Will Washington Come Together After Trump's Nod To Democrats In SOTU Speech?

In his first-ever State of the Union (SOTU) address, U.S. President Donald Trump called for unity in Washington in a bid to get both parties on the same page and pass an agenda he said would bring tremendous benefit to Americans.

But at a time of bitter partisan rancor, many experts have expressed doubt whether unity will occur.

In a nationally televised speech, the president called for unity for the sake of serving the American people, saying "these are the people we were elected to serve," noting that his administration has boosted employment and enacted one of the biggest tax cuts in U.S. history -- which has sent the markets soaring.

Pushing for a 1 trillion U.S. dollar infrastructure spending bill, Trump told lawmakers in the audience that he was "asking both parties to come together" to produce a bill that will "fix the infrastructure deficit."

At the same time, he called for a multi-pronged immigration revamp in a bid to fix the nation's broken immigration system.

That included fixing the "deadly loopholes" that allow violent criminals to enter the United States illegally, noting a case a couple of years back in which MS-13 gang members -- a Hispanic gang with members illegally residing in the United States -- murdered two American high school girls.

The plan also called for a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million immigrants whose parents brought them illegally into the United States when they were minors.

"So let's come together" and "get the job done" he said, in an effort to reach out to Democrats.

"In his first year, he could pass legislation with only a majority. And this time around, when it comes to immigration and infrastructure, he's going to need some Democrats," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.

"And I think the big question here is...he gave a powerful speech and it was well delivered. But at the same time, is it going to make it easier to make a deal on immigration or infrastructure ? I think that's still up in the air," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said the real question for Trump will be how independent voters respond, at a time when the president has a very low approval rating among Democrats.

"Because if you look at the latest Fox News poll, Republicans are still with Trump, and Democrats are still against Trump. If he can find a way to get public opinion on his side with respect to (independents), he may be able to (pass his agenda)," he said.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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