Trump's State of the Union for our nation's veterans

Kaylah Jackson
January 30, 2018 - 9:07 pm

© Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK

Like many presidential speeches, there's always lots and lots of applause. And people really like to applaud those in the military.

President Trump wasted no time before his speech, mentioning the likes of Coast Guard Officer Ashlee Leppert, who was among the many saving lives during Hurricane Harvey.

He told the story of Preston Sharp, a young boy who took it upon himself to place American flags and flowers on the graves of veterans. Since starting his efforts, Preston has organized more than 40,000 decorations for the graves. 

He also highlighted Agent Celestino “CJ” Martinez, an Air Force veteran and Air National Guardsmen, now an ICE Agent, who along with his team has "arrested nearly 400, (gang members) including more than 220 from MS-13."

But, who received the most applause from the crowd?

Possibly, Staff. Sgt. Justin Peck.

Peck sat in the crowd with his newly awarded Bronze Star for saving his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy. While in Raqqa, Syria, he entered a booby-trapped building and found Stacy, who was severely wounded by an IED. Peck performed CPR for 20 minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through two hours of emergency surgery. Trump didn't fail to say recognize his sacrifice saying "All of America salutes you."

And while recognizing sacrifice is admirable and cushioning speeches with heroic stories isn't specific to this administration, Trump had a handful of things to say concerning the veteran and military community.

On the VA:

He gave a few honorable mentions about the introduction of the Choice Program and the VA Accountability Act: "Since its passage, my administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve -- and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do. "

Trump continued by saying, "All Americans deserve accountability and respect -- and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers -- and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people."

On the Defense Budget:

In December, Trump signed a $700 billion dollar defense strategy that was slightly over budget and most recently, Secretary of Defense, Gen. Mattis urged Congress to pass his defense strategy, that for the past nine years had been negatively affected by budget cuts."

Tonight, the president put pressure on those in the Capitol,"I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military. As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. "

On National Security:

He reported that while not totally extinguished, "the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria." 

In continued conversations surrounding heated tensions between the US and North Korea, "North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening."

He also referred to the current Iran nuclear deal as "terrible" and wants Congress to reexamine its "flaws." Interestingly enough, in his talks of national security, Russia didn't receive an honorable mention.

So, while the State of the Union reeked of patriotism and pomp and circumstance, it was a bit lacking in detailed policy. It seemed like we got bits and pieces of what we already knew. And even with the weaving of stories of sacrifice and bravery that every American, regardless of party affiliation can admire, the president still made time to once again, remind us to stand for the national anthem.