his perspective, even, because it's not a congressional -- it's not a treaty, it's not up to congress to fix it, it's a multilateral agreement. there's a lot there for the fact checkers. only 41 detainees, by the way, are left in guantanamo after 780 were there over the decade. that said, i think his rhetoric and his tone will appeal to a lot of people. but as chuck said, the base. >> let me bring in tom brokaw. >> well, what i thought was this
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is the kind of speech that his supporters have longed to hear from him. as i talk to them, they're always saying, we like the policies, can't he shut up, will he just stop twittering because it's very hard to defend that. at the same time, there were a lot of conditional clauses in his offer about, for example, immigration. you're going to have to have a college degree and be able to solve the world's problems before you can get in here. but he did say i want to work with you on doing this. we'll see what happens in the next 24 hours or so. it's an issue with me, obviously we've got a real problem with some of these gangs that have come into america and killing people and murdering people and dealing drugs. we forget to say that they come here because there's an appetite for drugs in america, and we're not doing anything about that. the other thing is, there's been no mention from this administration, after the initial comments, about what happened in las vegas, about what happened in texas.
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we had 11 school shootings in the last a couple of weeks. that's a national crisis in this country. and i've said this before, i'm a gun owner, but we've got to do something about what's going on around the country, and they don't want to go there. i really do think that that is an enormous absence on the part of all republicans, not just the president. a lot of democrats as well. >> by the way, there's one other notable missing topic here, that is the russian democracy. >> exactly. >> we know why he doesn't say it, because it leads to the investigation. but nothing about vladimir putin and his meddling in our elections. >> and it's going to go on in the midterms and the president won't acknowledge it. >> we'll be back with the democrats' response to the president's remarks delivered tonight, delivered by a young democrat with a legendary name, representative joe kennedy of massachusetts. we will be right back with our
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welcome back to nbc news' live coverage of the president's state of the union address. as i noted a moment ago, we'll get the democratic response in just a couple of minutes from representative joseph kennedy. before we go there, chuck, give me your thoughts. where will democrats find an opening in this speech? will they be forced to move on immigration? >> look, i think they have a tough position to go after the president's immigration deal. i think on paper, a lot of those red state democrats have constituents that view the president's offer as very reasonable, whether it's on the family migration issue. and i think democrats, they're in a trap here. i think they don't want to have president trump be the guy who
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saved the dreamers. and at the same time, he's the president and that's who they've got to deal with right now. so i think they have to -- they have to figure out, are they willing to let the president get the credit for saving the dreamers here? and i think, like i said, it will be tough for them because that was some tough rhetoric. he didn't make it any easier for democrats to support him. >> andrea, you're nodding your head. >> i agree. the only wedge they might have is grandma and grandpa. because ending chain migration, what democrats call family reunification, and limiting it to the nuclear family, means you cannot bring the grandparents over, elderly parents. >> i think that's going to play fine in des moines. >> i'm not so sure. >> i don't know. >> i don't think there's any question that this country has to do something about immigration, we've got to get it under control and we've got to have a better set of conditions for the people who get in here. but at the same time, if you're so narrow, who can come in here, and especially those people who
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are coming from south of or border, you know, it's going to cause a real uproar in this country. at the same time, that wall is not going to be built the way that he talk about it. >> mexico doesn't appear to be willing to pay for it. >> if he gets $25 billion for a wall and it starts going up, it will help him politically. >> we've got to get to the democratic response. delivering that, a member of a family with a long history in democratic politics, 37-year-old congressman joseph p. kennedy iii. over the past five years he's represented the four district of massachusetts. a husband, a father of two. the congressman will be speaking tonight from a vocational high school in fall river, massachusetts. >> thank you. thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you. good evening, ladies and gentlemen. it is an absolute privilege to join you all tonight.
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we are here in fall river, massachusetts, a proud american city. . [ applause ] . an american city built by immigrants. . [ applause ] . from textiles to robots, this is a place that knows how to make great things. the students are with us here this evening. in the auto tech program at diamond regional tech school to carry on that rich legacy. like many american home towns, fall river has faced its share of storms.
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but the people here are tough. they fight for each other. they pull for their city. it is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union. this is a difficult task. many have spent the last year anxious, angry, afraid. we all feel the fractured fault lines across our country. we hear the voices of americans who are forgotten and feel forsaken. we see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge, and corporate profits climb, but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward. a government that struggles to keep itself open. russia, knee-deep in our democracy.
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an all-out war on environmental protection. a justice department rolling back civil rights by the day. hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets. bullets tearing through our classrooms. concerts and congregations. targeting our safest sacred places. and this nagging, sinking feeling. no matter your political beliefs, that this is not right. this is not who we are. . [ applause ] . folks, it would be easy to
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dismiss this past year as chaos. partisanship. as politics. but it's far, far bigger than that. this administration isn't just targeting the laws that protect us. they're targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection. for them, dignity isn't something you're born with, but something you measure. by your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size. not to mention the gender of your spouse, the country of your birth, the color of your skin, the god of your prayers. their record is a rebuke to our highest american ideal, the belief that we are all worthy, that we are all equal, that we
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all count, in the eyes of our law and our leaders, our god, and our government. that is the american promise. . [ applause ] . but today, ladies and gentlemen, today, that promise is being broken by an administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away. they're turning american life into a zero sum game where for one to win, another must lose.
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where we can guarantee america's safety if we slash our safety net. where we can extend health care in mississippi if we gut it in massachusetts. we can cut taxes for corporations today if we raise them on families tomorrow. where we can take care of sick kids if we sacrifice dreamers. we are bombarded with one false choice after another. coal miners or single moms. rural communities or inner cities. the coast or the heartland. as if the mechanic in pittsburgh, a teacher in tulsa, and a day-care worker in birmingham are bitter rivals rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged towards those at the top. as if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender
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son or daughter will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than a parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of an opioid addiction. so here is the answer the democrats offer tonight. we choose both. . [ applause ] . we fight for both. because the greatest, strongest, richest nation in the world should not have to leave anyone behind. . [ applause ] .
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we choose a better deal for all who call our country home. a living wage that your family needs to survive, pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won't rust away, a good education that you can afford. we choose a health care system that offers you mercy whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction. we choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices and brave enough to admit that top ceos making 300 times their average worker is not right. . [ applause ] . we choose fall river. we choose the thousands of american communities whose roads
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aren't paved with power or privilege but with an honest effort, with good faith, and the resolve to build something better for your kids. that is our story. it began the day our founding fathers and mothers fled for the new world, fleeing intolerance. it began with the audacity to declare that all men are created equal. an imperfect promise for a nation struggling to become a more perfect union. it grew with every suffragette step, every freedom rider's voice. with every weary soul we welcomed to our shores. and to all the dreamers out there watching tonight, let me be absolutely clear.
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[ speaking in spanish ] . you are part of our story. we will fight for you and we will not walk away. . [ applause ] . america, we carry that story on our shoulders. you swarmed to washington last year to ensure that no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child's life. you proudly marched together, last weekend, thousands deep, on the streets of las vegas,
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philadelphia, and nashville. you sat high atop your mom's shoulders and held a sign that read "build a wall and my generation will tear it down." . [ applause ] . you basically say "me too." you steadfastly say "black lives matter." you wade through floodwaters, battle hurricanes, brave wildfires and mudslides, to save a stranger. you battle your own quiet battles every single day. you drag your weary bodies to that extra shift so that your families won't feel the sting of scarcity.
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you leave loved ones at home to defend our country overseas, patrol our neighborhoods at night. you serve. you rescue. you help. you heal. that, more than any law or leader, debate or disagreement, that is what drives us towards progress. bullies may land a punch. they may leave a mark. 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. politicians -- politicians can be cheered for the promises they make.
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our country will be judged by the promises we keep. . [ applause ] . that is the measure of our character. that is who we are. out of many one. ladies and gentlemen, have faith. have faith. the state of our union is hopeful, more resilient, and enduring. . [ applause ] . god bless you, god bless your families, and may god bless the united states of america. thank you. >> 37-year-old democratic congressman joseph kennedy iii delivering the official democratic response to the president's state of the union address. he is a twin, one of the eldest
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grandsons of bobby and ethel kennedy, and great-nephews of president john f. kennedy. let's go back to savannah. >> we have hallie jackson at the white house. hallie, what's the early word from the white house, and are they on pins and needles? we saw the president on teleprompter, on the script, we all know what happens when the blackberry or the iphone comes out and twitter is opened up. >> reporter: savannah, we've seen the movie before of donald trump saying one thing on script one night, something very different on twitter the next morning. white house sources have made a very big point of telling me and others that the president was meticulously involved in crafting this, this was going to be unifying. the president himself talked about that. i remind you a year ago the president also at that time in his joint address to congress said the time for trivial fights was over. since then he personally attacked about 20 people who were in the chamber tonight on
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twitter by name, going after them. i do think the first line out of congressman kennedy's mouth, as you heard, on immigration, sets up where this is going over the next nine days. remember, the president was delivering this speech against the backdrop of a threat of a government shutdown coming up in the beginning of february, savannah. >> hallie, thank you. >> what are the headlines tomorrow, chuck? >> oh, i think the headline is going to be the president on immigration. i think ultimately -- and gitmo, policy-wise, it's that. i'm going with megyn, by tomorrow afternoon we're not talking about the state of the union, we're probably talking about whatever he's tweeting about. >> do you find it remarkable that he's not going on the road? >> he can't believe he hasn't been on the road this year. i don't understand why he hasn't sold his tax plan in eight of the ten red states already. it has befuddled me, the political operation of this white house. they've done a very poor job of selling their best asset lately, the tax bill. tonight is the first night they've truly tried to tell is.
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>> the vice president is going to be doing a lot of that salesmanship, they believe he can sell the tax bill. i think the headlines tomorrow may well be about russia, because that is still the shadow overhanging. >> mike pom-pompeo said only yesterday the russians will interfere in the next election. >> and are already interfering now online. he will not address the russian threat. >> is it a reluctance to separate the two, the investigation versus reality? >> i think he believes any criticism of russia somehow emboldens those who want to undercut his legitimacy, even though it's completely separate and doesn't. no one is questioning that he's president of the united states. >> i think he got at the dichotomy of president trump and one of the reasons he is so controversial, because he has huge support in the republican party right now, 90%, 91% of those who voted for him support what he's doing, high 80s with the rest of the republican party.
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and on paper he looks like, quote, a normal republican in terms of his policies. it's his character. it's his -- it's the way he treats people that is so controversy. he got to that in the feeling of no matter what your political believes are, this is not right, what we've been feeling in the country. my thanks to my colleagues here on the panel. much more tomorrow morning on "today." i'll see you tomorrow night on "nbc nightly news." thank you for joining us. on behalf of all of us, i'm lester holt. nbc news in washington. have a good night and thank you
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the state of our union is strong. >> president trump boasting his successes and calling for unity as he addresses a deeply divided nation. no chris co cops. philadelphia has a different plan to keep fans from climbing poles on super bowl sunday. choked up. what nearly brought quarterback nick foles to tears today. good evening. i'm jim rosenfield at the nbc 10 studios in philadelphia. >> and i'm jacqueline london live from the home of super bowl lii in minneapolis, minnesota. this is bar where eagles fans are


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