President Donald Trump stepped away from his preferred method of communicating with the American people — via Twitter, where he routinely lobs insults and spouts partisan rhetoric — to address Congress and the United States with his State of the Union Address.
Right out of the gate, Trump called for lawmakers of both parties “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.”
But as noted by The Sydney Morning Herald, Trump then moved on to two of the most divisive issues Americans currently face: immigration and abortion.
Citing an "urgent national crisis" at the southern border, Trump used the speech to lay the groundwork to declare a national emergency and build a wall without congressional approval.
Congress has just 10 days left to pass an immigration deal before the federal government is due to close again, and Democrats are resisting Trump's demands to fund a physical barrier on the border.
Trump insisted that he will be the one to finally put a barrier on the southern U.S. border:
"In the past, most of the people in this room voted for wall, but the proper wall never got built," Trump said.
"I will get it built."
The president and first lady also used the occasion to highlight families whose loved ones were killed by undocumented immigrants.
"The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial wellbeing of all Americans," he said.
"We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens."
Trump also expressed concern over recent laws passed in New York that make late-term abortions more accessible, saying he wants lawmakers to take action at the federal level against such measures:
"To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb," he said, drawing a standing ovation from Republicans.
"Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life."
And perhaps most interestingly, Trump suggested that lawmakers cannot successfully legislate as well as investigate his administration, saying, "We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance.”
He also pointed to Democratic investigations as one of three factors that could ruin the strong U.S. economy, along with wars and politics in general.
"An economic miracle is taking place and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.
"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."
The president ended his speech with an optimistic tone:
“As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.”