President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass a law that would extend foreign assistance only to "friendly" nations, a dig at the countries that voted in the United Nations to censure the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Ironically, the fate of those seeking to live the American dream - young "Dreamer" immigrants whose fates depend on lawmakers striking an immigration deal before the government shuts down again in less than two weeks - hung over last night's address. "You need to be the star", he said.
Trump also recognized a North Korean defector in attendance, Ji Seong-ho, and condemned and called for action against North Korea's "cruel dictatorship" and "reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles". One of his main points was the recently passed Republican tax plan, which he said "enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history".More news: PM May leadership questioned by Tories divided over Europe
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The president also shed light on his plans for policy-making going forward, specifically in the areas of infrastructure, immigration, and trade policy.
He said that under the country's current "broken" system, an immigrant could bring in "virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives" to the US. According to Trump, those who "meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character", will be eligible to eventually become citizens. Chain migration is the sponsoring by US residents of new immigrants based exclusively on family relation. Trump claims the visa lottery, "randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit or the safety of our people". Trump used the speech to reiterate his desire to create a pathway to citizenship for so-called dreamers in exchange for tighter restrictions on other forms of immigration.
Finally, the fourth pillar of Trump's immigration plan is to eliminate chain migration, a term that has become popular parlance under the Trump administration. He also said the group atmosphere and viewing availability could incentivize people to watch the address. "Whether people like the President or don't like the President, I think what he laid out today hopefully people can see beyond that and see that this is the America that they are proud of and this is the America that they want to be part of in the future where there is opportunity for everyone".
On Friday the Daily Mail reported that Melania had been spending nights in a Washington DC hotel since news of the payoff broke, and on Monday the New York Times said the first lady had been "furious" with her husband after the news broke. "I'm not entirely sure whether or not that's what he did, but it sounded to me like that may be what he was intending". "I await his actions on this crucial necessity as I did when he made this promise previous year", Cummings said in a statement.
Last night Trump instead sought to strike a more conciliatory tone, vowing to work with lawmakers across party lines, committing to improving the nation's infrastructure, and most of all touting the strength of the economy in broadly optimistic language.