Things That Matter

What We Learned From President Trump’s State Of The Union Address

President Trump delivered his State of the Union address to a split Congress for the first time Tuesday night. Topics like border security, immigration, abortion and health care dominated his address. There was even calls for unity among both Democrats and Republicans as he outlined bipartisanship policies like criminal reform and infrastructure improvements. Yet during his 1 hour, 22 minute speech, one of the longest on record, President Trump used his address to blast Democrats and rev up his political base. Here are the biggest takeaways from the State of the Union.

The president will not back down on a border wall.

With just 10 days left to avoid yet another government shutdown, President Trump spoke adamantly about his mission to secure a wall along the U.S. southern border. “I will get it built,” Trump said. “Walls work, and walls save lives.” Yet most of his claims about immigration and border wall security were either greatly exaggerated or false all together. Illegal border crossings have only declined in the past two decades while reaching their lowest point back in 2017 since 1971. He also made claims about drugs “pouring” into the country due to ineffective borders yet the huge majority of drugs are seized at ports of entry, not along the open border.

Immigration continues to be a divisive issue in the country.

President Trump attempted to correlate illegal immigration and violent crime during his address but many in the Democratic side say this is just not true.

“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans,” Trump said during his address.

According to NPR, studies show that illegal immigration doesn’t increase the prevalence of violent crimes. Studies show that native-born residents are more likely to be convicted of a crime than were immigrants in the country lawfully or unlawfully.

The President also mentioned, “large, organized caravans” coming to the U.S. but failed to provide any information on the claims. In January, a new caravan of migrants from Central America was expected to come north but many now plan to remain in Mexico. This is large part thanks to policies put in place by the new Mexican government that will supply job opportunities while they wait to seek asylum.

President Trump took aim at New York’s landmark abortion law.

Just last month, lawmakers in New York passed a new law expanding abortion rights in the state on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The law would protect access to the procedure until 24 weeks of pregnancy in an effort to standardize abortion protections if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned. Trump made the call on Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit what he called “late-term abortion”. His remarks further intensify the controversial issue versus “pro-life” and “pro-choice” advocates. Abortion is expected to be an issue that Trump has said he plans to focus on during the 2020 election.

Women are getting all the headlines.

While President Trump spoke about the number of women benefiting in the economy, it was the number of women, particularity in the Democratic side, who grabbed the headlines.

“All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before …and exactly one century after the Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before,” Trump said.

Many Democratic congresswomen were wearing white as a sign of solidarity and in honor of the suffragists. But after Trump made his remarks about the great number of women elected to Congress, they began to cheer and applaud the historic significance.

“You weren’t supposed to do that,” Trump said jokingly. Cameras focused in on new high-profile additions to Congress on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) who gave high fives all around. It was one of the rare bipartisan moments throughout the entire address.

The address in many ways was a kick-off to the 2020 election.

As President Trump aspires to be a unifying political leader he will need to address more than just concerns of his own base. Issues like global warming and increasing antisemitism among minority groups were either not talked about at length or ignored all together during his address. The president was elected with less than a majority of the popular vote in 2016 and has yet to made a concerted effort to expand his base in the two years since taking office.

The 2018 midterm election showed cracks in his base starting to form as Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and now must work with a divided congress. President Trump may have used the State of the Union as an opportunity to broaden his base perhaps one last time before the campaign for the 2020 election begins. If he is to gain new supporters, it’s going to take a lot more than just speaking to his base.


READ: Latina Activist, Undocumented Immigrants Will Attend President Trump’s State Of The Union

Share this story by tapping that little share button below

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Congresswoman Norma Torres Is In A Twitter Feud With El Salvador’s President And Neither One Is Backing Down

Things That Matter

Congresswoman Norma Torres Is In A Twitter Feud With El Salvador’s President And Neither One Is Backing Down

Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) has been one of the most outspoken critics on the root causes of migration to the United States, calling out corruption and neglect from Central American nations.

The Guatemala-born Congresswoman said the issue stemmed from failing to address the root causes of immigration in the Northern Triangle. While she claimed that the Obama administration made strides in Central American intervention (years later, it has little to show for), she did address the many reasons why people from the region made the difficult decision to leave their countries. 

“The poverty we see here in our own communities, you know, in comparison to the poverty that has been caused by climate change issues, severe droughts in the region, the fact that there is no infrastructure for the indigenous populations,” Torres told NPR in 2019

She continues to lay blame on those same nations and she’s making some apparent enemies in the process, including El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele who has been engaged in a bit of a Twitter feud with the congresswoman.

The California congresswoman is feeling the heat from El Salvador’s president.

President Nayib Bukele and Democratic Rep. Norma Torres have been exchanging very undiplomatic barbs on Twitter for the last few weeks. And now, El Salvador’s president is urging voters in a California congressional district to vote out its U.S. representative in the latest back-and-forth spat between the Central American head of state and one of Congress’ most vocal critics of the region’s leaders.

Torres, who was born in Guatemala, took the first show when she retweeted a disturbing video released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showing two toddler sisters being dropped into the U.S. by smugglers straddling a 14-foot-tall border wall. The two were picked up by U.S. agents and given medical attention.

Along with a link to the video, Torres tweeted — in Spanish — that the incident is “a great shame for the governments of #Guatemala #Honduras #ElSalvador their compatriots deserve governments that are truly committed to fighting corruption and narco[trafficking]!”

Well, her tweet didn’t sit well with the president.

El Salvador’s Bukele, an avid Twitter user, hit back fast with his own Spanish-language tweet. “Look ma’am, did you read that the children are from ECUADOR and not from EL SALVADOR? Also, this happened on the border of Mexico with the United States. What does El Salvador have to do with this?”

The Salvadoran president then told Torres that she should buy some glasses with a portion of her “financier’s checks.”

But Bukele, at 39 the youngest president in Latin America, is extremely popular. He is often seen wearing a backward baseball cap and sports clothes, and his Nuevas Ideas (New Ideas) party won big in last month’s legislative elections, taking control of the national legislature.

Torres, one of Bukele’s leading critics, kept up the tweet for tweet — this time in English — calling the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border the result of “narcissistic dictators like you interested in being ‘cool’ while people flee by the 1000s & die by the 100s.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Judge Has Cleared Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Opening Door For Challenge Against Jair Bolsonaro

Things That Matter

A Judge Has Cleared Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Opening Door For Challenge Against Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil’s political sphere has been thrown into chaos once again after a judge on the Supreme Court threw out convictions against former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The former president, among many others, was tried and convicted in a nationwide corruption sweep but detractors claimed that it was a politically driven campaign against the leftist leader and his supporters.

With his conviction being thrown out, the judge has opened the door to a potential run for the presidency in 2022, against the current president Jair Bolsonaro.

A Supreme Court judge has annulled the criminal convictions against Brazil’s former president, Lula da Silva.

A justice on Brazil’s Supreme Court has annulled corruption convictions against the country’s former leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — a move that could be the first step toward clearing him to run next year against an increasingly vulnerable President Jair Bolsonaro.

In a surprise decision, Justice Edson Fachin ruled that a court in the southern city of Curitiba did not have the authority to try Lula on corruption charges and that he must be retried in federal courts in the capital, Brasilia.

The decision means Lula would be eligible to run for president next year should he wish to challenge Bolsonaro, said the local newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.

Hailing the ruling in a Twitter post, Lula said it was “recognition that we have always been correct throughout our legal battle.”

Lula was jailed on corruption charges as part of a national campaign against graft.

The former president, widely known as Lula, who held office from 2003 through 2010, was found guilty in 2017 on corruption and money-laundering charges allegedly for helping a Brazilian engineering company secure lucrative contracts with Petrobras, the country’s state-owned oil company. In exchange, the former president allegedly received a beachfront apartment from the firm. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The conviction – part of a far-reaching corruption scandal known as Operation Car Wash — knocked the popular Lula out of the 2018 presidential race, where he had hoped to make a comeback. His absence from the race created an opportunity for the novice politician Bolsonaro, a brash right-wing nationalist who has frequently been compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Lula, despite his conviction and sentence, was released from prison in 2019 on grounds that he was denied due process. However, he still faces several other prosecutions.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com