The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, gave his first public address before a joint session of the United States Congress on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. Similar to a State of the Union address, it was delivered before the 115th United States Congress in the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. Presiding over this joint session was the House Speaker, Paul Ryan. Accompanying the Speaker of the House was the President of the United States Senate, Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States.
Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was the designated survivor and did not attend the address in order to maintain a continuity of government. He was sequestered at a secret secure location for the duration of the event.
Fact-checkers noted that although Trump's speech to Congress had "fewer untrue statements than many of his remarks", the address nevertheless included numerous false and misleading statements on a variety of issues, including the federal budget, immigration and crime, immigration and the economy, welfare, and the job impact of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
The speech was considered more optimistic, conciliatory and politically conventional and "presidential" than Trump's typically populist manner of speaking, at a time in which he was receiving historically low approval ratings.
For the Democratic Party, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear provided the response; activist Astrid Silva of Nevada offered another response for the party in Spanish. Beshear spoke at a diner in Lexington, Kentucky.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate) responded to the speech in a 14-minute video posted to Facebook, in which he criticized Trump for failing to make any mention of income inequality, criminal justice reform, or climate change. Sanders also stated: "President Trump once again made it clear he plans on working with Republicans in Congress who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, throw 20 million Americans off of health insurance, privatize Medicare, make massive cuts in Medicaid, raise the cost of prescription drugs to seniors, eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, while at the same time, he wants to give another massive tax break to the wealthiest Americans."
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