What We’re Following
From the travel ban to the border wall, immigration has played an outsize role in Donald Trump’s presidency—and Tuesday night’s State of the Union address was no exception. He mentioned more immigration-related words than his predecessors, linking immigrants with higher crime:
Study after study does not support that claim. At one point, Trump diverted from his usual talking points on the subject, indicating that he’s open to accepting more high-skilled legal immigrants. If it wasn’t a spontaneous wink of Trumpian hyperbole, argues Reihan Salam, it could be a promising sign of a pivot in the immigration debate.
In his speech, Trump also took up the mantle of eradicating AIDS in the U.S. It’s a laudable goal that is far from impossible—but it would require an upheaval of his policies and rhetoric as president. Putting an end to the AIDS epidemic would be elusive without outreach to racial minorities and LGBTQ people who are most at risk of getting HIV, but these people disproportionately lack health insurance—a problem the president has exacerbated—and are skeptical of the president in the wake of his ban on transgender military service.
Trump made a ploy to lambaste late-term abortions, in response to recent bills in New York and Virginia that would expand women’s options for ending their pregnancies in the third trimester. The Virginia legislation ultimately failed, and Trump’s invocation of it during the State of the Union looked to be an attempt to shore up support among his anti-abortion base. The partisan brawl over the two pieces of legislation could presage more fights over abortion rights, as the Supreme Court’s lurch to the right puts the future of abortion on unsteady footing.