FULL TEXT: Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address – National


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U.S. President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union speech on Jan. 30, 2017.

Main subjects included immigration, army help, and the state of North Korea.

Learn the complete transcript of the speech under.

This transcription was offered by the White Home and confirmed by World Information.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Girl of the US, and my fellow Individuals:

Lower than 1 yr has handed since I first stood at this podium, on this majestic chamber, to talk on behalf of the American Individuals — and to handle their considerations, their hopes, and their goals.  That night time, our new Administration had already taken swift motion.  A brand new tide of optimism was already sweeping throughout our land.

Every day since, we’ve got gone ahead with a transparent imaginative and prescient and a righteous mission — to make America nice once more for all Individuals.

Over the past yr, we’ve got made unimaginable progress and achieved extraordinary success.  We now have confronted challenges we anticipated, and others we might by no means have imagined.  We now have shared within the heights of victory and the pains of hardship.  We endured floods and fires and storms.  However by means of all of it, we’ve got seen the great thing about America’s soul, and the metal in America’s backbone.

Every check has cast new American heroes to remind us who we’re, and present us what we may be.

We noticed the volunteers of the “Cajun Navy,” racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save lots of individuals within the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

We noticed strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.

We heard tales of Individuals like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who’s right here tonight within the gallery with Melania.  Ashlee was aboard one of many first helicopters on the scene in Houston throughout Hurricane Harvey.  By 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved reside energy traces and deep water, to assist save greater than 40 lives.  Thanks, Ashlee.

We heard about Individuals like firefighter David Dahlberg.  He’s right here with us too.  David confronted down partitions of flame to rescue virtually 60 kids trapped at a California summer season camp threatened by wildfires.

To everybody nonetheless recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and in all places else — we’re with you, we love you, and we’ll pull by means of collectively.

Some trials over the previous yr touched this chamber very personally.  With us tonight is likely one of the hardest individuals ever to serve on this Home — a man who took a bullet, virtually died, and was again to work three and a half months later:  the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.

I believe they such as you Steve.

We’re extremely grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the medical doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others on this room.

Within the aftermath of that horrible taking pictures, we got here collectively, not as Republicans or Democrats, however as representatives of the individuals.  However it isn’t sufficient to come back collectively solely in instances of tragedy.  Tonight, I name upon all of us to put aside our variations, to hunt out frequent floor, and to summon the unity we have to ship for the individuals, that is actually the important thing, the individuals we had been elected to serve.

Over the past yr, the world has seen what we at all times knew:  that no individuals on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or decided as Individuals.  If there’s a mountain, we climb it.  If there’s a frontier, we cross it.  If there’s a problem, we tame it.  If there is a chance, we seize it.

So allow us to start tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is robust as a result of our persons are sturdy.

And collectively, we’re constructing a protected, sturdy, and proud America.

Because the election, we’ve got created 2.four million new jobs, together with 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.  After years of wage stagnation, we’re lastly seeing rising wages.

Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. That is one thing I’m very happy with. African-American unemployment stands on the lowest charge ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has additionally reached the bottom ranges in historical past.

Small enterprise confidence is at an all-time excessive.  The inventory market has smashed one report after one other, gaining $eight trillion in worth.  nice information for Individuals’ 401okay, retirement, pension, and school financial savings accounts have gone by means of the roof.

And simply as I promised the American individuals from this podium 11 months in the past, we enacted the largest tax cuts and reforms in American historical past.

Our huge tax cuts present great reduction for the center class and small companies.

To decrease tax charges for hardworking Individuals, we almost doubled the usual deduction for everybody.  Now, the primary $24,000 earned by a married couple is totally tax-free.  We additionally doubled the kid tax credit score.

A typical household of 4 making $75,000 will see their tax invoice decreased by $2,000 — slashing their tax invoice in half.

This April would be the final time you ever file beneath the outdated damaged system — and tens of millions of Individuals may have extra take-home pay beginning subsequent month.

We eradicated an particularly merciless tax that fell totally on Individuals making lower than $50,000 a yr — forcing them to pay great penalties just because they may not afford government-ordered well being plans.  We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the person mandate is now gone.

We slashed the enterprise tax charge from 35 p.c all the best way all the way down to 21 p.c, so American firms can compete and win towards anybody on the planet.  These modifications alone are estimated to extend common household earnings by greater than $four,000.

Small companies have additionally acquired an enormous tax lower, and may now deduct 20 p.c of their enterprise earnings.

Right here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small enterprise in Ohio.  They’ve simply completed the most effective yr of their 20-year historical past.  Due to tax reform, they’re handing out raises, hiring an extra 14 individuals, and increasing into the constructing subsequent door.

One among Staub’s staff, Corey Adams, can also be with us tonight.  Corey is an all-American employee.  He supported himself by means of highschool, misplaced his job through the 2008 recession, and was later employed by Staub, the place he skilled to grow to be a welder.  Like many hardworking Individuals, Corey plans to take a position his tax lower elevate into his new house and his two daughters’ training.  Corey, please stand.And he’s an awesome welder. I used to be advised that by the person who runs the corporate, so nice job Corey.

Since we handed tax cuts, roughly three million staff have already gotten tax lower bonuses — a lot of them 1000’s of per employee and it’s getting extra each month, each week.  Apple has simply introduced it plans to take a position a complete of $350 billion in America, and rent one other 20,000 staff.

And just a bit whereas in the past Exxon Mobil introduced a 50 Billion greenback funding within the U.S.

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump touted “huge” tax cuts throughout his State of the Union tackle on Tuesday, saying it was “nice information” for Individuals and they might have extra take house pay beginning subsequent month.

This actually is our new American second.  There has by no means been a greater time to start out residing the American Dream.

So to each citizen watching at house tonight — regardless of the place you might have been, or the place you come from, that is your time.  In case you work exhausting, for those who consider in your self, for those who consider in America, then you may dream something, you may be something, and collectively, we are able to obtain something.

Tonight, I wish to speak about what sort of future we’re going to have, and what sort of Nation we’re going to be.  All of us, collectively, as one crew, one individuals, and one American household.

All of us share the identical house, the identical coronary heart, the identical future, and the identical nice American flag.

Collectively, we’re rediscovering the American approach.

In America, we all know that religion and household, not authorities and forms, are the middle of the American life.  The motto is “in God we belief.”

And we have fun our police, our army, and our wonderful veterans as heroes who deserve our complete and unwavering help.

Right here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who observed that veterans’ graves weren’t marked with flags on Veterans Day.  He determined to alter that, and began a motion that has now positioned 40,000 flags on the graves of our nice heroes.  Preston:  a job properly carried out.

Younger patriots like Preston train all of us about our civic obligation as Individuals. And I met Preston a short time in the past, thanks very a lot Preston.

Preston’s reverence for many who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our palms on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the nationwide anthem.

Individuals love their nation.  And so they deserve a Authorities that exhibits them the identical love and loyalty in return.

For the final yr we’ve got sought to revive the bonds of belief between our residents and their Authorities.

Working with the Senate, we’re appointing judges who will interpret the Structure as written, together with an awesome new Supreme Court docket Justice, and extra circuit court docket judges than any new administration within the historical past of our nation.

We’re completely defending our Second Modification, and have taken historic actions to guard spiritual liberty.

And we’re serving our courageous veterans, together with giving our veterans alternative of their healthcare choices.  Final yr, the Congress handed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act.  Since its passage, my Administration has already eliminated greater than 1,500 VA staff who failed to offer our veterans the care they deserve — and we’re hiring gifted individuals who love our vets as a lot as we do.

I can’t cease till our veterans are correctly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very starting of this nice journey.

All Individuals deserve accountability and respect — and that’s what we’re giving our heroes.  So tonight, I name on the Congress to empower each Cupboard Secretary with the authority to reward good staff — and to take away Federal staff who undermine the general public belief or fail the American individuals.

In our drive to make Washington accountable, we’ve got eradicated extra laws in our first yr than any administration in historical past.

We now have ended the warfare on American Power — and we’ve got ended the warfare on clear coal.  We are actually an exporter of power to the world.

In Detroit, I halted Authorities mandates that crippled America’s stunning autoworkers — so we are able to get the Motor Metropolis revving its engines as soon as once more.

Many automobile firms are actually constructing and increasing vegetation in the US — one thing we’ve got not seen for many years.    Chrysler is transferring a significant plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama.  Very Quickly, vegetation shall be opening up all around the nation.  That is all information Individuals are unaccustomed to listening to — for a few years, firms and jobs had been solely leaving us.  However now they’re roaring again, they’er coming again they wish to be in the US.

Thrilling progress is going on each single day.

To hurry entry to breakthrough cures and inexpensive generic medicine, final yr the FDA accredited extra new and generic medicine and medical units than ever earlier than in our historical past.

We additionally consider that sufferers with terminal situations ought to have entry to experimental therapies that would probably save their lives.

People who find themselves terminally unwell mustn’t should go from nation to nation to hunt a treatment — I wish to give them an opportunity proper right here at house.  It’s time for the Congress to offer these fantastic, unimaginable Individuals the “proper to strive.”

One among my biggest priorities is to scale back the value of prescribed drugs.  In lots of different nations, these medicine value far lower than what we pay in the US.  It’s very very unfair. That’s the reason I’ve directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of excessive drug costs certainly one of our high priorities.  Costs will come down considerably. Watch.

America has additionally lastly turned the web page on many years of unfair commerce offers that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our firms, our jobs, and our Nation’s wealth.

The period of financial give up is over.

To any extent further, we anticipate buying and selling relationships to be honest and to be reciprocal.

WATCH: Throughout his State of the Union tackle, U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned he expects buying and selling relationships to be “honest and reciprocal.” 

We’ll work to repair unhealthy commerce offers and negotiate new ones. And they are going to be honest.

And we’ll shield American staff and American mental property, by means of sturdy enforcement of our commerce guidelines.

As we rebuild our industries, additionally it is time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

America is a nation of builders.  We constructed the Empire State Constructing in simply 1 yr – isn’t it a shame that it may possibly now take 10 years simply to get a minor allow accredited for the constructing of a easy street?

I’m asking each events to come back collectively to offer us the protected, quick, dependable, and trendy infrastructure our economic system wants and our individuals deserve.

Tonight, I’m calling on the Congress to supply a invoice that generates a minimum of $1.5 trillion for the brand new infrastructure funding we want.

Each Federal greenback needs to be leveraged by partnering with State and native governments and, the place acceptable, tapping into personal sector funding — to completely repair the infrastructure deficit.

Any invoice should additionally streamline the allowing and approval course of — getting it all the way down to not more than two years, and even perhaps one.

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned he needs each events to come back collectively and produce a invoice that generates a minimum of $1.5 trillion for infrastructure and lowering allow course of to 2 years.

Collectively, we are able to reclaim our constructing heritage.  We’ll construct gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways throughout our land.  And we’ll do it with American coronary heart, American palms, and American grit.

We would like each American to know the dignity of a tough day’s work.  We would like each little one to be protected of their house at night time.  And we wish each citizen to be happy with this land that we love.

We will raise our residents from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.

As tax cuts create new jobs, allow us to put money into workforce growth and job coaching.  Allow us to open nice vocational colleges so our future staff can be taught a craft and notice their full potential.  And allow us to help working households by supporting paid household depart.

As America regains its energy, this chance should be prolonged to all residents.  That’s the reason this yr we’ll embark on reforming our prisons to assist former inmates who’ve served their time get a second probability at life.

Struggling communities, particularly immigrant communities, may even be helped by immigration insurance policies that target the most effective pursuits of American staff and American households.

For many years, open borders have allowed medicine and gangs to pour into our most susceptible communities.  They’ve allowed tens of millions of low-wage staff to compete for jobs and wages towards the poorest Individuals.  Most tragically, they’ve triggered the lack of many harmless lives.

Right here tonight are two fathers and two moms:  Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens.  Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — had been shut mates on Lengthy Island.  However in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them got here house.  These two treasured ladies had been brutally murdered whereas strolling collectively of their hometown.  Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders.  Many of those gang members took benefit of obtrusive loopholes in our legal guidelines to enter the nation as unaccompanied alien minors  – and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s highschool.

WATCH: Throughout his State of the Union tackle, U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned immigration and requested for assist in closing loopholes that allowed harmful criminals into the U.S. 

Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert:  Tonight, everybody on this chamber is praying for you.  Everybody in America is grieving for you.  I would like you to know 320 million hearts are actually breaking for you. We love you. We can’t think about the depth of your sorrow, however we are able to be sure that different households by no means should endure this ache.

Tonight, I’m calling on the Congress to lastly shut the lethal loopholes which have allowed MS-13, and different criminals, to interrupt into our nation.  We now have proposed new laws that can repair our immigration legal guidelines, and help our ICE and Border Patrol Brokers, in order that this can’t ever occur once more.

The US is a compassionate nation.  We’re proud that we do greater than some other nation to assist the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all around the world.  However as President of the US, my highest loyalty, my biggest compassion, and my fixed concern is for America’s kids, America’s struggling staff, and America’s forgotten communities.  I would like our youth to develop as much as obtain nice issues.  I would like our poor to have their probability to rise.

So tonight, I’m extending an open hand to work with members of each events — Democrats and Republicans — to guard our residents of each background, shade, faith, and creed.  My obligation, and the sacred obligation of each elected official on this chamber, is to defend Individuals — to guard their security, their households, their communities, and their proper to the American Dream.  As a result of Individuals are dreamers too.

Right here tonight is one chief within the effort to defend our nation:  Homeland Safety Investigations Particular Agent Celestino Martinez — he goes by CJ. So we’ll name you CJ.  CJ served 15 years within the Air Power earlier than turning into an ICE agent and spending the final 15 years preventing gang violence and getting harmful criminals off our streets.  At one level, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ’s homicide.  However he didn’t cave to threats or worry.  Final Could, he commanded an operation to trace down gang members on Lengthy Island.  His crew has arrested almost 400, together with greater than 220 from MS-13.

I requested CJ what’s the key and he mentioned we do it higher.

CJ:  Nice work.  Now allow us to get the Congress to ship you some reinforcements.

Over the subsequent few weeks, the Home and Senate shall be voting on an immigration reform package deal.

In latest months, my Administration has met extensively with each Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan strategy to immigration reform.  Based mostly on these discussions, we introduced the Congress with an in depth proposal that needs to be supported by each events as a good compromise — one the place no person will get all the pieces they need, however the place our nation will get the vital reforms it wants.

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump throughout his State of the Union tackle referred to as for immigration reform and laid out his plan together with the ending of catch and launch, the visa lottery and chain migration.

Listed here are the 4 pillars of our plan:

The primary pillar of our framework generously presents a path to citizenship for 1.eight million unlawful immigrants who had been introduced right here by their dad and mom at a younger age — that covers virtually thrice extra individuals than the earlier administration.  Below our plan, those that meet training and work necessities, and present good ethical character, will have the ability to grow to be full residents of the US.

The second pillar totally secures the border.  Which means constructing a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring extra heroes like CJ to maintain our communities protected.  Crucially, our plan closes the horrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our nation — and it lastly ends the harmful apply of “catch and launch.”

The third pillar ends the visa lottery — a program that randomly palms out inexperienced playing cards with none regard for talent, benefit, or the security of our individuals.  It’s time to start transferring in the direction of a merit-based immigration system — one which admits people who find themselves expert, who wish to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our nation.

The fourth and closing pillar protects the nuclear household by ending chain migration.  Below the present damaged system, a single immigrant can usher in nearly limitless numbers of distant kin.  Below our plan, we concentrate on the speedy household by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor kids.  This very important reform is important, not only for our economic system, however for our safety, and our future.

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump acquired boos and hissing when he mentioned beneath the present immigration plan immigrants might usher in “limitless numbers of distant kin” into the nation.

In latest weeks, two terrorist assaults in New York had been made doable by the visa lottery and chain migration.  Within the age of terrorism, these applications current dangers we are able to now not afford.

It’s time to reform these outdated immigration guidelines, and eventually carry our immigration system into the 21st century.

These 4 pillars symbolize a down-the-middle compromise, and one that can create a protected, trendy, and lawful immigration system.

For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to resolve this drawback.  This Congress may be the one which lastly makes it occur.

Most significantly, these 4 pillars will produce laws that fulfills my ironclad pledge to solely signal a invoice that places America first.  So allow us to come collectively, set politics apart, and eventually get the job carried out.

These reforms may even help our response to the horrible disaster of opioid and drug habit. By no means earlier than has it been as it’s now. It’s horrible, we’ve got to do one thing about it.

In 2016, we misplaced 64,000 Individuals to drug overdoses:  174 deaths per day.  Seven per hour.  We should get a lot more durable on drug sellers and pushers if we’re going to achieve stopping this scourge.

My Administration is dedicated to preventing the drug epidemic and serving to get therapy for these in want.  The wrestle shall be lengthy and tough — however, as Individuals at all times do, we’ll prevail.

As we’ve got seen tonight, essentially the most tough challenges carry out the most effective in America.

We see a vivid expression of this fact within the story of the Holets household of New Mexico.  Ryan Holets is 27 years outdated, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Division.  He’s right here tonight together with his spouse Rebecca.  Final yr, Ryan was on obligation when he noticed a pregnant, homeless lady getting ready to inject heroin.  When Ryan advised her she was going to hurt her unborn little one, she started to weep.  She advised him she didn’t know the place to show, however badly wished a protected house for her child.

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged police officer Ryan Holets who adopted the child of a homeless heroin addict in New Mexico throughout his State of the Union tackle, praising his motion.

In that second, Ryan mentioned he felt God communicate to him:  “You’ll do it — as a result of you may.”  He took out an image of his spouse and their 4 youngsters.  Then, he went house to inform his spouse Rebecca.  Right away, she agreed to undertake.  The Holets named their new daughter Hope.

Ryan and Rebecca:  You embody the goodness of our Nation.  Thanks Ryan and Rebecca.

As we rebuild America’s energy and confidence at house, we’re additionally restoring our energy and standing overseas.

World wide, we face rogue regimes, terrorist teams, and rivals like China and Russia that problem our pursuits, our economic system, and our values.  In confronting these horrible risks, we all know that weak spot is the surest path to battle, and unmatched energy is the surest technique of our protection.

Because of this, I’m asking the Congress to finish the harmful protection sequester and totally fund our nice army.

As a part of our protection, we should modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully by no means having to make use of it, however making it so sturdy and highly effective that it’s going to deter any acts of aggression.  Maybe sometime sooner or later there shall be a magical second when the nations of the world will get collectively to remove their nuclear weapons.  Sadly, we aren’t there but, sadly.

Final yr, I additionally pledged that we’d work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth.  One yr later, I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated virtually 100 per cent of the territory only recently held by these killers in Iraq and Syria.  However there’s way more work to be carried out.  We’ll proceed our combat till ISIS is defeated.

WATCH: Donald Trump referred to as for a restoration to funding of the army and its nuclear program to discourage any acts of aggression, as a part of his State of the Union tackle.

Military Employees Sergeant Justin Peck is right here tonight.  Close to Raqqa final November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, had been on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives in order that civilians might return to the town.

Clearing the second flooring of an important hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion.  Instantly, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped constructing and located Kenton in unhealthy form.  He utilized strain to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway.  He then carried out CPR for 20 straight minutes through the floor transport and maintained synthetic respiration by means of 2 hours of emergency surgical procedure.

Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin’s selfless love for a fellow warrior.  Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas.  Raqqa is liberated.  And Justin is carrying his new Bronze Star, with a “V” for “Valor.”  Employees Sergeant Peck:  All of America salutes you.

Terrorists who do issues like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil.  When doable, we annihilate them.  When vital, we should have the ability to detain and query them.  However we should be clear:  Terrorists usually are not merely criminals.  They’re illegal enemy combatants.  And when captured abroad, they need to be handled just like the terrorists they’re.

Up to now, we’ve got foolishly launched a whole bunch of harmful terrorists, solely to satisfy them once more on the battlefield — together with the ISIS chief, al-Baghdadi.

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump introduced throughout his State of the Union tackle Tuesday he had signed an government order to maintain Guantanamo Bay open.

So immediately, I’m maintaining one other promise.  I simply signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our army detention coverage and to maintain open the detention amenities at Guantánamo Bay.

I’m additionally asking the Congress to make sure that, within the combat towards ISIS and al-Qa’ida, we proceed to have all vital energy to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.

Our warriors in Afghanistan even have new guidelines of engagement.  Together with their heroic Afghan companions, our army is now not undermined by synthetic timelines, and we now not inform our enemies our plans.

Final month, I additionally took an motion endorsed unanimously by the Senate simply months earlier than:  I acknowledged Jerusalem because the capital of Israel.

Shortly afterwards, dozens of nations voted within the United Nations Normal Meeting towards America’s sovereign proper to make this recognition.  American taxpayers generously ship those self same nations billions of in support yearly.

That’s the reason, tonight, I’m asking the Congress to move laws to assist guarantee American foreign-assistance at all times serve American pursuits, and solely go to America’s mates.

As we strengthen friendships world wide, we’re additionally restoring readability about our adversaries.

When the individuals of Iran rose up towards the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I didn’t keep silent.  America stands with the individuals of Iran of their brave wrestle for freedom.

I’m asking the Congress to handle the basic flaws within the horrible Iran nuclear deal.

My Administration has additionally imposed robust sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.

However no regime has oppressed its personal residents extra completely or brutally than the merciless dictatorship in North Korea.

North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles might very quickly threaten our homeland.

We’re waging a marketing campaign of most strain to forestall that from taking place.

Previous expertise has taught us that complacency and concessions solely invite aggression and provocation.  I can’t repeat the errors of previous administrations that bought us into this harmful place.

We want solely take a look at the wicked character of the North Korean regime to know the character of the nuclear menace it might pose to America and our allies.

WATCH: Throughout his State of the Union tackle, U.S. President Donald Trump talked about coping with North Korea and introduced up the case of Otto Warmbier.


Otto Warmbier was a hardworking pupil on the College of Virginia.  And an awesome pupil he approach. On his technique to examine overseas in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea.  At its conclusion, this glorious younger man was arrested and charged with crimes towards the state.  After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of exhausting labor, earlier than returning him to America final June — horribly injured and on the verge of demise.  He handed away simply days after his return.

Otto’s Dad and mom, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight — together with Otto’s brother and sister, Austin and Greta.  You’re highly effective witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your energy evokes us all. Thanks very a lot. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s reminiscence with American resolve.

Lastly, we’re joined by yet one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime.  His identify is Mr. Ji Seong-ho.

In 1996, Seong-ho was a ravenous boy in North Korea.  Sooner or later, he tried to steal coal from a railroad automobile to barter for a couple of scraps of meals.  Within the course of, he handed out on the practice tracks, exhausted from starvation.  He awakened as a practice ran over his limbs.  He then endured a number of amputations with out something to boring the ache.  His brother and sister gave what little meals that they had to assist him get better and ate dust themselves — completely stunting their very own development.  Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after getting back from a short go to to China.  His tormentors wished to know if he had met any Christians.  He had — and he resolved to be free.

Seong-ho traveled 1000’s of miles on crutches throughout China and Southeast Asia to freedom.  Most of his household adopted.  His father was caught attempting to flee, and was tortured to demise.

Right now he lives in Seoul, the place he rescues different defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears essentially the most  – the reality.

Right now he has a brand new leg, however Seong-ho, I perceive you continue to hold these crutches as a reminder of how far you might have come.  Your nice sacrifice is an inspiration to us all. Thanks.

Seong-ho’s story is a testomony to the craving of each human soul to reside in freedom.

It was that very same craving for freedom that almost 250 years in the past gave delivery to a particular place referred to as America.  It was a small cluster of colonies caught between an awesome ocean and an enormous wilderness.  Nevertheless it was house to an unimaginable individuals with a revolutionary concept:  that they may rule themselves.  That they may chart their very own future.  And that, collectively, they may gentle up the world.

That’s what our nation has at all times been about.  That’s what Individuals have at all times stood for, at all times strived for, and at all times carried out.

Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom.  She stands tall and dignified among the many monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to guard her.

Monuments to Washington and Jefferson – and Lincoln and King.

Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga — to younger Individuals who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields past.  And others, who went down within the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia.

And freedom stands tall over yet one more monument:  this one.  This Capitol.  This residing monument to the American individuals.

We’re a individuals whose heroes reside not solely prior to now, however throughout us — defending hope, delight, and the American approach.

They work in each commerce.  They sacrifice to boost a household.  They look after our youngsters at house.  They defend our flag overseas.  They’re sturdy mothers and courageous youngsters.  They’re firefighters, cops, border brokers, medics, and Marines.


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