Home >News >World >Trump spells out his views on immigration, education, health care to US Congress

Washington: The latest on US President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress on Tuesday night.


• President Donald Trump says he’s ordered the Homeland Security Department to create an office to serve American victims of crimes committed by immigrants.

• Trump says the office will be called “VOICE" — short for Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. There were audible groans and sounds of surprise from people in the audience when Trump said the name of the new office.

• Trump says the US must support law enforcement and support the victims of crime. He says the new office will provide a voice to people ignored by the media and “silenced by special interests."

• Trump says he invited four Americans to attend the speech whose families were affected by crimes committed by immigrants in the US illegally.

Education bill

• President Donald Trump is declaring that “education is the civil rights issue of our time" and called upon Congress to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth.

• Trump said the measure would help “millions of African-American and Latino children" and said that families “should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them."

• The president, a proponent of charter schools, singled out a Florida woman named Denisha Merriweather, who was one of his invited guests to Tuesday night’s speech to Congress.

• Trump says Merriweather, who failed third grade twice, was able to enroll in a private centre for learning with the help of a tax credit scholarship programme. She later graduated from high school and college.

Paid family leave

• President Donald Trump says his administration wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to ensure paid family leave for new parents.

• Trump is promoting a goal for paid family leave that he first mentioned at the Republican National Convention. It’s an idea that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, has encouraged her father to embrace.

• The president still has yet to flesh out a proposal or offer details about his paid family leave plan.

• Trump says he wants to work to make childcare “accessible and affordable." He also says both parties should work together on women’s health, clean air and water, infrastructure and the military.

Replacing the Obamacare

• President Donald Trump is outlining his principles for repealing and replacing the Obama-era health care law.

• The president says in an address to Congress that Americans with pre-existing conditions should have access to coverage and there should be a stable transition for those enrolled in the exchanges.

• Trump says people should have help purchasing their own coverage through tax credits and expanded health savings accounts. He says governors should have the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor and elderly.

• In his speech, Trump also said legal reforms should be used to protect patients and doctors and Americans should be able to buy health insurance across state lines.

Immigration reform

• President Donald Trump is declaring that “real and positive immigration reform is possible" and called for bipartisan support on the effort.

• Trump in his speech to Congress on Tuesday said that he wanted to overhaul the nation’s system of legal immigration in favour of a “merit-based" system. That switch away from allowing lower-skilled immigrants could reduce the overall number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the United States.

• Trump claimed that it would “save countless dollars" by driving up wages and would help immigrant families reach the middle class.

• The speech comes hours after he told news anchors that he was open to legislation that could provide a pathway to legal status, a significant change in tone on a signature campaign issue.

House GOP plan

• For House GOP leaders, President Donald Trump came tantalizingly close to endorsing their plan to overhaul the tax code by imposing a new tax on imports while exempting exports. But, he stopped just short.

• “We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers," Trump said. “Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes — but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing," Trump said.

• Without providing specifics, Trump said he will propose to change that.

• For weeks, the White House has sent mixed signals about the House GOP plan, leaving lawmakers to interpret contradicting statements. Meanwhile, a growing number of Republican senators have condemned the plan.

Rebuilding nation

• President Donald Trump is calling for a “new program of national building."

• Trump is invoking President Dwight Eisenhower’s infrastructure program to create the highway system. Trump says it’s time again for Americans to come together to rebuild itself.

• Trump says he’ll ask Congress for $1 trillion for US infrastructure, financed by public and private capital. He says it will create millions of new jobs.

• The president is lamenting the amount of money the US has spent over the years building up other nations’ infrastructure. He says the US should have focused on rebuilding itself.

• Trump says two principles will guide the infrastructure project: “Buy American, and hire American."

Immigration ban

• President Donald Trump is declaring that his administration “will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe," pledging new executive action to restrict immigration.

• Trump’s initial ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations was struck down by a federal court.

• The president is expected to announce a new, overhauled plan on Wednesday.

• He vowed in his speech to Congress that this administration “has been working on improved vetting procedures" and would “keep out those who would do us harm."

Guest of Maine

• A young Iraqi immigrant whose return to Maine was delayed by President Donald Trump’s travel ban has received a warm welcome from his defence secretary at Tuesday’s address to Congress.

• Banah Al-Hanfy attended Trump’s speech as a guest of Maine US Republican. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat.

• Pingree tweeted a photo of the 20-year-old college student meeting Gen. James Mattis at the Capitol. She wrote that Mattis told Al-Hanfy, “you are most welcome here."

• Pingree also tweeted a photo of Al-Hanfy shaking hands with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

• Trump’s order delayed Al-Hanfy’s trip from Baghdad and separated her from her family for 10 days.

• Al-Hanfy’s father, Labed, has worked as an interpreter for the US military in Iraq and her family had special immigrant visas.

Women’s council

• President Donald Trump is giving a special shout-out to a joint US-Canadian women’s council set up to help women entrepreneurs.

• Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, was a big advocate for the program.

• Trump, in his first address to Congress, says the council would help women get access to the networks, markets and capital they need to start a business and “live out their financial dreams."

• Ivanka Trump has been a vocal supporter of policies benefiting working women.

Islamic terrorism

• President Donald Trump says the US is taking strong measures to protect itself from “radical Islamic terrorism."

• Trump is using the term emphatically in his speech. It’s a departure from former President Barack Obama, who opted not to use that term. Obama argued it emboldened extremists by playing into an incorrect belief that the US is at war with Islam.

• Trump says it’s reckless to allow people into the US uncontrolled from places where they can’t be fully vetted. He says the US can’t be “a sanctuary for extremists."

• The president says his administration is working on better vetting procedures and will soon take “new steps" to keep Americans safe.

Mexican border

• President Donald Trump is seeking to make the case for his tougher immigration rules and the construction of a wall along the US-Mexican border.

• Trump says in his address to Congress that the nation wants “all Americans to succeed" but it can’t happen “in an environment of lawless chaos." He says the US needs to restore the “rule of law" to our borders.

• Trump says the country will soon begin construction on the wall and it will be an “effective weapon against drugs and crime."

• He says his administration is removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals from the United States. Trump says “bad ones" are going out as he speaks.

US economy

• President Donald Trump is claiming credit for taking steps in his first weeks that he says are already bolstering the US economy.

• Trump says in his speech to Congress that major companies including Ford and Intel have announced plans to invest in the US and create jobs. He’s pointing to gains in the stock market and his hiring freeze for federal workers.

• Trump says he’s started to “drain the swamp" with a five-year lobbying ban for government officials. He says he’s helping create jobs by enabling construction on pipeline and curtailing government regulations.

• Trump is also touting his move to remove the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.


• President Donald Trump is casting 2016 as a year in which the “earth shifted beneath our feet," and pointing to his victory as a “rebellion" that “started as a quiet protest" and turned into a “loud chorus."

• Trump says in his first address to a joint session of Congress that thousands of Americans spoke out together and their chorus “became an earthquake."

• The president says people turned out by the tens of millions united by one demand: that America put its own citizens first. Trump says that only then can we ‘Make America Great Again,’ referring to his campaign mantra.


• President Donald Trump is opening his address to a joint session of Congress by condemning the recent threats against Jewish community centers and a fatal shooting in Kansas being investigated as a hate crime.

• Trump on Tuesday said that “while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms."

• The president had received criticism from some civil rights groups who had accused him of being slow in denouncing the violent acts. He had yet to discuss the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, one of two Indian men shot in a bar outside Kansas City.

• There have also been dozens of threats against Jewish community centers — and vandalism in Jewish cemeteries — across the nation in recent weeks.

No clapping from Democrats

• A few empty seats and no clapping from Democrats greeted President Donald Trump as he arrived in the House for his first address to a joint session of Congress.

• Democrats who eagerly packed the aisle seats to shake hands with President Barack Obama the past two terms sent a message to the Republican president. They avoided the aisle seats and few shook the president’s hand.

• Democratic women wore white to show solidarity with the suffrage movement.

As the president spoke, Republicans jumped up and applauded. Democrats sat.

Governors’ words

• The former governor of Kentucky says Republicans are trying to “rip affordable health insurance" away from the people who most need it.

• Former governor Steve Beshear plans to give the Democratic Party’s formal response to President Donald Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday night. In advance excerpts, Beshear says the more than 20 million Americans benefiting from former President Barack Obama’s health care law aren’t “aliens from a distant planet." Beshear says they’re friends and neighbors who now face “life and death" decisions because of the GOP effort to kill that law.

• Beshear says Trump’s attacks on intelligence agencies, the press, federal courts and others are “eroding our democracy" and reckless.

• The 72-year-old Beshear is best known for expanding health coverage in his deep red state under Obama’s law.

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