A somber and more subdued President Trump gave his first address to Congress Tuesday night, decrying racial hatred and adding that construction would soon begin on a "great, great wall" on the Mexican border.
“We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its very ugly forms,” he said, referring to a recent increase in anti-Semitic vandalism and the shootings of two Indian men in Kansas.
But the new president wasted no time in returning to the staples of his contentious White House campaign, reiterating plans to build a wall to keep out undocumented Mexican immigrants and vowing to abolish ISIS.
“As I promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS, a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians and men, women and children of all faiths and beliefs,” he said.
When he vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, there were boos and Democratic congresswomen wearing Suffragette white made thumbs-down gestures.
— The Root (@TheRoot) March 1, 2017
As Republicans stood in applause at many points during his address, Democrats stayed seated and didn’t clap.
At the end of Trump’s hour-long speech, Democrats rose and quickly filed out, leaving the chamber little more than half-full.
There were groans when he announced a program to serve victims of “illegal immigrant” crimes. He introduced family members of three people killed by undocumented immigrants who were sitting near first lady Melania Trump.
In the most poignant moment of the night, Trump paid tribute to Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owen, a Navy SEAL who was killed during a gunfight in Yemen, the first American killed in combat under the new president’s administration.
A prolonged standing ovation went up as his widow, Carryn Owens, shook and cried as she unsuccessfully fought to maintain her composure.
She looked heavenward, hands clasped, and mouthed "I love you, baby," as thunderous applause continued for nearly two minutes.
"Ryan died as he lived: A warrior, and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation,” Trump said.
Trump introduces Carryn Owens, the widow of US Navy SEAL Ryan Owens. "Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity." pic.twitter.com/rdZ5i984AY— Axios (@axios) March 1, 2017
But Owen’s father, Bill, refused to meet with the president at Dover Air Force Base last week and demanded a full investigation of the military operation, questioning its necessity.
Trump also promised to make child care "accessible and affordable," to invest in women's health programs and to "rebuild our military infrastructure."
He pronounced "the time for small thinking is over, the time for trivial fights is behind us" and vowed that "From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears."