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State of the Union: 7 highlights from Trump's address

President Donald Trump vowed during his first State of the Union address that he would spend his next year in office attempting to unite the country around issues of infrastructure, immigration and national security.

>> STATE OF THE UNION: Full transcriptPhotosDem response | Stormy Daniels’ post-SOTU TV interview

Trump spent his time at the podium as many predecessors have: touting achievements such as the nation’s recent economic growth and a newly-passed tax bill and laying out his agenda for the year ahead – an agenda that he said would create a “safe, strong and proud America.”

“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve," he said.

Here are some of the highlights from Trump's speech:

National anthem controversy

Even in vowing to unite, Trump couldn’t resist a jab or two. Honoring a 12-year-old boy who plants flags at the graves of veterans, Trump inserted a subtle reminder of his distaste for NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest racism.

“Preston’s reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance and why we proudly stand for the national anthem,” he said, to raucous cheers from Republicans in the chamber.

Immigration

Immigration, too, was a fraught topic. Trump — who sparred sharply with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over a recent attempt to prevent the deportation of those brought here illegally as children — said such “loopholes” allowed for the proliferation of the gang MS-13, singling out in the chamber the parents of two teens murdered in 2016 by MS-13 members.

“My highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities,” he said. “I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise … my duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans.”

Some Democrats on the House floor were visibly unhappy, booing when he called for an end to “chain migration,” which allows immigrants to bring relatives into the country.

Infrastructure

Trump was on less polarizing ground on infrastructure, where he called for “safe, reliable and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.” Specifically, he wants Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for new investment into roads and bridges. 

Opioid epidemic

Trump also renewed calls to address the opioid epidemic, vowing to “get tougher” on drug dealers and committing to “helping get treatment for those in need.”

North Korea

Trump vowed to get tougher on ISIS and North Korea, singling out the parents of Ohio native Otto Warmbier – who was imprisoned in North Korea and sent home days before his death – as an example of the brutality of North Korea's regime. Watching in the chamber were Fred and Cindy Warmbier, who Trump called “powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world.” The White House did not announce the Warmbiers' presence in the chamber until midway through the speech.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Trump honors Ohio man held in North Korea

Tax plan

Trump highlighted tax cuts passed by Congress as a crowning achievement. "There has never been a better time to start living the American dream," he said.

Democratic reaction

After Trump’s speech, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., gave the Democratic response, indirectly calling Trump a bully.

>> Read more trending news 

“Bullies may land a punch,” he said in excerpts released before his speech. “They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.”

California bill suggests fine, jail for giving plastic straws to restaurant patrons unless asked

A California lawmaker’s proposed bill that would greatly affect the food industry is facing heavy criticism.

California State Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, sought to address pollution by focusing on plastic – specifically, plastic straws, KGTV reported.

>> On Rare.us: Organizers arrested in California for allegedly feeding the homeless

According to Calderon’s bill, a server who offered a plastic straw to a restaurant patron without first being asked would face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

“We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways and oceans,” Calderon argued in a press release. “AB 1884 is not ban on plastic straws. It is a small step towards curbing our reliance on these convenience products, which will hopefully contribute to a change in consumer attitudes and usage.”

>> Read more trending news 

The bill reportedly would apply only to waiters in sit-down restaurants, not bars or fast food establishments. Calderon also expressed his intention to dump the bill’s harsh penalties, according to Reason.

Despite the reasoning, several have criticized the proposed legislation as an example of government overreach.

Some even offered their own suggestions.

Others have accused the bill of being inspired by unreliable data on the number of plastic straws the public uses.

Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

A new ad released by President Donald Trump's campaign is claiming that Democrats are “complicit” in killings by undocumented immigrants. The ad was released after Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to keep the government from shutting down.

>> Click here to watch

“President Trump is right — build the wall, deport criminals, stop illegal immigration now,” the ad said, showing clips of top Democrats. “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

>> Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

“President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe,” the ad concluded. The ad was released on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

>> Government shutdown: What closes; will you get your Social Security check; what happens to SNAP, WIC

On Friday, Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to fund the government and keep it from shutting down after Republicans refused to include a provision to protect thousands of immigrants brought here as children.

>> Read more trending news 

President Trump bashed Democrats after the failed vote, saying that they wanted “unchecked illegal immigration.”

“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted Saturday morning.

Earlier on Saturday, he again bashed Democratstweeting that they were more “concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border.”

(H/t: The Hill)

Deployed troops will be able to watch NFL playoff games

UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will  air the AFC and NFC Championship games.

>> Read more trending news 

The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown. 

ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.

>> Watch the news report here

There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.

Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday

Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue. 

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.

"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.

For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.

"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.

With no one to run it, AFN is off the air. 

>> John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.

Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.

Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.

However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats. 

Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.

"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.

Read more here.

John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

Grammy and Oscar-winning singer John Legend is claiming that President Donald Trump and his team’s alleged racism are behind the government shutdown.

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Legend, who has vocally criticized Trump Sr. and Jr. both in the past, tweeted the following just after midnight Saturday:

“The reason the government shutdown is that Trump and his team have an ideological commitment to allowing fewer black and brown people into the country #TrumpShutdown #TrumpIsARacist,” Legend tweeted.

>> Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining

Legend has called Trump a racist before.

Most recently, Legend tweeted on Jan. 11 that Trump is “a racist” and “has been for his entire public life.”

That came in response to vulgar remarks Trump allegedly made about immigrants from African countries.

In April, Legend said he thinks that Trump is a “terrible president.”

“He’s manifestly unqualified, not curious, not good at legislating or doing anything that his job requires. He doesn’t have any depth about any subject,” he said. “And he’s also using the office of the presidency as a way to make money for himself with his businesses, so he’s corrupt.”

“I can’t say anything nice about the guy. I think he’s one of the worst people I’ve encountered in public life,” he added.

As early as December 2016 in an interview with Rolling Stone, Legend made the same accusation.

>> Read more trending news 

When asked for his response to a Trump presidency, Legend said: “He’s been consistent about being a racist and about a couple of other things, but he’s also been wildly inconsistent and lied a lot. So we truly don’t know how he’s gonna govern.”

Legend added: “We haven’t seen anyone like him before. It’s a very kind of different world now, knowing that someone’s going to possibly dismantle a lot of what Obama accomplished. I don’t know where we’re going to go.”

Legend went on to say he believes it is his role as an artist to “tell the truth and reflect what’s going on.”

“We just have to be vigilant and get through this, and then hopefully it’ll be over soon,” he said.

'Girther' conspiracy hits social media as critics question Trump's height, weight

On Tuesday, White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson appeared before the press to give the details of President Donald Trump’s latest physical. According to Jackson — who was appointed by former President Barack Obama — the president is in great health, but some critics wasted no time casting doubt on Jackson’s analysis.

>> On Rare.us: Steve Bannon just cut a deal with Robert Mueller, reports say — here’s what we know

Most of the results were pretty straightforward. Trump aced a cognitive exam and has benefited from not drinking or smoking his entire life, Jackson said. The doctor said he is going to try to put the president on a diet but joked that the commander-in-chief might just live to be 200. At one point in the briefing, Jackson said Trump weighs 239 pounds and stands 6-foot-3. That puts his body mass index at 29.9. (You’re considered obese if your BMI hits 30.) But not everybody bought that last statistic.

>> Read more trending news 

More than a few people pointed to a photo of Trump standing side-by-side with Obama, who is 6-foot-1, and the men appear to be the same height.

There were also dozens of people who pointed to athletes with the same dimensions as Trump.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes even termed the doctor doubters “girthers” — a stab at the “birther” conspiracy theorists who insisted that Obama was not born in the United States.

On Wednesday morning, “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough also cast doubts on the results that Jackson gave to the press. At one point in his segment, Scarborough said, “All I can tell you is this: If that’s what 239 pounds looks like, I would weigh 170 pounds. So yes, I have great respect for people who – great respect for this doctor, but if that’s what 6-foot-3, 239 pounds looks like, that’s a shock to me.”

Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”

>> Read more trending news 

She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency.

DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared,” she said.

And she touched on a favorite topic, school choice.

“Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms,” she said. “It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.”

Read DeVos’s speech at MyAJC.com.

Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson says she's skipping Trump's State of the Union address

President Donald Trump and Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who were locked in a well-documented feud months ago over the latter’s account of a phone call between the president and the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnsonmay have a new reason to renew their spat.

>> On Rare.us: Frederica Wilson renews fight with John Kelly and President Trump

Wilson has announced two weeks ahead of Trump’s first State of the Union address that she will be following in the footsteps of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calf.) and others by ditching the occasion.

The Florida Democrat said “recent racist and incendiary remarks about Haiti and African nations” were the reason why she won’t be on hand for the speech.

“For the first time since I began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will not be attending the president’s State of the Union address. I have no doubt that instead of delivering a message of inclusivity and an agenda that benefits all Americans, President Trump’s address will be full of innuendo, empty promises and lies,” she said in a statement, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

>> Read more trending news 

“During his disappointing and destructive first year in office, Mr. Trump has demeaned the presidency at every opportunity and cast doubt on our nation’s standing as a global leader. The United States’ reputation is smoldering in the ashes of his recent racist and incendiary remarks about Haiti and African nations,” she continued. “Many of his proposed domestic policies are harmful to people of color, low-income communities and the middle class. It would be an embarrassment to be seen with him at a forum that under any other president would be an honor to attend.”

As mentioned, Waters also announced that she will not be attending the SOTU.

Waters, who also called Trump a “racist,” went on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes” to say Trump “does not deserve her attention.”

“Oh no, I didn’t go to the inauguration. I didn’t go to the joint session that was held after that; I don’t intend to go to this one. Why would I take my time to go and listen to a liar, to someone who lies in the face of facts?” she said.

“What does he have to say that I would be interested in?” she added.

>> On Rare.us: Sgt. La David Johnson’s mom claims Trump 'did disrespect' her son

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he “wouldn’t be honest with [himself]” if he attends the SOTU, so he has also decided to boycott it.

UK party leader's girlfriend suspended over Meghan Markle comments

The girlfriend of the leader of Britain’s right-wing U.K. Independence Party has been suspended from the party after reportedly making racist comments about Prince Harry’s American fiancee, Meghan Markle.

The Mail on Sunday published a series of messages reportedly sent by 54-year-old Henry Bolton’s 25-year-old girlfriend, Jo Marney.

>> On Rare.us: Meghan Markle’s half-sister slams rumors about her family ahead of the royal wedding

Marney reportedly said Markle would “taint” the royal family, that she had a “tiny brain” and that black people were "ugly."

In a statement to The Mail, Marney said: “I apologize unreservedly for the shocking language I used.”

She added: “The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognize the offense they have caused.”

Former deputy leader of the party Peter Whittle wrote on Twitter: “These are disgraceful remarks," adding, “This person should not just be suspended … but expelled altogether.”

>> Read more trending news 

UKIP’s chairman, Paul Oakden, told the Mail on Sunday that Marney had been suspended from the party membership immediately after he was made aware of the messages.

“UKIP does not, has not and never will condone racism,” he said.

Bolton, who was elected party leader in September, tweeted to confirm that Marney had been suspended from the party “immediately upon [UKIP] receiving this information.”

He was responding to a teenage party activist who urged him to publicly call for Marney to have her UKIP membership revoked.

“Her words were blatantly racist and there should be no room for that in UKIP,” Jack Penny wrote on Twitter.

Bolton confirmed his relationship with Marney in a letter to UKIP supporters earlier this month, after seemingly leaving his wife to pursue his new relationship, the BBC reported.

Roseanne Barr thinks she would be a better president than Oprah

Roseanne Barr apparently thinks that she would make a better president than Oprah Winfrey — or Susan Sarandon for that matter.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barr told reporters during a press tour that should Winfrey run for president in 2020, as many Americans are calling for after her emotional and riveting Golden Globes acceptance speech, she would possibly consider an opposition run.

>> Oprah 2020? Winfrey 'would absolutely' run for president, partner Stedman Graham says

“I do love Oprah. Of course, I love Oprah like everybody else. But you know what? I think it was time for us as a country to shake things up and, you know, try something different,” she said. “Actually, I think I’d be a better president than Oprah and Susan Sarandon, probably even President Trump. And I did run in 2012.”

The actress also told the room that politics will not be off-limits in the upcoming reboot of her classic sitcom “Roseanne.” According to Barr, the series will take on some of Trump’s presidency, as it is a show about a working class family.

>> On Rare.us: We finally know how both Beckys will be used in the highly-anticipated 'Roseanne' revival

“In ‘The Roseanne Show,’ I’ve always tried to have it be a true reflection of the society we live in. I feel like half the people voted for Trump, and half didn’t, so it’s just realistic,” she said. “And, in fact, it was working-class people who elected Trump, so I felt like that was very real and something that needed to be discussed and especially about polarization in the family and people actually hating other people for the way they voted, which I feel is not American.”

The season premiere of the reboot reportedly will focus on a fight between Roseanne, a Trump supporter, and her sister Jackie, who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

>> Read more trending news 

The actress, an outspoken Trump supporter, reportedly fired back when one reporter accused the president of being xenophobic.

“Well, that’s your opinion,” she said, adding, “Well, he says a lot of crazy [expletive] … I’m not a Trump apologist. There are a lot of things he’s said and done that I don’t agree with, just like there are a lot of things Hillary Clinton has said and done that you don’t agree with. Nobody is brainwashed into agreeing with 100 percent of what anybody says.”

The reboot of “Roseanne” premieres at 8 p.m. ET March 27 on ABC.

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