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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/31/18

In Warmongering First State of the Union, Trump Doubles Down on Gitmo & Escalates Nuclear War Threat

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President Trump delivered his first State of the Union Tuesday night. During the lengthy address, Trump announced he'd signed an executive order keeping the Guantanamo Bay military prison open, and escalated his warmongering rhetoric against North Korea, calling the North Korean government "depraved" and warning it poses a nuclear risk to the United States. For more, we speak with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, America's oldest weekly magazine.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump delivered his first State of the Union Tuesday, claiming this is, quote, "our new American moment." He focused heavily on immigration, renewing his call for a border wall, while linking immigration to terrorism.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can just no longer afford. It's time to reform these outdated immigration rules and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump never mentioned the words "climate change" or "global warming," but he did acknowledge the recent deadly hurricanes and wildfires that devastated parts of the country.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands -- everywhere -- we are with you, we love you, and we always will pull through together. Always.

AMY GOODMAN: That was President Trump's only reference to Puerto Rico, where today FEMA is ending shipments of food and water, even though about a third of the island still has no electricity, over four months after Hurricane Maria struck.

On the foreign policy front, Trump threatened North Korea again, suggested he'll start sending more prisoners to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo in Cuba, where no new prisoner has been sent in almost a decade.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I just signed, prior to walking in, an order directing Secretary Mattis, who is doing a great job -- thank you -- to re-examine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay. I am asking Congress to ensure that in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them. And in many cases, for them, it will now be Guantanamo Bay.

AMY GOODMAN: The prison population at Guantanamo is currently 41, down from a high of 684 in 2003. President Trump also used the State of the Union to issue a veiled threat to federal workers.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, tonight I call on Congress to empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, today we spend the hour looking at what President Trump said and didn't say during his State of the Union. We begin with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, America's oldest weekly magazine.

Overall, your response to what you saw last night?

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