U.S. President Donald Trump rolled out his "America First" agenda in his first major speech since inauguration at a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.
Despite Trump's bid to "deliver a message of unity and strength," reactions to his address are deeply divided if not as polarized as expected. Most Republican lawmakers and Trump's backers were in full support, while many Democrats and Trump protesters rebuked it.
"AMERICA FIRST" AGENDA
"America must put its own citizens first ... because only then, can we truly make American great again," Trump said in his speech, resonating his campaign theme.
Rolling out his "America First" agenda "guided by two core principles: Buy American and Hire American", Trump tried to paint "a new surge of optimism" by depicting what he has done since entering the White House and reiterating what he will do in the four-year presidency, most of them in line with his pledges during the campaign trail.
He vowed again that his administration will replace Obamacare "with better healthcare," build a wall along the border with Mexico, reduce taxes on U.S. companies, invest one trillion dollars to upgrade the country's "crumbling infrastructure," boost safety in inner cities, make child care accessible, introduce a merit-based immigration system to regulate new arrivals and reduce the flow of low-skilled workers into America.
The Trump administration will take strong actions against "radical Islamic terrorism" and work with U.S. allies to extinguish the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, he said.
"We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America - we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists." Trump said.
The U.S. president confirmed he will "strongly support" NATO, though he once blasted it as "obsolete" before taking office, while calling on allies to "meet their financial obligations."
Meanwhile, he said he respects the right of all nations to chart their own path and has no intention to represent the world.
"My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America," Trump said.
HAILS & DOUBTS
When Trump wrapped up his first major speech on Capitol Hill Tuesday night, Republican lawmakers stayed to applaud while Democrats immediately headed for the House chamber exit, leaving half of the floor nearly empty.
"The floor became the embodiment of partisan divisions that persist in Congress", analyst Bridget Bowman commented in a report with the Rollcall News.
Republicans moved quickly to hail Trump's speech, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declaring that "Trump did indeed become presidential tonight."
"A tweet-free, optimistic and uplifting message about where America needs to go," McConnell said on CNN.
In comparison, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump's message and reality "have never been more detached in a presidential speech."
"President Trump's speech had an air of unreality because what he said tonight was so different than how he has governed in the first 40 days," the Senate's top Democrat said in a statement.
However, it is widely thought that Trump's address to the Congress was fairly conventional and delivered a desire to move past the turmoil and partisan division rampant in his first month in the White House.