Donald Trump has preached unity and preened over the country’s growing economy in his first State of the Union speech to Congress. But words could do little to varnish over a year of White House chaos, sexism and racism, falsehoods, attacks on freedom of the press, and the gravity of the Trump-Russia investigation.
There was praise for the country’s first responders, its services personnel and veterans, some railing against North Korea, and an exhortation that “if you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything”. As expected, Trump promised a compromise on the status of about 1.8m Dreamers, including a path to citizenship – in return for a wall on the Mexican border and tighter immigration restrictions on legal immigration.
Throughout it all Republicans stood, applauded and cheered but Democrats mostly sat stony-faced and sometimes groaned or heckled in protest. Richard Wolffe, on the money as usual, says this was the kind of night Trump loves best – when he can applaud himself. Our US politics reporter Ben Jacobs says Trump sounded “far more like a typical politician than he has in the past but, in doing so, made himself as forgettable as a typical politician”. Here is the full text of the president’s speech. The Massachusetts representative Joe Kennedy III delivered the Democrats’ reply.