President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union Address Tuesday night, calling for unity between the Republican and Democratic parties.
In his speech, Trump detailed what the government has done during his first year of presidency and implored Congress to support his plans for the future.
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve,” Trump said.
Trump said that in his first year of presidency, the government has created 2.4 million new jobs, the number of unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low, they “enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history” and repealed the Affordable Care Act.
After detailing what has been done in his first year as president, Trump revealed his plans for the future.
“I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be,” Trump said. “All of us, together, as one team, one people and one American family.”
One of his “greatest priorities” going forward is to reduce the price of prescription drugs, Trump said. The government will also be working to “fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones,” rebuild infrastructure and reform prisons.
Trump also revealed that his Administration has presented Congress with a “bipartisan” immigration reform — a plan with four pillars. These pillars include offering 1.8 million “dreamers” a path to citizenship, building a wall on the Southern U.S. border, ending the visa lottery and ending chain migration.
“These four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first,” Trump said. “So let us come together, set politics aside and finally get the job done.”
While coming together and uniting the nation was a central theme throughout Trump’s address, the two parties have been divided in their opinions of it.
Portland, Ore. senior Eric Soo, Chairman for Baylor College Republicans and member of the College Republicans State Board of Texas, said he approves of Trump’s first year in office.
“I think he’s doing a stellar job,” Soo said. “You know, as a business man, he certainly delivered on all his promises.”
However, Austin sophomore and President of Baylor Democrats Jake Bridges said he believes that so far, Trump’s presidency has been divisive and largely unproductive.
“I think he spent so much time just stoking a lot of anger in people and until the tax bill that was — what? Late November, December — he didn’t get anything significant passed,” Bridges said.
Bridges said even though the country is doing fairly well economically and militarily, he believes that has more to do with where it was left off than what has been done since Trump’s been in office.
According to Bridges, his main concern is that the U.S. is in a bad place socially.
“It’s incredibly divided, especially along racial lines,” Bridges said. “That’s probably a number one concern and that’s one that he’s definitely — I think very few people would argue he’s made that a lot worse since he’s been in office.”
On the other hand, Soo said he believes Trump’s speech was amazing because he was positive and never once mentioned the word “race.”
“I think that’s important because the Democrat platform is ‘Donald Trump’s racist and we hate him,'” Soo said. “And Donald Trump’s platform is immigration reform, tax cuts, bring back businesses. He stands for something rather than against something and I think that is much more effective.”
As for Trump’s plans for the future, Soo said he is very proud of the president for being willing to compromise concerning different things. He believes Trump’s plans for the future appeal to elements from both the left and the right.
For example, Soo said the newest bill introduced not only allows funding for immigration reform, but also allows a path to citizenship and expands the amount of people applicable to citizenship.
Soo said that immigrants are helpful to our country and he would not be here himself if it wasn’t for immigration. However, he believes we have to make a distinction between legal immigrants and illegal, undocumented immigrants.
“I think it’s more humanitarian to allow people to come and be integrated rather than just opening the floodgates,” Soo said.
Bridges said he is glad Trump is willing to give a pathway to citizenship for the “dreamers.” However, he believes the president’s plan for the border wall is outdated and ineffective.
“People make it seem like Democrats aren’t in support of secure borders but that’s not the case,” Bridges said. “It’s just that the wall — It’s going to cost so much money. He previously said about 10 billion dollars, now he’s asking for 25 billion for a wall that isn’t going to be that effective and is going to take forever to get built, be an environmental hazard.”
Bridges said he does not think Democrats or Republicans particularly love Trump’s immigration reform proposal. He believes Republicans will not love the 1.8 million “dreamer’s” pathway to citizenship and the Democrats are not going to love the wall.
However, Bridges said this immigration reform has the potential to be —at least — fairly bipartisan.
Despite differences between Democrats and Republicans, both Bridges and Soo said they believe uniting the two parties is a possibility.
Soo said Baylor College Republicans and Baylor Democrats have a good relationship on campus. The two clubs hosted an event together last semester and have recently scheduled a “bipartisan dinner.”
“I would say that everyone wants bipartisanship, but if we really want it we actually have to work at it and not just say we want it,” Bridges said. “Just try to get some form of understanding from people — on either side and to not demonize the other is the best thing.”