President Donald Trump won significant, if sporadic, bipartisan applause during his State of the Union address Tuesday, outlining a broad political agenda beyond a gridlocked fight over Mexico border wall funds.
The 82-minute speech didn't directly mention the recently-ended 35-day government shutdown — but did feature an unexpected call to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 10 years, and an unplanned rendition of "Happy Birthday" by lawmakers for an 81-year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman who has said Trump could go to jail, gave Trump a standing ovation for the president's assertion that "great nations do not fight endless wars," a nod to Trump's efforts to draw down troops in Syria and Afghanistan.
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New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an early, progressive Democrat seeking the party's nomination to challenge Trump, stood to applaud when Trump declared that the U.S. would never become a socialist nation — a jab at other Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who sat behind Gillibrand.
One of the loudest applause lines of the night came when Trump told the joint session of Congress that there were a record number of women in Congress. Dozens of Democratic women, largely dressed in white, gave each other high-fives, and began a roaring chant of "USA! USA!" — typically belted out by the opposing party.
At points, Democrats seemed to outpace Republican members in enthusiasm. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz, who wore hot pink rather than the white many of the women did to celebrate women's suffrage, repeatedly stood to applaud Trump's optimistic and vague promotions of "greatness" — the speech's theme. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., a frequent critic of Trump on Twitter and TV, also applauded routinely, as did moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Some Republicans — most notably Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who sat beside each other — slouched in their chairs, at times rising lethargically to cheer the president.
There were groans, too, from Democrats, including when Trump said that caravans of immigrants were approaching from Central America.
On immigration, Trump made an apparently unplanned deviation from script, saying "I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally," despite his administration proposing reductions in legal immigration.