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A Strong America

Trump Delivers State of the Union Amid Stark Political Divide

President's optimistic vision of America's future earns overflow praise from Republicans but snarky condemnation from Democrats

President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address on Tuesday night received a vast array of responses, from praise to condemnation.

Trump delivered the address to a joint session of Congress amid a contentious political climate. He’s facing a bitter fight on border security amid the impending shadow of another government shutdown. The president called for unity while stressing his big-agenda items, including the country’s economic growth and security at the border.

Democrat Stacey Abrams gave the official rebuttal from the Left, but the reaction to Trump’s speech outside of that were far-reaching. Republicans praised the speech for showing an optimistic vision of the future and for highlighting key accomplishments during this president’s term of office. Democrats dismissed it for avoiding important issues such as climate change.

“President Trump shared with the nation an inspiring vision of a prosperous America,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement shared with LifeZette. “His first two years in office delivered historic results to the American people, including nearly five million new jobs, a once-in-a-generation tax cut, and an overhaul of the criminal justice system.”

Related: Trump Opens SOTU by Praising WWII Veterans

Lawmakers must join together to help the president, she added, as he continues to honor his promises. She said lawmakers from both parties must unite behind the president in the years ahead — though that looks unlikely to happen given the Democrats’ response last night.

“It will take days to fact-check all the misrepresentations that the president made tonight,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “Instead of fear-mongering and manufacturing a crisis at the border, President Trump should commit to signing the bipartisan conference committee’s bill to keep government open and provide strong, smart border security solutions. Sadly, while talking about perceived threats to the safety of the American people, he completely ignored the gun violence epidemic that is claiming lives across the country.”

Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) also slammed the president for his stance on border security — even though Trump has been trying to secure $5.7 billion for a physical barrier at the southern border and Democrats have staunchly resisted this.

“Trump says he is ready to work with Democrats on immigration, but only if he gets funding for his hateful wall,” Markey said in a statement. “Democrats stand ready to work toward bipartisan solutions to protect our dreamers and [Temporary Protected Status] recipients and strengthen border security, but we will not allow our immigration system to vilify immigrants or upend the lives of those seeking promise and security in our nation.”

Markey criticized the speech for omitting the topic of climate change. He accused the president of isolating the country globally and failing to live up to his promise on infrastructure by trying to sell roads and bridges to big banks and private companies.

Related: Trump: Congress Has a ‘Moral Duty’ to Address ‘National Crisis’ at the Border

But the president received praise for addressing immigration, among other issues.

“We were pleased that President Trump’s remarks outlined the importance of protecting Americans and putting American interests first,” Tea Party Patriots Action honorary chairwoman Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement to LifeZette. “The focus on solving the crisis at our southern border, putting America back to work, honoring our heroes, and recognizing the positive direction in which our country is headed made for a powerful and inspiring address.”

Trump used a good portion of the address to highlight the country’s economic growth during his presidency. His agenda on this front has included deregulatory efforts, tax cuts, and trade deal renegotiation.

“It’s clear the president wants to double down on the pro-growth policies he’s championed since taking office, and that’s exciting news for America’s small business owners and their employees,” Job Creators Network president Alfredo Ortiz told LifeZette. “What a change from just two years ago — robust growth in jobs and economic opportunity. More people are working and they’re making more money.”

Trump said that over the last two years, since took office, 5.3 million new jobs have been created. That includes 600,000 new manufacturing jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked steady monthly job growth, including 304,000 new jobs in the last report.

“Our industry is coming off the best year for manufacturing job creation in more than two decades,” National Association of Manufacturers president Jay Timmons said in a statement to LifeZette. “Manufacturers’ progress has been built with the tools of tax reform and regulatory certainty, as manufacturers kept our promise to hire workers, raise wages and benefits, and invest in equipment and operations.”

Trump also highlighted the fact that wages are rising at their fastest rate in decades; wages are also increasing for blue-collar workers. He also pointed to the almost five million people who have come off food stamps — and the economy is now growing almost twice as fast as when he took office.

Related: Trump Touts Economy in State of the Union Address

“The president made it clear that America’s economic revival has been based on environmental deregulation and increased energy production,” Myron Ebell, director of energy and environment policy at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, said to LifeZette. “Undoing President Obama’s climate agenda has given American manufacturers a huge energy price advantage.”

The economy has made notable improvements. Under Trump, trends such as the employment rate and economic growth continue to grow. There’s also been a significant spike in economic confidence and a jump in capital investments.

But the view from the other side is stark.

“Thanks to Donald Trump, the Oval Office is mired in a culture of corruption unseen in modern political history,” Tom Steyer, a progressive businessman and founder of the Anti-Trump group, Need to Impeach, said in a statement to LifeZette. “No amount of showmanship or false promises from [Tuesday night’s] speech will change that. The only way to save our democracy from this lawless president is for Congress to step up, listen to the 7.2 million Americans who are calling for impeachment, and start the process to remove Donald Trump immediately.”

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Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].