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tv   NBC News Special Presidential Address  NBC  February 28, 2017 9:00pm-10:31pm EST

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tonight, high drama in the the president and the first lady seen doing last minute preps in the limo for this all-important address. our special coverage begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news. a presidential address to congress. live from washington. here is lester holt. >> a rainy night in washington. good evening, everyone, a very big night here. president trump set to deliver what is essentially his first state of the union address, although of course it's not officially called the state of the union the first time around
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for a new president. inside the house chamber, first lady melania trump has just taken her seat, we're told, along with ivanka trump and jared kushner. we want to show you this extraordinary picture recorded a little while ago, the president seen on camera practicing his speech or at least that's what he appears to be doing inside the "beast," his presidential limo. a lot of buzz over what the president might say including from the president. we learned a potential nod, a compromise on immigration may be afoot. chuck todd is here with our team. chuck, this suddenly came up with network broadcasters today, "maybe i'll talk about the immigration bill." >> he talked about what he might do about so-called dreamers,
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kids brought here by their parents, not on their own. it felt almost off-the-cuff at one point. he said maybe the time is right, maybe there's a point where you could do a big immigration bill, as he called it. >> he used the word "compromise." >> a big immigration bill. he said, maybe i'll mention in the speech tonight. there's a little bit of drama there, if he does it. he's got a laundry list of things he has to accomplish tonight, especially when it comes to obamacare. if he adds immigration to this, that only adds to the big-ticket items in this speech. >> it's being billed as a speech of unity. chuck, sit tight, we're also joined from new york by savannah guthrie and nicole wallace. let me ask both of you to discuss who the audience is that the president wants to get to. is it his base as we've seen over the last month or trying to broaden it? >> in a lot of years past you
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would always say, there's the audience in the room but who you're really talking to is the audience at home. that is of course true. but there's also that audience in the room that really matters and it's the audience of republicans. because republicans have to decide whether they're going to be with this president or not. and when it gets down to the details now of doing some policy initiatives, there are a lot of different factions in the republican party. nicole, to lester's question, is he going to be speaking to the base or will he speak to everyone in america? >> it's so interesting, for the first time today a white house official acknowledged to me that they have squandered some opportunities in that inauguration address to unite the country. you're right, when you say unite the country, the best they could do at this point is unite the republicans. democrats are hardened in their opposition to him. they're looking for some tonal things to do to bring everybody together. >> lester, it's a big night. we'll send it back to you. >> the president of the united
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states. [ applause ] >> donald trump returning to the capitol where he was inaugurated just a little over a month ago with the announcement "president of the united states." as we've seen at many of these speeches, he will work his way down the aisle as he heads toward the podium. we'll see if we can hear what he's saying. . >> chuck, we're going to be seeing certainly half these seats, people staying in their seats for a good part of the night. >> we will. it's not dissimilar to what we
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saw at obama's state of the union. you would see one side getting standing ovations and the other side, maybe a polite clap, maybe nothing. some of the democrats, some have decided not to come at all, and others who are afraid of camera shots making them look like they clap, so even if they want to clap for something they may fear it because the base of the democratic party is so amped up against trump. i have to tell you, to go to nicole's point, the white house pushed this all day, the president pushed it with us. remember, the convention speech was pretty dark as far as some people were concerned, the inaugural speech was a tough speech. they don't want this speech -- they don't want us to come away from this speech thinking "american carnage," that phrase that stuck out from the inauguration. they claim this is going to be a much more optimistic, unified -- >> we did hear the word "optimistic." tom brokaw, we do know he's going to be calling for a military buildup. you've been speaking to some military leadership.
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are they in sync as to had a the military needs and what the president is going to give them? >> the president has said he's going to propose the largest military budget ever. most of the military people i've been talking to at the senior level, national security and military commanders, are saying it's not just the amount of money. we had all the money in the world when we started this war and the largest military in the world and now we're fighting it with special operations, primarily. the battlefield has shifted considerably. so there is an opportunity to take those conventional forces who are now not fighting every day, but some of them in reserves, save money that way. there are efficiencies that can be made as well. and what you need to do is not cut out the state department and a.i.d. every military person i talk to now says we need diplomacy as well as combat on the field. >> we see him with the members of the joint chiefs. we see members of the supreme
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court, we're told only five are in the chamber right now, justices thomas, alito, and ginsburg are not there. we talked about the localized audience, the broader, internationalized audience. >> foreign leaders have been looking nervously at donald trump, even in moscow, they're nervous that he's not going to be as supportive as they anticipated. the french, the germans, have been unsettled by some of his early statements. >> the president, as tradition goes, handing the speech off to leaders of both houses. >> a unified republican government right now that he'll be addressing. >> and you will see a lot of guests in this audience tonight. the tradition has dated back for several presidents, in many cases making -- some the president has invited, some members of congress have invited to make points tonight.
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>> you saw the president stopping to greet justices breyer, so ttomayosotomayor, an. >> you see democrats wearing white, an ode to the suffragette movement and a form of silent protest. >> here is the president. >> members of congress, i have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. [ cheers and applause ] [ cheers and applause ]
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. >> even nixon got a good reception. >> mr. speaker. mr. vice president. members of congress. the first lady of the united states. . [ cheers and applause ] . and citizens of america. tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of black history month, we are reminded of our nation's path towards civil rights and the work that still remains to be done. recent threats --. .
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[ applause ] . >> recent threats targeting jewish community centers and vandalism of jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in kansas city, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms. . [ cheers and applause ] . each american generation passes
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the torch of truth, liberty, and justice in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. that torch is now in our hands. and we will use it to light up the world. i am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength. and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart. a new chapter --. . [ applause ] . -- of american greatness is now beginning. a new national pride is sweeping across our nation. and a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp. what we are witnessing today is the renewal of the american spirit. our allies will find that america is once again ready to lead. [ applause ]
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. all the nations of the world, friend or foe, will find that america is strong. america is proud. and america is free. in nine years, the united states will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our founding. 250 years since the day we declared our independence. it will be one of the great milestones in the history of the world. what will america look like as we reach our 250th year? what kind of country will we leave for our children? i will not allow the mistakes of recent decades past to define the course of our future.
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for too long, we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries. we financed and built one global project after another but ignored the fates of our children. in the inner cities of chicago, baltimore, detroit, and so many other places throughout our land. we've defended the borders of other nations while leaving our own borders wide open for anyone to cross and for drugs to pour in at a now-unprecedented rate. and we've spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled. then in 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet. the rebellion started as a quiet
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protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds, families who just wanted a fair shot for their children, and a fair hearing for their concerns. but then the quiet voices became a loud chorus as thousands of citizens now spoke out together from cities small and large all across our country. finally, the chorus became an earthquake and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple but crucial demand, that america must put its own citizens first because only then can we truly make america great again. . [ cheers and applause ]
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. dying industries will come roaring back to life. heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need. our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve. crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, and railways, gleaming across a very, very beautiful land. our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately stop. and our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity. above all else, we will keep our promises to the american people. . [ applause ] .
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thank you. it's been a little over a month since my inauguration. and i want to take this moment to update the nation on the progress i've made in keeping those promises. since my election, ford, fiat-chrysler, general motors, sprint, softbank, lockheed, intel, walmart, and many others have announced that they will invest billions and billions of dollars in the united states and will create tens of thousands of new american jobs. . [ cheers and applause ] . the stock market has gained almost $3 trillion in value since the election on november
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8th, a record. we've saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of fantastic, and it is a fantastic, new f-35 jet fighter. and we'll be saving billions more on contracts all across our government. we have placed a hiring freeze on nonmilitary and nonessential federal workers. we have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials, and a lifetime ban --. . [ applause ] . thank you. and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.
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we have undertaken an historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency. . [ applause ] . >> and we're imposing a new rule which mandates that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. . [ applause ] . we're going to stop the regulations that threaten the future and livelihood of our great coal miners. . [ applause ] .
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we have cleared the way for the construction of the keystone and dakota access pipelines. . [ cheers and applause ] . thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs. i've issued a new directive that new american pipelines be made with american steel. . [ cheers and applause ] . we've withdrawn the united states from the job killing trans-pacific partnership. . [ applause ] .
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and with the help of prime minister justin trudeau, we've formed a council with our neighbors in canada to help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets, and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams. . [ applause ] . to protect our citizens, i have directed the department of justice to form a task force on reducing violent crime. i have further ordered the departments of homeland security and justice along with the department of state and the director of national intelligence to coordinate an aggressive strategy to dismantle
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the criminal cartels that have spread all across our nation. . [ applause ] . we will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth. and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted. . [ applause ] . at the same time, my administration has answered the pleas of the american people for immigration enforcement and border security. . [ applause ]
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. by finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions and billions of dollars and make our communities safer for everyone. . [ applause ] . we want all americans to succeed. but that can't happen in an environment of lawless chaos. we must restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders. . [ applause ] . for that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border.
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. [ cheers and applause ] . as we speak tonight, we are removing gaining members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens. bad ones are going out as i speak, and as a promised throughout the campaign. to any in congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, i would ask you this one question. what would you say to the american family that loses their jobs, their income, or their loved one, because america refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders? . [ applause ] .
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our obligation is to serve, protect and defend the citizens of the united states. we are also taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical islamic terrorism. . [ cheers and applause ] . according to data provided by the department of justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offences since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. we have seen the attacks at home from boston to san bernardino to the pentagon. and yes, even the world trade center. we have seen the attacks in france, in belgium, in germany, and all over the world.
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it is not compassionate but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. . [ cheers and applause ] . those given the high honor of admission to the united states should support this country and lovitz peope its people and its. we cannot allow a beach head of terrorism to form inside america. we cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists. . [ applause ] . that is why my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures and we will shortly take new steps to keep
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our nation safe and to keep those out who will do us harm. . [ applause ] . as promised, i directed the department of defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy isis, a network of savages that have slaughtered muslims, christians, and men and women of all faiths and beliefs. we will work with our allies including our friends and allies in the muslim world to distinguish this vile enemy from our planet. . [ applause ] . i have also imposed new sanctions on entities and
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individuals who support iran's ballistic missile program and reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the state of israel. . [ cheers and applause ] . finally, i have kept my promise to appoint a justice to the united states supreme court from my list of 20 judges who will defend our constitution. . [ cheers and applause ] . i am greatly honored to have maureen scalia with us in the gallery tonight. . [ applause ]
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. thank you, maureen. her late, great husband antonin scalia will forever be a symbol of american justice. to fill his seat, we have chosen judge neil gorsuch, a man of incredible skill and deep devotion to the law. he was confirmed unanimously by the court of appeals, and i am asking the senate to swiftly approve his nomination. . [ cheers and applause ] .
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tonight, as i outline the next steps we must take as a country, we must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited. 94 million americans are out of the labor force. over 43 million people are now living in poverty. and over 43 million americans are on food stamps. more than one in five people in their prime working years are not working. we have the worst financial recovery in 65 years. in the last eight years, the past administration has put on more new debt than nearly all of the other presidents combined. we've lost more than one fourth of our manufacturing jobs since nafta was approved and we've lost nearly 60,000 factories since china joined the world trade organization in 2001. our trade deficit in goods with
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the world last year was nearly $800 billion. and overseas we have inherited a series of tragic foreign policy disasters. solving these and so many other pressing problems will require us to work past the differences of party. it will require us to tap into the american spirit that has overcome every challenge throughout our long and storied history. but to accomplish our goals at home and abroad, we must restart the engine of the american economy, making it easier for companies to do business in the united states, and much, much harder for companies to leave our country. . [ applause ] .
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right now american companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world. my economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. . [ applause ] . it will be a big, big cut. at the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class. we must create a level playing field for american companies and our workers. have to do it. . [ applause ] . currently, when we ship products out of america, many countries make us pay high tariffs and taxes. but when foreign companies ship their products into america, we
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charge them nothing or almost nothing. i just met with officials and workers from a great american company, harley-davidson. in fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles made in the usa on the front lawn of the white house. . [ applause ] . and they wanted me to ride one and i said no thank you. laught [ laughter ] at our meeting i asked them, how are you doing, how is business? they said it's good. i asked them further, how are you doing with other countries, mainly international sales? they told me without even complaining, because they have been so mistreated for so long, that they've become used to it, that it's very hard to do business with other countries because they tax our goods at such a high rate. they said that in the case of
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another country, they tax their motorcycles at 100%. they weren't even asking for a change. but i am. i believe --. . [ cheers and applause ] . i believe strongly in free trade. but it also has to be fair trade. it's been a long time since we've had fair trade. the first republican president, abraham lincoln, warned that the abandonment of the protective policy by the american government will produce want and ruin among our people. lincoln was right. and it's time we heeded his advice and his words. . [ applause ]
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. i am not going to let america and its great companies and workers be taken advantage of us any longer. they have taken advantage of our country. no longer. . [ applause ] . i'm going to bring back millions of jobs, protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration. . [ applause ] . the current outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers and puts great pressure on taxpayers. nations around the world like canada, australia, and many others, have a merit-based immigration system. . [ applause ] .
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it's a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. yet in america we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that are poorest citizens rely upon. according to the national academy of sciences, our current immigration system costs american taxpayers many billions of dollars a year. switching away from this current system of lower skilled immigration and instead adopting a merit-based system, we will have so many more benefits. it will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families, including immigrant families, enter the middle class. and they will do it quickly. and they will be very, very happy indeed. . [ applause ] . i believe that real and positive
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immigration reform is possible as long as we focus on the following goals. to improve jobs and wages for americans. to strengthen our nation's security. and to restore respect for our laws. if we are guided by the wellbeing of american citizens, then i believe republicans and democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades. . [ applause ] . another republican president, dwight d. eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program, the building of the interstate highway system.
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the time has come for a new program of national rebuilding. . [ applause ] . america has spent approximately $6 trillion in the middle east. all the while our infrastructure at home is crumbling. with the $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice, and maybe even three times if we had people who had the ability to negotiate. . [ applause ] . to launch our national rebuilding, i will be asking congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of
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the united states, financed through both public and private capital, creating millions of new jobs. . [ applause ] . this effort will be guided by two core principles. buy american and hire american. . [ applause ] . tonight i am also calling on this congress to repeal and replace obamacare. . [ cheers and applause ]
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. with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time provide better health care. . [ applause ] . mandating every american to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for our country. . [ applause ] . >> the way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance. and that is what we are going to do. . [ applause ] .
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obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits. as an example, arizona went up 116% last year alone. governor matt bevin of kentucky said obamacare is failing in his state, the state of kentucky, and it's unsustainable and collapsing. one-third of the counties have only one insurer and they're losing them fast. they're losing them so fast. they're leaving. and many americans have no choice at all. there's no choice left. remember, when you were told that you could keep your doctor and keep your plan, we now know that all of those promises have been totally broken. obamacare is collapsing. and we must act decisively to protect all americans. . [ cheers and applause ]
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. action is not a choice. it is a necessity. so i am calling on all democrats and republicans in congress to work with us to save americans from this imploding obamacare disaster. . [ applause ] . here are the principles that should guide congress as we move to create a better health care system for all americans. first, we should ensure that americans with preexisting conditions have access to coverage and that we have a stable transition for americans currently enrolled in the health care exchanges. . [ applause ]
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. secondly, we should help americans purchase their own coverage through the use of tax credits and expanded health savings accounts. but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our government. . [ cheers and applause ] . thirdly, we should give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with medicaid to make sure no one is left out. . [ applause ] . fourth, we should implement
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legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately. . [ applause ] . and finally, the time has come to give americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines. . [ cheers and applause ] . which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care. so important. . everything that is broken in our
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country can be fixed. every problem can be solved. and every hurting family can find healing and hope. our citizens deserve this. and so much more. so why not join forces and finally get the job done and get it done right? . [ cheers and applause ] . on this and so many other things, democrats and republicans should get together and unite for the good of our country and for the good of the american people. . [ applause ] . my administration wants to work
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with members of both parties to make childcare accessible and parents that they have paid ew family leave. . [ cheers and applause ] . to invest in women's health and to promote clean air and clean water and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure. . [ applause ] . true love for our people requires us to find common ground, to advance the common good, and to cooperate on behalf of every american child who deserves a much brighter future.
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an incredible young woman is with us this evening who should serve as an inspiration to us all. today is rare disease day. and joining us in the gallery is a rare disease survivor. megan crowley. megan --. . [ applause ] . megan was diagnosed with pompee disease, a rare and serious illness, when she was 16 months old. she was not expected to live past 5. on receiving this news, megan's dad john fought with everything
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he had to save the life of his precious child. he founded a company to look for a cure and helped develop the drug that saved megan's life. today she is 20 years old and a sophomore at notre dame. . [ cheers and applause ] . megan's story is about the unbounded power of a father's love for a daughter. but our slow and burdensome approval process at the food and drug administration keeps too many advances like the one that saved megan's life from reaching those in need. if we slash the restraints, not just at the fda, but across our
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government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles just like megan. . [ applause ] . in fact our children will grow up in a nation of miracles. but to achieve this future we must enrich the minds and the souls of every american child. education is the civil rights issue of our time. . [ applause ] . >> i am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of african-american and latino children. . [ applause ]
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. these families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them. . [ applause ] . joining us tonight in the gallery is a remarkable woman. danisha merry weather. as a young girl she struggled in school and failed third grade twice. but then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning. great learning center. with the help of a tax credit and a scholarship program. today she is the first in her family to graduate not just from high school but from college. later this year, she will get her masters degree in social work.
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we want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like danisha. . [ cheers and applause ] . but to break the cycle of poverty, we must also break the cycle of violence. the murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century. in chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone. and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher. this is not acceptable in our society. . [ applause ]
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. every american child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high paying job. . [ applause ] . but to create this future we must work with, not against. not against the men and women of law enforcement. . [ cheers and applause ] . we must build bridges of cooperation and trust, not drive the wedge of disunity, and that's what it is, division, it's pure, unadulterated division. we have to unify.
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police and sheriffs are members of our community. they're friends and neighbors. they're mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. and they leave behind loved ones every day what worry about whether or not they'll come home safe and sound. we must support the incredible men and women of law enforcement. . [ applause ] . and we must support the victims of crime. i have ordered the department of homeland security to create an office to serve american victims. the office is called v.o.i.c.e., victims of immigration crime engagement. we are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by
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our media and silenced by special interests. joining us --. . [ applause ] . joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave americans whose government failed them. their names are jameel shaw, susan oliver, jenna oliver, and jessica davis. jameel's 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member who had just been released from prison. jameel shaw jr. was an incredible young man with unlimited potential. he was getting ready to go to college where he would have excelled as a great college quarterback. but he never got the chance. his father, who is in the audience tonight, has become a
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very good friend of mine. jameel, thank you. thank you. . [ applause ] . also with us are susan oliver and jessica davis. their husbands, danny oliver and michael davis, were slain in the line of duty in california. they were pillars of their community. these brave men were viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record and two prior deportations. should have never been in our country. sitting with susan is her daughter jenna. jenna, i want you to know that your father was a hero and that tonight you have the love of an
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entire country supporting you and praying for you. . [ applause ] . through jameel, jenna, susan, and jessica, i want you to know we will never stop fighting for justice. your loved ones will never, ever be forgotten. we will always honor their memory. . [ applause ] . finally, to keep america safe, we must provide the men and women of the united states military with the tools they need to prevent war, if they must, they have to fight and they only have to win.
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. [ applause ] . i am sending congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the defense sequester. . [ applause ] . and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in american history. my budget will also increase funding for our veterans. our veterans have delivered for this nation. and now we must deliver for them. . [ cheers and applause ]
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. the challenges we face as a nation are great. but our people are even greater. and none are greater or braver than those who fight for america in uniform. . [ applause ] . we are blessed to be joined tonight by corinne owens, the widow of u.s. navy special operator senior chief william ryan owens. ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.
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. [ applause ] . i just spoke to our great general mattis just now, who reconfirmed that, and i quote, ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy. ryan's legacy is etched into eternity. thank you. . [ applause ]
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. [ cheers and applause ] .
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and ryan is looking down right now, you know that, and he's very happy, because i think he just broke a record. . [ applause ] . >> the bible teaches us there is no greater act of love than to
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lay down one's life for one's friends. ryan laid down his life for his friend, for his country, and for our freedom. and we will never forget ryan. . [ applause ] . to those allies who wonder what kind of a friend america will be, look no further than the heroes who wear our uniform. our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust, and meaningful engagement with the world. it is american leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies all across the globe.
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we strongly support nato, an alliance forged through the bonds of two world wars that dethroned fascism and the cold war, and defeated communism. . [ applause ] . but our partners must meet their financial obligations, and now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that. in fact i can tell you the money is pouring in. very nice. . [ applause ] . >> we expect our partners, whether in nato, the middle east, or the pacific, to find a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military
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operations and pay their fair share of the cost. have to do that. we will respect historic institutions. but we will respect the foreign rights of all nations. and they have to respect our rights as a nation also. . [ applause ] . free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people. and america respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. my job is not to represent the world. my job is to represent the united states of america. . [ cheers and applause ] .
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but we know that america is better off when there is less conflict, not more. we must learn from the mistakes of the past. we have seen the war and the destruction that have ravaged and raged throughout the world, all across the world. the only long term solution for these humanitarian disasters in many cases is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long, long process of rebuilding. . [ applause ] . america is willing to find new friends and forge new partnerships where shared interests align. we want harmony and stability, not war and conflict. we want peace wherever peace can be found. america is friend today with former enemies. some of our closest allies,
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decades ago, fought on the opposite side of these terrible, terrible wars. this history should give us all faith in the possibilities for a better world. hopefully the 250th year for america will see a world that is more peaceful, more just, and more free. on our 100th anniversary, in 1876, citizens from across our nation to philadelphia to celebrate america's centennial. at that celebration, the country's builders and artists and inventors showed off their wonderful creations. alexander graham bell displayed his telephone for the first time. remington unveiled the first typewriter. an early attempt was made at electric light. thomas edison showed an automatic telegraph and an electric pen. imagine the wonders our country
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could know in america's 250th year. . [ applause ] . think of the marvels we could achieve if we could simply set free the dreams of our people. cures for the illnesses that playing us are not too much to hope. footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream. millions lifted from welfare to work is not too much to expect. and streets where mothers are safe from fear, schools were children learn in peace, and jobs were americans prosper and grow, are not too much to ask. . [ applause ] .
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when we have all of this, we will have made america greater than ever before for all americans. this is our vision. this is our mission. but we can only get there together. we are one people with one destiny. we all bleed the same blood. we all salute the same great american flag. and we all are made by the same god. . [ applause ] . when we fulfill this vision, when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when
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this new chapter of american greatness began. the time for small thinking is over. the time for trivial fights is behind us. we just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts, the bravery to express the hopes of our souls, and the confidence to turn those hopes and those dreams into action. from now on, america will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears. inspired by the future, not bound by failures of the past. and guided by a vision, not blinded by our doubts. i am asking all citizens to embrace this renewal of the american spirit. i am asking all members of congress to join me in dreaming big and bold and daring things
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for our country. i am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment, believe in yourselves, believe in your future, and believe once more in america. thank you, god bless you, and god bless the united states. . [ cheers and applause ] . president trump wrapping up his speech to a joint session of congress, exactly one hour in length, interrupted many times by applause. the president hitting many of the notes we heard certainly during the campaign and the early part of his administration. the notion of america first, trade deals that he thinks gave america a bad deal. he talked about obamacare, nato, chicago violence. many of the same notes. but, chuck todd, the tone was different. >> you could make an argument it
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was almost the same -- substantively the same speech he's been giving, but strikingly different tone. you can't help but wonder tonight if this was the tone he struck at the inaugural speech, if the tone he's used tonight, in talking to members of congress, the other side of the political aisle, had been what he used for the last 30 days, you wouldn't be in a position where they need a tonal reset. i think that was the goal tonight. look, we have not seen him deliver a speech like this before, maybe tonally, other than the election night speech, which was sort of quick in the moment. this was much different from that convention speech, much different from the inaugural. same agenda. the question is by selling it in a softer way, which is still in many ways a controversial agenda to some people, does it win over some converts in the middle? i think that's going to be something to see. >> let's check in with our partners from election night,
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savannah guthrie in new york. >> i think we both are agreeing with chuck here, in terms of his delivery, in terms of style, in terms of tone, this was a trump we haven't seen on those other two big set piece nights, the republican convention and in the inaugural speech. this was a trump who felt like he was finding his voice in the sense that here was a scripted thing, yes, he was on teleprompter, yes, it was a prepared speech, but he ad libbed, he clearly felt loose and conversational and a genuine moment inside the hall when he introduced the widow of navy special officer ryan owens. in terms of emotion, that clearly was the high point. and he handled that very well. >> absolutely. and you have to consider that this was the best speech of his political career, his short political career. this was the same sort of confused agenda that was part
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ban on fnon fantasy, part berni sanders ideology, and part pure trumpism. but if you are a trump backer or trump believer, even a reluctant republican, you were very comforted by what he did in the hall heavy went an hour and eight minutes without attacking the media or reminding everyone of the size of his victory. it felt like an intervention had taken place in the white house, maybe one the president himself participated in. i understand they're trying to create new feedback for this president. he sees the praise, he sees the positive reaction to this new, more unifying tone and he adopts it. >> you had a lot of soaring rhetoric and big, big promises, including, quoting from the prepared text, every problem can be solved. lester? >> tom brokaw, he also appealed across the aisle for the first time to work on things. you've seen a lot of administrations. there's always a learning curve here. watching that different tone. to see a president now who recognizes that the governing part has begun, you can only go so far with the executive
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orders. >> well, we've been waiting for the pivot since august, remember? the pivot to being presidential. tonight this is easily the most presidential he's been. fact checkers will be very busy for the next 24 hours or so, taking a look at some of the claims he made. for example, the 20 million people on obamacare are pretty happy with the health care they're getting right now, that's the focus of a lot of those protests. he talked about crime among immigrants. there's a lot of other crime in immigrants that doesn't involve immigrants, including shooting crimes. we have had mass murders that don't involve immigrants and don't involve islamic terrorists. no one is condemning gun violence in the country, only when it involves an immigrant of some kind. he's saying i want to be inclusive but he singles them out. then when he talks about immigrants taking jobs away from americans, the fact is, i've been out in those states. they're taking jobs that americans don't want to do anymore, in food processing
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plants, dairy farms in northern wisconsin, construction jobs. it doesn't mean we don't have an immigrant problem, we do, but at the same time, we can do it and be accurate about it. >> andrea mitchell, your thoughts. >> first of all, the high point of course emotionally was karen owens, the wife, and the importance of that politically is bill owens, the navy s.e.a.l.'s father, had refused to meet with donald trump at dover when the remains were returned in that dignified ceremony, and he had criticized the yemen raid and the process that went into it. there's been criticism, we talked to senator reed on the hill, ranking democrat, john mccain has been critical, called it unsuccessful. tonight he said he talked to general mattis who called it a highly successful raid, which contradicts our own reporting. >> let's listen for a second.
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>> great to see you. >> wonderful comments. >> were you surprised by his tone? >> i will say this. we had heard from the members of the administration before that the president would deliver an optimistic or aspirational speech, as opposed to his inaugural address which many critics found to be anything but. six weeks ago he was throwing verbal grenades to members of congress. tonight he was offering a little bit of an olive branch, a little bit of steve bannon with america first, and a little chief of staff reince priebus, when you heard about working with congress. he said the speech would be different, it was a full throated condemnation of hate crimes, something he has come under fire for in the past for not speaking strongly on enough. >> and anti-semitism. >> his staff said something to
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us as we were leaving today, lester and i, from the white house today. they didn't want one take away to be a phrase like "american carnage." it's almost as if they went through the speech and said, okay, is there any two- or three-word phrase that could make it feel negative or not. i think they did purge it. >> islamic nations, which they inserted for the first time, we're willing to work with islamic nations. >> he did say radical islamic terrorism despite the objections of his own national security adviser. >> we are going to take a short break. when we come back, we're going to go to kentucky for the democratic response to p
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united states of america. . >> president trump a short while ago in a speech to a joint session of congress, part of an america first theme he continued tonight. andrea mitchell, how will that part be received overseas? >> that part of it, not so well. that was the steve bannon part of the speech. if there was a split personality here, that was the more aggressive nationalist part. he's not attacking congress, he wants to work together, that's going to be reassuring. the tone, the presidential demeanor, with those exceptions, the substance, as chuck was saying, is not that different, but it certainly was cloaked in a much more uplifting tone. >> we'll be getting the democratic response in just a moment here. chuck, pick up on some of the policy things. you picked up something in the language regarding obamacare. >> i'll tell you, obamacare, he
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was talking about, for instance, preexisting conditions. he said, you know, they will have access to insurance. that didn't mean every insurance policy will be covering folks with preexisting conditions. you can tell here the house republicans have won the rhetorical argument, for now, on what he said on health care, because today everything he said, he created all of this wiggle room that is very helpful to basically tom price, who is currently at hhs, former house republican, the direction that house republicans want to go. i can tell you it's not where senate republicans want to go. >> we'll go now to the president response to trump's address being delivered by the democratic former governor of kentucky, steve bashear, a big supporter of obamacare. he's coming to us from a diner in lexington, kentucky. >> i'm steve bashear. i was governor of kentucky from 2007 to 2015. now i'm a private citizen.
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i'm here in lexington, kentucky, some 400 miles from washington, at a diner with some neighbors. democrats and republicans, where we just watched the president's address. i'm a proud democrat. but first and foremost, i'm a proud republican and democrat and mostly american. and like many of you, i am worried about the future of this nation. look, i grew up in kentucky, in a small town called dawson springs. my dad and granddad were baptist prepa preachers. my family owned a funeral home. my wife jane and i have been married almost 50 years. i became governor at the start of of the global recession. and after eight years, we left things a lot better than we found them. by being fiscally responsible, i even cut my own pay, we balanced our budget and turned deficits into surpluses without raising taxes.
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we cut our unemployment rate in half. we made huge gains in high school graduation rates. and we found health coverage for over a half a million kentuckians. we did that through trust and mutual respect. i listened. and i built partnerships with business leaders and with republicans in our legislature. we put people first and politics second. the america i love allowed a small town preacher's kid to be elected governor. and it taught me to embrace people who are different from me, not vilify them. the america i love has always been about looking forward, not backward, about working together to find solutions, regardless of party, instead of allowing our differences to divide us and hold us back. and we democrats are committed to creating the opportunity for every american to succeed, by
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growing our economy with good paying jobs, educating and training our people to fill those jobs, giving our businesses the freedom to innovate, keeping our country safe, and providing health care that families can afford and rely on. mr. president, as a candidate, you promised to be a champion for families struggling to make ends meet. and i hope you live up to that pom. but one of your very first executive orders makes it harder for those families to even afford a mortgage. then you started rolling back rules that provide oversight of the financial industry and safeguard us against another national economic meltdown. and you picked a cabinet of billionaires and wall street insiders who want to eviscerate the protections that most americans count on and that help level the playing field. that's not being our champion.
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that's being wall street's champion. and even more troubling, you and your republican allies in congress seem determined to rip affordable health insurance from millions of americans who most need it. does the affordable care act need some repair? sure it does. but so far, every republican idea to replace the affordable care act would reduce the number of americans covered, despite your promises to the contrary. mr. president, folks here in kentucky expect you to keep your word, because this isn't a game. it's life and death for people. these ideas promise access to care but deny the importance of making care affordable and effective. they would charge families more for fewer benefits and put the insurance companies back in control.
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behind these ideas is the belief that folks at the lower end of the economic ladder just don't deserve health care, that it's somehow their fault that their employer doesn't offer insurance or that they can't afford to buy expensive health plans. but just who are these 22 million americans, including 500,000 people right here in kentucky who now have health care that didn't have it before? look, they're not aliens from some distant planet. they're our friends and our neighbors. we sit in the bleachers with them on friday night. we worship in the pews with them on sunday morning. they're farmers, restaurant workers, part-time teachers, nurses aides, construction workers, and entrepreneurs working at high tech startups. and before the affordable care act, they woke up every morning and went to work just hoping and
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praying they wouldn't get sick, because they knew that they were just one bad diagnosis away from bankruptcy. you know, in 2010, this country made a commitment that every american deserved health care they could afford and rely on. and we democrats are going to do everything in our power to keep president trump and the republican congress from reneging on that commitment. but we're going to need your help, by speaking out. another commitment now being tested is to our national security. look, make no mistake. i'm a military veteran myself. and i know that protecting america is a president's highest duty. yet president trump is ignoring serious threats to our national security from russia, who is not our friend, while alienating our allies who fought with us side
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by side and are our friends in a dangerous world. his approach makes us less safe and should worry every freedom-loving american. instead, president trump has all but declared war on refugees and immigrants. look, the president can and should involuntaenforce our imm laws. but we can protect america without abandoning our principles and our moral obligation to help those fleeing war and terror. without tearing families apart and without needlessly jeopardizing our military men and women fighting overseas. you know, another republican president, ronald reagan, once said in america, our origins matter less than our destination. and that is what democracy is all about. president trump also needs to understand that people may
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disagree with him from time to time. but that doesn't make them his enemies. when the president attacks the loyalty and credibility of our intelligence agencies, the court system, the military, the free press, individual americans, simply because he doesn't like what they say, he's eroding our democracy. and that's reckless. real leaders don't spread derision and division. real leaders strengthen. they unify. they partner. and they offer real solutions instead of ultimatums and blame. look, i may be old fashioned, but i still believe that dignity, compassion, honesty, and accountability are basic american values. and as a democrat, i believe that if you work hard, you deserve the opportunity to realize the american dream, regardless of whether you're a
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coal miner in kentucky, a teacher in rhode island, an auto worker in detroit, or a software engineer in san antonio. our political system is broken. it's broken because too many of our leaders think it's all about them. they need to remember that they work for us, and helping us is their work. kentucky made real progress while i was governor because we were motivated by one thing, helping families. democrats are trying to bring that same focus back to washington, dc. americans are a diverse people. and we may disagree on a lot of things. but we've always come together when we remember that we are one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. thank you. .
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from a diner in kentucky, the democratic response to the president's speech from former kentucky governor steve beshear. chuck todd, let's talk about the message deputies are trying to send there. >> they're trying to speak to a part of america that they got swamped in, older white rural americans. there aren't any current democrats that are ready to give that speech, they had to go to a former office holder, i think he was trying to speak to that voter that democrats lost in michigan, ohio in particular. >> nicole wallace, you said you thought this was the political speech of his short political career, donald trump tonight. but we have seen time and time again where he can step on his own good news very quickly with one tweet. >> that's right. >> so what do you expect tomorrow? >> listen, tomorrow?

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