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National Govt & Politics
Text of President Trump's State of the Union Address
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Text of President Trump's State of the Union Address

Text of President Trump's State of the Union Address
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Text of President Trump's State of the Union Address

Vowing to break "decades of political stalemate," President Donald Trump told Congress and the nation on Tuesday night that despite bitter political standoffs during his administration - including a five week partial government shutdown which blocked paychecks last month 800,000 federal workers - he's ready to pursue legislative accomplishments which are not defined by party.

"The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican Agenda or a Democrat Agenda. It is the agenda of the American People," the President told a Joint Session of Congress on Capitol Hill.

Hours after reportedly ridiculing Democratic leaders in a lunch with network television anchors - and earlier in the day on Twitter - the President repeated his appeal of his first State of the Union, for more bipartisan cooperation.

"We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future," the President said.

Here is the full text of President Trump's State of the Union Address, as provided by the White House:

PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

Remarks as prepared for delivery

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

     Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:

     We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential.  As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans.

     Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation.

     The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda.  It is the agenda of the American people. 

     Many of us campaigned on the same core promises:  to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers; to rebuild and revitalize our Nation's infrastructure; to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs; to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America's interests first.

     There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it.  Victory is not winning for our party.  Victory is winning for our country.

     This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America's mission, and the power of American pride.

     In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Great Crusade -- the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II.  On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny.  Here with us tonight are three of those heroes:  Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik.  Gentlemen, we salute you.

     In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon.  Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag:  Buzz Aldrin.  This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.

     In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, and redefined the middle class standard of living for the entire world to see.  Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century.  An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach.

     We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.

     But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution -- and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.

     Together, we can break decades of political stalemate.  We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future.  The decision is ours to make.

     We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.

     Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.

     Over the last 2 years, my Administration has moved with urgency and historic speed to confront problems neglected by leaders of both parties over many decades.

     In just over 2 years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom -- a boom that has rarely been seen before.  We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs -- something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.

     Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else.  Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.  The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world.  Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low.  More people are working now than at any time in our history –- 157 million.

     We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.

We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.

     We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty -- and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed right to try. 

     My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure.  Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.

     We have unleashed a revolution in American energy -- the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world.  And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.  

     After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day.   Members of Congress:  the State of our Union is strong.  Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.

     On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone -- almost double what was expected.  An economic miracle is taking place in the United States -- and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.

     If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.  It just doesn't work that way! 

     We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad. 

     This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate – some after years of waiting.  The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and to our country.      

     Now is the time for bipartisan action.  Believe it or not, we have already proven that it is possible.

     In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new Farm Bill, historic VA reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.

     And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking criminal justice reform.  Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson.  I was deeply moved.  In 1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender.  Over the next two decades, she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path.  She had a big impact on that prison population -- and far beyond.

     Alice's story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing -- and the need to remedy this injustice.  She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.

     In June, I commuted Alice's sentence -- and she is here with us tonight.  Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny.

     When I saw Alice's beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the right thing.

     Inspired by stories like Alice's, my Administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law.  This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community.  The First Step Act gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. Now, States across the country are following our lead.  America is a Nation that believes in redemption.

     We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee.  In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses.  Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates.  Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act.  Matthew, on behalf of all Americans:  welcome home.

     As we have seen, when we are united, we can make astonishing strides for our country.  Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis.

     The Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our Government, protect our homeland, and secure our southern border.

     Now is the time for the Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.

     As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States.  We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection.  I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught. 

     This is a moral issue.  The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well‑being of all Americans.  We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.  This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws.  Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways.  I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.

     Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country.

     No issue better illustrates the divide between America's working class and America's political class than illegal immigration.  Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards. 

     Meanwhile, working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration -- reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net. 

     Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate -- it is cruel.  One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north.  Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.

     Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

     Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities -- including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.

     The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border.  Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City.  We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they're going to keep streaming back in.

     Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.

     I've gotten to know many wonderful Angel Moms, Dads, and families – no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache they have endured.

     Here tonight is Debra Bissell.  Just three weeks ago, Debra's parents, Gerald and Sharon, were burglarized and shot to death in their Reno, Nevada, home by an illegal alien.  They were in their eighties and are survived by four children, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.  Also here tonight are Gerald and Sharon's granddaughter, Heather, and great‑granddaughter, Madison.

     To Debra, Heather, Madison, please stand:  few can understand your pain.  But I will never forget, and I will fight for the memory of Gerald and Sharon, that it should never happen again. 

     Not one more American life should be lost because our Nation failed to control its very dangerous border.

     In the last 2 years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.

     We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes:  ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez.  When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic.  At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent.  Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking.  Elvin says:  "If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I've done my job."  Thanks to his work and that of his colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from horror and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars in the last year.

     Special Agent Hernandez, please stand:  We will always support the brave men and women of Law Enforcement -- and I pledge to you tonight that we will never abolish our heroes from ICE.

     My Administration has sent to the Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border.

     It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry.  In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall -- but the proper wall never got built.  I'll get it built.

     This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier -- not just a simple concrete wall.  It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.

     San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in the country.  In response, and at the request of San Diego residents and political leaders, a strong security wall was put in place.  This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.

     The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime -- one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our Nation's most dangerous cities.  Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.

     Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.  So let's work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.

     As we work to defend our people's safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace. 

     No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year.  All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before -- and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.

     As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first ever Government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.

     To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount -- reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.

     We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.  

     Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods -- and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime.  But I don't blame China for taking advantage of us -- I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen.  I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China.  But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

     Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA.

     I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other States whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA.  For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal.  But no one ever tried -- until now.

     Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement -- or USMCA -- will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers:  bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words:  made in the USA.

     Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.

     Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure.

     I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill -- and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future.  This is not an option.  This is a necessity. 

     The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs -- and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

     Already, as a result of my Administration's efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years. 

     But we must do more.  It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place.  This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it.

     I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients.  We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.

     No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom.  In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS.  Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach.  My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.  Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.

     Tonight, I am also asking you to join me in another fight that all Americans can get behind:  the fight against childhood cancer.

     Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10-year-old girl, Grace Eline.  Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself.  Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Immediately, she began radiation treatment.  At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 for the fight against cancer.  When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes as she hung up a poster that read:  "Last Day of Chemo."  Grace -- you are an inspiration to us all.

     Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades.  My budget will ask the Congress for $500 million over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.

     To help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America's children.  I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave -- so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

     There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days.  Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth.  These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.  And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.

     To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb.

     Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.  And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth:  all children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image of God.

     The final part of my agenda is to protect America's National Security.

     Over the last 2 years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military -- with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year.  We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share.  For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO -- but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.

     As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System.

     Under my Administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests.

     For example, decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities.  While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms.  That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.  

     Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't –- in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.

     As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula.  Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months.  If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed.  Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one.  And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

     Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaido.  

     We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom -- and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

     Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.  America was founded on liberty and independence –- not government coercion, domination, and control.  We are born free, and we will stay free.  Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

     One of the most complex set of challenges we face is in the Middle East. 

     Our approach is based on principled realism -- not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress.  For this reason, my Administration recognized the true capital of Israel -- and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

      Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years.  In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives.  More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded.  We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East.

     As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach.  Great nations do not fight endless wars.

     When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria.  Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers. 

     Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.

     I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan.  Our troops have fought with unmatched valor -- and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.

     In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban.  As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism.  We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement -- but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.

     Above all, friend and foe alike must never doubt this Nation's power and will to defend our people.  Eighteen years ago, terrorists attacked the USS Cole -- and last month American forces killed one of the leaders of the attack.

     We are honored to be joined tonight by Tom Wibberley, whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was one of the 17 sailors we tragically lost.  Tom:  we vow to always remember the heroes of the USS Cole.

     My Administration has acted decisively to confront the world's leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran.

     To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.  And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

     We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people.  We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed.  With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.

     Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer.  Timothy has just had his 12th surgery -- but he made the trip to be here with us tonight.  Officer Matson:  we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil. 

     Tonight, we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet.  He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began.  But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall -- more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps.  Today is Judah's 81st birthday.  Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train, and told they were going to another camp.  Suddenly the train screeched to a halt.  A soldier appeared.  Judah's family braced for the worst.  Then, his father cried out with joy:  "It's the Americans."

     A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks.  "To me," Joshua recalls, "the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky."

     I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchik.  But there is more to Herman's story.  A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau.  He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth.  Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight -- seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom.  Herman and Joshua:  your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire Nation.

     When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war.

     They did not know if they would survive the hour.  They did not know if they would grow old.  But they knew that America had to prevail.  Their cause was this Nation, and generations yet unborn.

     Why did they do it?  They did it for America -- they did it for us.

     Everything that has come since -- our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress toward equality and justice -- all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

     Think of this Capitol -- think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire. 

     Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic.  You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California.  Together, we represent the most extraordinary Nation in all of history.

     What will we do with this moment?  How will we be remembered?

     I ask the men and women of this Congress:  Look at the opportunities before us!  Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead.  Our most exciting journeys still await.  Our biggest victories are still to come.  We have not yet begun to dream.

     We must choose whether we are defined by our differences -- or whether we dare to transcend them.

     We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance -- or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans.  We do the incredible.  We defy the impossible.  We conquer the unknown.

     This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination.  This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star.  This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.

     This is our future -- our fate -- and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.

     No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.

     We must keep America first in our hearts.  We must keep freedom alive in our souls.  And we must always keep faith in America's destiny -- that one Nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world!

     Thank you.  God Bless You, God Bless America, and good night!

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  • A north Alabama man was arrested Friday in connection with two homicides after patrol officers in another part of the state said they found him driving around with his dead wife’s body in the front seat beside him. Fred Sommerville, 47, is accused of killing his estranged wife, Lakresha Sommerville, 39, of Ardmore, Tennessee, who was reported missing Thursday in Limestone County, Alabama. Ardmore sits on the southern Tennessee state line and abuts its sister city of the same name in Alabama. Law enforcement officials have spelled the couple's name Sommerville, though their social media profiles show the spelling as Somerville. Fred Sommerville was taken into custody following a police pursuit in Pickens County, more than 150 miles away in west Alabama. “His wife, Lakresha, was in the front seat of the vehicle. She was dead and had been dead for several hours,” Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said during a news conference Monday evening. As of Tuesday morning, Fred Sommerville remained in the Pickens County Jail on charges of abuse of a corpse, attempt to elude, first-degree theft of property and reckless endangerment. He is expected to be transferred to Limestone County, at which point he will face a charge of first-degree murder for the murder of two or more people. Blakely said along with the slaying of his estranged wife, Fred Sommerville is also a suspect in the Thursday night killing of Bruce Cosman, 74, of Ardmore, Alabama. The News Courier in Athens reported that Cosman and his wife were inside their home around 7:30 p.m. Thursday when they heard suspicious noises outside. Cosman went outside to investigate the noises and his wife heard gunshots. According to the newspaper, Cosman was shot multiple times, dying in the yard. Blakely said Monday that investigators have evidence placing Fred Sommerville at Cosman’s home at the time of the shooting. He did not say what that evidence is. “There’s a lot of things we can’t go into at this time because it’s still an ongoing investigation,” Blakely said. He said a lot more legwork needs to be done in the case, but he is confident that the killer is in custody. Blakely said one reason he held the news conference was to calm the fears of residents in Ardmore. “We don’t have a murderer running loose up there in Ardmore. We have the person. He is in custody,” Blakely said. “We’re very confident he is the one that murdered Mr. Bruce.” >> Read more trending news  The timeline of the killing of Lakresha Sommerville is still not nailed down, Blakely said. He told reporters Monday that the victim’s mother reported her missing, with a possible kidnapping by her estranged husband, late Thursday night. Fred Sommerville was apprehended in Pickens County, in the town of Aliceville, around 11 a.m. Friday. Lakresha Sommerville had obviously been dead for hours at that point, the sheriff said. Blakely said there is no indication Fred Sommerville knew Cosman or his family. “We have some theories and possibly some evidence that’s going to indicate why he wound up at that residence, but we’re not prepared to discuss those at this time,” Blakely said. Watch the entire news conference with Limestone County officials below.  It was unclear why Fred Sommerville drove to Pickens County, though investigators said he has an uncle who lives there. Blakely said Sommerville also drove through other areas of Alabama for hours before his capture. The News Courier reported Fred Sommerville was caught after Aliceville police officers, who had heard reports regarding Lakresha Sommerville’s missing vehicle, spotted him downtown and attempted to pull him over. The officers ultimately fired at the car to stop it, the newspaper reported. The sheriff said Lakresha Sommerville had filed several complaints against her estranged husband alleging domestic violence and stalking. “According to the reports we’ve received so far, she was scared of him,” Blakely said. It was not yet clear exactly where Lakresha Sommerville was slain. According to investigators, she was shot once in the head. A Facebook page apparently belonging to Fred Sommerville, listed under the name Fila Somerville, shows multiple angry public posts that appeared to be directed at his estranged wife over the past few months. “All the slander you do towards me only gonna make that number bigger,” he wrote less than a week before Lakresha Sommerville was slain. “Get your lawyer, ‘cause you gonna pay dearly. Bet that.” Several people have commented on the post since the slaying last week. 'Why, Fred? Why?' Lakresha Sommerville's mother, Cindy Surles, wrote. 'Why would you take away the only person that was taking care of your son?' She wrote that Fred Sommerville did not care about the boy, who, according to Lakresha Sommerville's Facebook page, turned 13 earlier this year. 'All you care about is Fred and if it's not about Fred, then it ain't about nothing,' Surles wrote. On July 2, Fred Sommerville posted that he was in a domestic partnership with Lakresha, who appeared to express surprise at the relationship status. A friend asked Fred if he was OK. Fred Sommerville wrote that he had some business to take care of. 'This (expletive) the reason y,' he wrote, indicating his estranged wife. Other friends wrote that Lakresha Sommerville was not the source of his problems and urged him to accept that the relationship was over. On Friday, a woman named Stacey Smith commented on the status, along with several others on the Facebook page, telling those who saw her posts that Fred and Lakresha Sommerville were missing. 'No one has heard from them since yesterday afternoon,' Smith wrote. 'Their son was left behind and haven’t heard from them! If anyone knows or heard anything please let us know!' The following day, after news of Lakresha Sommerville's slaying emerged, the comments on Fred Sommerville's page turned to anger and anguish. 'You sorry (expletive), you didn’t have to kill her,' one person wrote. 'You could’ve thought of your son.' A friend of Lakresha's, April Robison, wrote on a Facebook fundraiser to help Surles fund her daughter's funeral and raise her son, that Lakresha Sommerville was loved and respected by many. 'Kresha was dedicated to her son, her mom, her whole family,' Robison wrote. 'She could light up a room with her smile. Her laugh was infectious. She will be missed by this entire town. We have lost a truly beautiful soul.' In a December post thanking her friends for birthday wishes, Lakresha Sommerville wrote that she thanked God for life and was looking forward to what the next year of life held for her. 'Just being honest I'm not living my best life yet, but if it's in God's will, I'm on my way,' she wrote. She wrote that she was looking forward to new and exciting things and a drama and stress-free year. 'May Chapter 39 be the best year yet!' she wrote.
  • An 18-year-old who was born in Dallas has spent weeks in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection over a paperwork mix-up that has left immigration officials questioning whether he is an American citizen, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news  Officials detained Francisco Erwin Galicia at a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, on June 27, the Dallas Morning News reported. He was stopped with friends and his 17-year-old brother while headed to North Texas for a soccer scouting event, according to the newspaper. His brother, Marlon, is not a U.S. citizen and had only a school ID card on him, according to the Morning News. Galicia's attorney, Claudia Galan, told The Washington Post that her client showed authorities a wallet-sized Texas birth certificate, his state ID card and his Social Security card, but she said they rejected the documents as likely fake and took him and his brother into custody. 'They just didn't believe they were real. They kept telling him they were fake,' Galan told the Post. 'He's been here all his life.' Marlon agreed to be voluntarily deported to Mexico within days of his detention, according to the Morning News. 'I didn't imagine this could happen, and now I'm so sad that I'm not with my family,' Marlon told the newspaper by phone from Reynosa, Mexico, where he's staying with family. 'Now, we just have to wait and see and hope that they release my brother.' Galicia was born in December 2000 at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, according to a birth certificate reviewed by the Morning News. Galan told CBS News that she's provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials with several documents to prove Galicia's American citizenship, including his birth certificate, health insurance cards and high school ID. 'He's going on a full month of being wrongfully detained,' Galan told the Morning News. 'He's a U.S. citizen, and he needs to be released now.' According to the Post, authorities might not have been able to immediately confirm the authenticity of Galicia's paperwork because his mother, who is not a U.S. citizen, took out a tourist visa in his name when he was younger, which falsely listed his place of birth as Mexico. Galicia's mother, Sanjuana, told the Post she got the visa because she believed it was the only way to allow her son to travel across the border to visit family and added that she couldn't get him a U.S. passport because she gave a different name for herself on her son's birth certificate. Sanjuana told the Post that her son is 'desperate' to leave detention and that he fears he might be deported to Mexico at any moment. 'I need my son back,' she told the Morning News. 'I just want to prove to them that he is a citizen. He's not a criminal or anything bad. He's a good kid.' It's not the first time authorities have detained a person claiming American citizenship, though the cases make up a fraction of ICE detentions each year, according to a 2018 report from the Los Angeles Times. Between 2012 and April 2018, ICE officials released 1,480 people from custody after investigating their claims of American citizenship, the Times reported. A review of Justice Department records and interviews with immigration attorneys 'uncovered hundreds of additional cases in the country's immigration courts in which people were forced to prove they are Americans and sometimes spent months or even years in detention,' the newspaper reported. 
  • Authorities arrested 35 people earlier this month in a series of nationwide immigration raids that targeted 2,000 families suspected of entering the country illegally, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news  Citing government figures, The New York Times reported 17 people who were apprehended were part of families that crossed the border together while 18 people were considered 'collateral apprehensions.' An unidentified Homeland Security official also confirmed to CNN that 35 people were arrested in the raids, which were slated to take place in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. The Times previously reported the operation was aimed at apprehending families that recently crossed the border and which were notified in February to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office and leave the United States. Officials do not typically announce planned immigration raids ahead of time, according to The Associated Press. President Donald Trump, however, confirmed the raids were set to take place and touted the effort as a major operation in his efforts to stymie illegal immigration. 'If the word gets out, it gets out. Hundreds of people know about it,' he told reporters July 12. 'It's a major operation. … They're going to take people out and they're going to bring them back to their countries or they're going to take criminals out, put them in prison or put them in prison in the countries they came from.' The advanced notice spurred action from immigrant advocates and might have prompted some of those targeted to flee.  'There is no way to quantify the impact that had but you could turn on any TV station for several weeks (and learn about the raids), this being one of the lead topics,' acting ICE Director Matt Albence told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday. 'It's very difficult to locate those individuals who don't want to be found.' Albence told the Times on Monday that he was unaware of 'any other population where people are telling them how to avoid arrest as a result of illegal activity.' 'It certainly makes it harder for us to effectuate these orders issued,' he said. From mid-May to mid-July, nearly 900 people were arrested by ICE officers as part of cross-check operations in which regional field offices dedicate resources toward a goal like picking up people who remain in the U.S. despite final deportation orders or people suspected of entering the country illegally who have criminal records, according to BuzzFeed News. White House officials on Tuesday said 605 people who have criminal records and who were suspected of entering the country illegally were recently picked up by ICE officers.
  • At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center announced that Tropical Depression 3 has lost organization and continues to weaken. The system is no longer a tropical depression and its remnants will continue to move over water, then turning east as it is swept away from land by a frontal boundary exiting the U.S. Across Central Florida, expect a soggy afternoon, with some storms becoming strong. High temperatures will reach the low to mid-90s.  The same cold front that will sweep the remnants of tropical depression 3 away from the U.S. coastline, will also bring a much-needed relief from the heat across the Central and northeastern U.S. The front will not make it all the way down to Central Florida, stalling just north of the state. Enough instability will remain nearby, which will ignite some strong afternoon thunderstorms on Wednesday. Expect higher than average rain chances Wednesday afternoon. The increased rain is forecast to keep temperatures slightly lower with highs in the lower 90s for the rest of the week. Expect a similar setup Wednesday, with storms moving from west to east, starting late morning and lasting through the afternoon commute. Overall storms will be moving a bit more rapidly to the coast, but there could still be some minor flooding, especially where storms ‘train’ for a bit longer.

Washington Insider

  • The White House on Tuesday defended the details of a major budget deal worked out between President Donald Trump and Democrats in the Congress, even as conservative groups and some GOP lawmakers denounced it as a budget boondoggle which would only increase spending and further raise deficits and debt. 'This deal on the discretionary spending caps is nothing short of a surrender by Republican “leadership” in the House and Senate and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,' said the group Freedom Works. The plan would raise spending levels to $320 billion more than the budget caps in current law for 2020 and 2021 - though the actual increase in spending from 2019 would be much less. With no briefings at the White House, the public argument on behalf of the deal was carried in the rain on Tuesday by the President's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. On Capitol Hill, Republicans said it was the best deal possible. 'In a compromise, neither side gets 100 percent of what they want,' said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). But the details produced a lot of grumbling from GOP lawmakers in the House, who want to see less spending - not more. 'The spending deal before us would continue Washington’s reckless spending with an unlimited line of credit,' said Rep. Mark Green (R-TN). 'This deal irresponsibly jacks up spending by $320 billion,' said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who complained 'this deal just kicks the can down the road again.' 'This proposal digs the US deeper into debt,' said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who said it was hard for budget haws to support a deal that adds more money to the deficit. 'Our credit card is maxed out,' said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC). 'What this budget deal does is ask the credit card company for another $320 billion in credit.' A House vote is expected on the plan by Friday, with Senate action expected next week. Lawmakers needed to act now - before going home on an extended summer break - because Trump Administration officials were worried that the debt limit needed to be expanded soon after Labor Day.