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State of the Union dominated by border wall and second Trump-Kim summit

By David Mercer, news reporter

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi rolled her eyes at Mr Trump

(SKY NEWS) — Donald Trump has revealed he will meet Kim Jong Un in Vietnam for their second nuclear summit on 27 and 28 February.

Delivering his State of the Union speech – which was delayed because of a partial government shutdown – the US president claimed he had helped avert a “major war” between the two countries, saving millions of lives in the process.

Although Mr Trump cautioned that more work needed to be done to achieve peace with the isolated state, he pointed to Pyongyang’s suspension of nuclear testing, accompanied by no new missile launches for 15 months, as proof of progress.

The two men held their first historic summit in Singapore last June – and the president described his relationship with Kim Jong Un as a “good one”.

Addressing Democrats and Republicans in Congress, he also insisted a wall will be built on the US-Mexico border to tackle the “urgent national crisis” of illegal immigration.

However, Mr Trump did not outline a new plan or strategy for convincing politicians to approve the necessary funding – and instead urged all sides to “work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe”.

The president has persistently threatened to declare a national emergency if Congress refuses to give him the billions of dollars he is demanding, but notably, this was not mentioned in the speech.

Looming over Mr Trump’s address was a fast-approaching deadline to fund the government by 15 February in order to avoid another shutdown.

The president also warned the “economic miracle” in the US could be hampered by “ridiculous partisan investigations” – a pointed reference to the Mueller investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Mr Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Mr Trump described America as “the hottest economy anywhere in the world”, with job growth recorded for 100 consecutive months.

Afghanistan was also mentioned in his address, and Mr Trump said his administration has been holding “constructive talks” with several parties, including the Taliban.

The president said further progress in these negotiations could result in the US reducing troops in the country.

Elsewhere in the State of the Union, Mr Trump said he would:

:: Seek to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the US within 10 years

:: Aim to pass laws to ban late-term abortions “of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb”

:: Ask Congress for $500m (£386m) funding for research into childhood cancer over the next 10 years

:: Suggest a multi-nation arms control agreement could be negotiated to replace the one with Russia he is exiting

Watched by First Lady Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka, Mr Trump’s speech was interrupted several times by chants of “USA” from his supporters.

Several female Democratic politicians in the Capitol building wore white for the president’s address – the colour favoured by early 20th-century suffragettes.

And in a rare outbreak of bipartisanship, Mr Trump received a standing ovation from Democratic politicians when he said there were more women in the workforce and in Congress than ever before.

The president exclaimed: “You weren’t supposed to do that!”

Mr Trump’s address amounted to the opening arguments for his re-election campaign – but opinion polls indicate he has work to do, with his approval rating falling to 34% in the shutdown’s immediate aftermath.

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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