President Trump delivered the first State of the Union Address of his presidency on Tuesday evening, touting economic growth, tax reform, and deregulation as reasons to be optimistic about his agenda and America’s future.
The theme of the speech was “A New American Moment,” as the president declared that “the era of economic surrender is over.”
The speech came amid a backdrop of heavy political polarization, a Russia investigation, and an immigration debate in Congress, as Democrats mostly stayed in their seats the entire night and gave little applause.
And after the speech, the ACLU expressed its problems with Trump’s address, in comments that grabbed headlines.
The left-wing civil rights group was upset that the president used the word “America.”
Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s national political director, issued the following statement:
“Tonight, President Trump said the word ‘America’ more than 80 times in his speech. Yet, after a divisive first year, we hear and feel how exclusionary that ‘America’ is, with policies that have harmed so many vulnerable American communities. The ACLU stands ready to protect these communities, both in the courts and at the polls.
In particular, the immigration plan put forth by Trump would hold Dreamers hostage to his demands for a harmful border wall and an even larger mass deportation force. We are at this crossroads because of the President’s deeply destructive ideas fomented by his nativist allies and divisive rhetoric. We will continue to stand up for these young immigrants and ensure they continue to contribute to our country. We cannot let America’s Dreamers be deported.”
The ACLU has been an outspoken critic against President Trump, specifically on immigration and the travel ban.
On Tuesday night, Trump laid out the pillars of his plan, which includes a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young illegal immigrants, a border wall, and ending the diversity visa lottery and chain migration.
“These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system,” Trump said. “For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen.”