state of the union 2019
February 6, 2019

President Trump announced in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that by 2030, he wants to see HIV eradicated in the United States.

"In recent years, we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS," Trump said. "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. We have made incredible strides, incredible. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America, and beyond."

The Centers for Disease Control says the annual number of new HIV diagnoses has been stable for the last several years, with 38,739 people diagnosed in 2017. Black gay and bisexual men are most affected by HIV, and it's estimated that about 1.1 million people in the U.S. have HIV.

Trump didn't go into detail about the strategy to combat HIV, but The Washington Post reports that unspecified resources will be sent to 48 counties and "hot spots" with high rates of infections. No one is working in the Office of National AIDS Policy, and until late December, no one was on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, after several members quit in protest over Trump's lack of action; Trump later fired the rest. Catherine Garcia

February 6, 2019

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clapping at President Trump may well be remembered more than any of the 5,000+ words Trump spoke in Tuesday's State of the Union address. Pelosi was ... applauding? ... this aspirational line from Trump: "We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good."

Embed from Getty Images

Is Pelosi embracing the idea of Trump's words while ridiculing him for being the one to deliver them? Is she golf-clapping? Was it just an odd camera angle?

There were theories. Comedian Patton Oswalt congratulated Pelosi for "inventing the 'f--k you' clap." Frequent tweeter Dr. Eugene Gu suggested that Pelosi "dog walked Trump with a single clap. This is her house, and Trump is an undocumented guest." And Slate's Christina Cauterucci captioned the photo: "Nancy Pelosi distracts out-of-control toddler with rendition of 'Baby Shark.'" Time's Molly Ball found the Baby Shark theme fitting:

Do-doo-do-do-do-do do-doo. Peter Weber

February 6, 2019

During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, President Trump called on both parties to "unite for a great rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure," but didn't go into any specifics.

"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," he said. "This is not an option. This is necessity."

Unlike during previous speeches to Congress, he did not give any dollar figures. Politico notes that in 2017, Trump requested lawmakers "approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States," and during the 2018 State of the Union, he called on Congress to "produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need." The White House did come up with a plan that included $200 billion in federal money, but was unable to get it turned into legislation. Catherine Garcia

February 5, 2019

There was a lot in President Trump's State of the Union address that did not fit into the promised theme of "unity," but Trump did get three consecutive standing ovations from the Democratic women in white — and the first one was definitely unexpected. "No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year," Trump said. Slowly, the freshmen women in suffragette white appeared to realize that these new jobs might as well include their victories last November in Congress and in local and state government. After a few seconds, the arc of white was collectively on its feet, cheering.

"You weren't supposed to do that," Trump said, smiling and pointing at the women. He continued: "All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before. Don't sit yet. You're going to like this," Trump added, teeing up the applause line he expected. "And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than ever before." That led to the third consecutive standing ovation from the Democratic women, plus chants of "USA! USA! USA!" — and a moment of unity. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 5, 2019

In the Democratic response to the State of the Union, Stacey Abrams said that while she is "very disappointed" in the way President Trump approaches problems, she doesn't want "him to fail," but rather to "tell the truth, and to respect his duties and the extraordinary diversity that defines America."

Abrams was the Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, and she narrowly lost the race in November. On Tuesday night she touched on everything from the recent government shutdown, which she called "a stunt engineered by the president of the United States," to immigration.

"The administration chooses to cage children and tear families apart," she said. "Compassionate treatment at the border is not the same as open borders. President Reagan understood this. President Obama understood this. Americans understand this. And Democrats stand ready to effectively secure our ports and borders. But we must all embrace that from agriculture to health care to entrepreneurship, America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants — not walls."

Action needs to be taken on many things, Abrams said, including climate change, gun safety, expanding Medicare, voter suppression, and racism. Both sides need to come together to enact change, she added, because she's learned that "our constituents don't care about our political parties. They care about their lives." Catherine Garcia

February 5, 2019

President Trump blasted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, two weeks after the U.S. recognized Juan Guaidó as its interim president.

Because of Maduro's "socialist policies," Venezuela is now in "a state of abject poverty and despair," Trump said. He then tried to tie such policies to democratic socialists in the U.S., saying, "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." 


Americans, he continued, "are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country." Catherine Garcia

February 5, 2019

President Trump credits his "bold new diplomacy" with keeping the United States out of war.

During his State of the Union address, Trump declared, "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."

Trump said that he is pushing for peace on the Korean peninsula, and because of his work, "nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months." There is still work to be done, Trump said, but "my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. Chairman Kim and I will meet again on Feb. 27 and 28 in Vietnam."

In December, new satellite images showed that North Korea is expanding a missile base, with researchers saying it's likely used to house long-range missiles. Catherine Garcia

February 5, 2019

President Trump painted a dark picture of the land along the southern border during his State of the Union address, calling it "dangerous" and "lawless."

Republicans and Democrats must come together to tackle the "urgent national crisis" that is illegal immigration, Trump said, adding that he wants to "put the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business." The government has a "moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens," he said, adding that he wants "people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally. Tonight, I'm asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and our country."

He described the wall he wants erected along the southern border as being a "smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier," and said it will be "deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need." After introducing one of his guests, Department of Homeland Security investigator Elvin Hernandez, Trump said he will "always support the brave men and women of law enforcement, and I pledge to you tonight that I will never abolish our heroes from ICE." Catherine Garcia

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