TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - In his maiden speech for national unity on Tuesday evening, the US president stood on the podium before Republican and Democratic lawmakers to elaborate on his policies over the past year.
Trump began the speech by congratulating members of his administration for their efforts to “make American great again for all Americans,” winning a standing ovation from Republicans while Democrats remained in their seats.
Trump reiterated previous accusations regarding “fundamental flaws” in the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, once again denouncing the deal as “terrible.”
This is while Iran has vehemently rejected the possibility of renegotiation, warning that any hostile action against the accord will jeopardize regional and global peace and security.
Trump also struck a dire note of warning about North Korea, saying the country's "reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland."
He said Washington was applying "maximum pressure" to prevent any such attack.
"Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation," Trump said. "I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position."
Trump's warning about North Korea follows CIA Director Mike Pompeo's assessment Monday that Pyongyang will be capable of delivering a nuclear-tipped missile to the US mainland in "a handful of months."
As for the tax cuts, Trump said the government had slashed business tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, causing average family income to increase by more than 4,000 dollars.
The president said his agenda was working and the economy was growing because of the the tax bill passed by Congress in December.
“This is our new American moment,” Trump said. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.”
On immigration, the US president announced that the House and Senate would be voting on an immigration reform package “over the next few weeks.”
“In recent months, my administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise,” he said.
Trump proposed a plan for immigration based on four pillars, which he claimed “represent a down-the-middle compromise and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.”
The president called on Congress to advance legislation to fund his proposed wall on the Mexican border and cut back on legal immigration by overhauling long-standing programs.
The deal would also allow nearly 2 million “Dreamers” illegally brought to the country as children a path to citizenship.
“Americans love their country. And they deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return,” the president said.
Elsewhere in his speech, Trump also claimed full credit for the elimination of the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
“Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.”
He also vowed to revamp the country’s decrepit nuclear arsenal amid his war of words with North Korea.
“As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression,” he said.
“Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly.”
The Pentagon is expected to release the results of its months-long nuclear posture review ordered by the president.
Trump’s call for rebuilding the US nuclear arsenal came as he reiterated his desire to end the caps on military spending.
“Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy and our values,” he said.
“In confronting these horrible dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense. For this reason, I am asking Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military,” he added.
Trump also said he had signed a new executive order to keep the notorious Guantánamo prison open.
"I just signed, prior to walking in, an order directing (Defense) Secretary (James) Mattis ... to re-examine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantánamo Bay," he said.
The address before Congress comes amid a partisan divide that has worsened since Trump’s inauguration. Following a three-day government shutdown earlier this month, Congress faces a February 8 deadline to pass legislation to fund the government.
Source: Press TV