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President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

What did Trump accomplish in his first address to Congress?

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What did Trump accomplish in his first address to Congress?

WATCH | President Trump struck an optimistic tone in his first address to Congress.

President Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday was billed as a bold blueprint to unify the nation. 

“His inaugural was a dark pessimistic vision of America," said David Boaz of the CATO Institute.


But Trump's rhetoric was optimistic. 

“If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades," Trump said. 

Missed Trump's address? Here's a live blog to catch you up.

Trump said we are seeing a "renewed American spirit."

Moving past the bluster, Trump showed he was someone Congress could work with.

“I think he did a lot of what he needed to accomplish," professor Jeremy Mayer of George Mason University told Circa. "He needed to set a different tone."


On immigration, he warned against crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, even addressing the father a victim killed by one, but said the time was ripe for a fix.

“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: To improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws," Trump told Congress.

Trump needs Congress’s help to push through legislation on this and other big campaign promises, like repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“Within the Republican caucus in both houses of Congress there are still strong disagreements on some of these issues, including what to replace Obamacare with, and Trump is an important voice," Boaz said.

While Trump tried to speak positively about working with Congress, he made no apologies for his go-it-alone attitude regarding executive orders, which he counts as early successes.

He also stressed the need for greater job growth, something he promised to focus on during his campaign.


“For too long, we've watched our middle-class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries," Trump said.


But Trump took the opportunity to reassure Americans that our military will remain a dominant force on the world stage.

“Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world. It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe,” Trump said to a Congress nervous that he would back away from American commitments abroad.

Missed Trump's address? Here's a live blog to catch you up.

Trump said that he would protect the U.S. from "radical Islamic terrorism," a phrase former President Obama refused to say.

The next big moment is the budget. He's got to propose a budget to Congress and this is where the rubber hits the road.
Professor Mayer

So where does Trump go from here? His promise of increased military spending, while not touching Social Security funding, means cutting back in other areas. This could hurt any goodwill he built in Congress with his speech.


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