WASHINGTON (NBC News) – President Donald Trump delivered his third State of the Union address Tuesday night to a deeply divided Congress with senators preparing for a final verdict in his impeachment trial.
The president stepped into history as just the second American president to deliver a State of the Union address while under the cloud of an impeachment trial.
Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barely made eye contact and did not shake hands.
With the president’s all but certain acquittal in a final vote Wednesday, he looked past impeachment Tuesday night.
“The state of our union is stronger than ever before,” Trump stated.
He pointed to job growth and a booming stock market as cornerstones of a strong economy. Trump also highlighted a new trade deal with China and a campaign promise delivered to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Unlike so many who came before me, I keep my promises,” he said, adding, “We did our job.”
Trump talked tough on immigration and the border.
On foreign policy, he said that directing the killings of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and a top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
“Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice,” Trump said.
The president saluted the family of a soldier serving in Afghanistan — and in a dramatic reveal brought him out to reunite with his wife and kids.
Trump also interrupted the speech to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh who was just diagnosed with stage four cancer.
It was a polarizing moment in a visibly divided room. Almost all of the Democrats in the chamber remained seated, while many Republicans cheered loudly
The address began with Republicans chanting “four more years” and ended with the speaker tearing up Trump’s speech.
Pelosi told NBC News that she tore up the speech because “it was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative.”
One topic Trump didn’t touch on: impeachment.
An administration official told NBC News that Trump, by speaking “past” impeachment, would be able to send the message to Americans that he was working on their behalf and not getting distracted by his Senate trial.