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Trump speech highlights: Obamacare, immigration, tax reform, more

President Donald Trump addressed Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, for the first time since taking office on Jan. 20, 2017.

The speech, which ran more than an hour, included promises of tax relief for the middle class, repealing and replacing Obamacare, a new approach to immigration reform and affordable child care.

If you missed Trump's address or are just trying to make sense of all that he said, check out the highlights below.

Recent threats of violence

Trump opened his remarks to Congress by acknowledging
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski

Trump opened his remarks to Congress by acknowledging recent threats against Jewish community centers and the deadly shooting in Kansas City being investigated as a hate crime.

"Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nation's path toward civil rights and the work that still remains," Trump said. "Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms."


Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

"Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present," Trump said. "That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart."

Calling his presidency a new chapter in "American greatness," Trump said a "new national pride is sweeping" across the country.

"Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead. All the nations of the world -- friend or foe -- will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free," he added.

William 'Ryan' Owens tribute

Among the guests invited to the address was
Photo Credit: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque

Among the guests invited to the address was Carryn Owens, the widow of Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens, a U.S. Navy special operator who was killed during a recent raid in Yemen.

"Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero -- battling against terrorism and securing our nation," Trump said. "Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity. For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom. We will never forget him."

Immigration reform

Calling the legal immigration system in America
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Mandel Ngan

Calling the legal immigration system in America "outdated," Trump suggested the idea of creating a merit-based system, citing success in Canada and other countries.

"It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon," Trump said.

Benefits to a merit-based system, according to Trump, include financial savings, improvements to workers' wages and lifting struggling families into the middle class.

"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 said. "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."

Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver and Jessica Davis

In order to stress the importance of his
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

In order to stress the importance of his aggressive immigration agenda, Trump told the stories of three families who recently lost loved ones to violence allegedly perpetrated by immigrants living in the country illegally.

Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver and Jessica Davis were in attendance Tuesday night.

"To Jamiel, Jenna, Susan and Jessica: I want you to know -- we will never stop fighting for justice. Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory," Trump said.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare

Trump said Obamacare's insurance mandate was
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

Trump said Obamacare's insurance mandate was "never the right solution for our country."

"The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we are going to do," he continued.

The president called on Congress to work together "to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster" and offered the following principles as guidance.

-- "First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the health care exchanges."

-- "Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts -- but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our government."

-- "Thirdly, we should give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out."

-- Fourth, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance -- and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately."

-- "Finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care. So important."

Tax reform and trade

Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski

"Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world," Trump said, adding that his administration is creating "historic" tax reform to benefit companies so they can "compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone."

"At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class," the president said.

Shifting to trade, the president said that while American companies pay high tariffs and taxes to ship goods to other countries, when foreign companies bring their products to the states, "we charge them almost nothing."

"I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be fair trade. The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the 'abandonment of the protective policy by the American government [will] produce want and ruin among our people.' " Trump said. "Lincoln was right -- and it is time we heeded his words. I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers be taken advantage of anymore."

Infrastructure investment

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

"Another Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program: the building of the interstate highway system. The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding," Trump said.

The president argued that if the government had spent as much on its infrastructure as it has in the Middle East, the country could have been rebuilt twice.

"And maybe even three times if we had people who had the ability to negotiate," he added.

Trump said he will ask Congress to approve legislation providing a $1 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure. The investment, according to the president, would be financed by public and private funds.

"This effort will be guided by two core principles: buy American, and hire American," Trump said.

Reducing crime

Trump vowed to reduce a crime rate that
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski

Trump vowed to reduce a crime rate that he said was simply "not acceptable in our society."

"The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century. In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone -- and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher," Trump said, adding that every child should be able to grow up feeling safe in their community.

"But to create this future, we must work with -- not against -- the men and women of law enforcement. We must build bridges of cooperation and trust -- not drive the wedge of disunity and division."

Megan Crowley

While calling for a less
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

While calling for a less "burdensome approval process" at the Food and Drug Administration, Trump told the story of Megan Crowley, who he called a "rare disease survivor."

Trump said Crowley should "serve as an inspiration to us all."

Crowley was diagnosed with the rare and serious Pompe disease when she was just 15 months old, and was not expected to live past 5, Trump said.

"On receiving this news, Megan's dad, John, fought with everything he had to save the life of his precious child. He founded a company to look for a cure, and helped develop the drug that saved Megan's life," Trump continued. "Today she is 20 years old -- and a sophomore at Notre Dame."

Trump accused the FDA of hindering advances such as the one that saved Crowley's life.

"If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA but across our government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles like Megan," Trump explained. "In fact, our children will grow up in a nation of miracles. But to achieve this future, we must enrich the mind -- and the souls -- of every American child."


Before urging Congress to join together to pass
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Before urging Congress to join together to pass a bill that would provide funding for school choice among disadvantaged youth, Trump called education the "civil rights issue of our time."

"These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them," the president said.

Trump's vision for America

Outlining a vision for the country in which
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Jim Lo Scalzo

Outlining a vision for the country in which mothers feel safe to walk the streets, children receive a good education and millions are lifted out of welfare, Trump said when these goals are achieved, "we will have made America greater than ever before, for all Americans."

"This is our vision. This is our mission. But we can only get there together. We are one people, with one destiny. We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same flag. And we are all made by the same God," Trump said.


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