Washington: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday (local time) called for bipartisanship in American politics in a bid to ease tension between Democrats and Republicans following the hostility that led to the longest government shutdown in history.
During his annual State of the Union speech in the House Chamber, Trump said, “Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one nation. The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.”
Earlier scheduled for January 29, Trump’s State of the Union address was postponed by the House of Representatives over the government shutdown last month.
Trump had demanded that the House, controlled by the Democrats, should sanction USD 5.7 billion for the proposed wall in the southern border with Mexico in exchange for his signature on a bill funding federal agencies.
His refusal to sign the bill unless the House sanctioned the funds resulted in the 35-day-long shutdown, the longest in US history.
Trump said that both parties have campaigned on the same core promises that focus on jobs, fair trade, infrastructure, cheaper healthcare and an immigration policy that keeps America’s interests first.
“There is a new opportunity in American politics if only we have the courage together to seize it.
Victory is not winning for our party, victory is winning for our country. We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good,” he said.
His words drew applause from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The president asserted that the country’s state of the union is strong. “Members of Congress, the state of our union is strong,” Trump said.
Trump came down heavily on the numerous “ridiculous partisan investigations” that have hounded him and his party and appealed for an end to the “war and investigation”.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way. We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad,” Trump said.
He also paid tribute to World War II veterans and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a member of the Apollo 2 mission and the second man to step on the moon, with the two historic events set for their 75th and 50th anniversary respectively this year.