The Latest: Trump blasts Schumer ahead of address on unity


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address (all times local):

11 p.m.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams is declaring that the recent partial federal government shutdown was “a stunt engineered by the president of the United States.”

Democrats tapped the former Georgia House minority leader deliver their party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

She drew a series of contrasts with Republicans on issues like health care, gun control and immigration.

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Abrams said that a few weeks ago she volunteered to distribute meals to federal workers furloughed during the nation’s longest government shutdown. She accused Trump of making their “livelihoods a pawn for political games.”

The government shut down for more than a month over Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for his promised border wall with Mexico.


10:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump seemed pleasantly surprised when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumped to her feet with other white-garbed female House members and cheered something he said.

The moment came when Trump said women have benefited most from the strong economy. The record number of female House members jumped to their feet and cheered.

Trump said, “You weren’t supposed to do that.”

Then he congratulated the women who hold seats in Congress. And the Democrats jumped up and high-fived each other, chanting “U-S-A!”

It was a rare exchange that crossed the partisan divide just a few days after Trump capitulated and agreed to reopen the government without any money for his border wall. Another budget deadline looms Feb. 15.

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10:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump, in concluding his State of the Union address, is urging Americans to “choose greatness.”

Trump finished his 82-minute speech on an optimistic note, suggesting that “our biggest victories are still to come” and that “we have not yet begun to dream.” And he urged the nation to not be “defined by our differences.”

But despite Trump’s call for unity, much of his speech echoed his usual partisan talking points and the reaction to his address varied wildly among Democrats and Republicans.

Moreover, Trump, in the hours before speech, attacked Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. And the president’s previous public pleas for bipartisanship have usually worn off in a matter of days, often overwhelmed by a flood of his incendiary tweets.


10:30 p.m.

Lawmakers from both parties sang “Happy Birthday” to Judah Samet, a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh who survived a shooting that killed 11 people in October.

President Donald Trump saluted Samet during the State of the Union address. Samet, who also is a Holocaust survivor, celebrated his 81st birthday on Tuesday.

Trump said Samet can still remember the moment nearly 75 years ago when he was put on a train after 10 months in a concentration camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. A soldier appeared. Samet’s family braced for the worst, but then his father cried out with joy, “It’s the Americans.”

Lawmakers jumped to their feet and applauded as Trump told the story, and they spontaneously sang “Happy Birthday” as Samet smiled and waved. Trump told Samet lawmakers “wouldn’t do that for me.”


10:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s accelerated U.S. negotiations with the Taliban to reach “if possible” a political settlement in Afghanistan.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump said that as progress is made in the negotiations, the U.S. will be able to reduce its troop presence and focus on counterterrorism.

He says U.S. troops have fought with “unmatched valor” and it’s because of them that the U.S. is now able to pursue— “if possible”— a political solution to end the “long and bloody conflict.”

Trump says the Taliban also are very happy to be negotiating because they too want to try for peace and end 17 years of war.

Trump says “the hour has come to at least try for peace.”


10:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is launching a campaign to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030, targeting areas where new infections happen and getting highly effective drugs to people at risk.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and senior public health officials say the campaign would focus on areas where about half of new HIV cases occur. That includes 48 counties, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and seven states with at-risk rural residents.

Anti-AIDS groups are reacting with both skepticism and cautious optimism.

Trump said in his State of the Union speech Tuesday that funding will be in his budget. He did not specify an amount.

There are about 40,000 new cases of HIV infection a year in the U.S. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.


10: 30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States stands with the people of Venezuela in their “noble quest for freedom. He condemned “the brutality” of President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to ratchet up pressure on Maduro, saying he has turned the wealthy nation in to a state of poverty. He also said that the U.S. will never be a socialist country.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido (Gwy-DOH) has deemed himself the country’s interim president over Maduro, who banned opponents from running in an election last year that has been condemned internationally as illegitimate.

The U.S. and more than 30 other countries have now recognized Guaido.

Earlier Tuesday, Maduro lashed out at Trump, saying he was obsessed with Venezuela because the U.S. wants steal Venezuelan oil.


10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling on lawmakers from both parties to come together “for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure” as he highlights a slew of domestic policy proposals during his State of the Union speech.

Trump typically spends most of his time talking about issues like trade and immigration.

But he says Tuesday night that he’s eager to work with Congress on an infrastructure package — without offering specifics. And he says his “next major priority” will be working to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs.

Trump also says his coming budget will ask Democrats and Republicans “to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.”

And he’s calling on Congress to dedicate $500 million over the next 10 years to fund childhood cancer research.


10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is denouncing embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in calling for tougher anti-abortion legislation.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump asked Congress to pass legislation to prevent “late-term abortion of children.”

He attacked Northam — not by name, but by title — claiming he would “execute a baby after birth.” Northam in an interview last week defended, in rare occasions, the practice of third-trimester abortions.

Trump received the enthusiastic backing of evangelicals and pro-life advocates during the 2016 elections and aides have said he planned to focus on the issue ahead of his re-election campaign.


10:20 p.m.

House Democrats are sitting stone faced through much of President Donald Trump’s references to overhauling immigration during his State of the Union address.

Republicans jumped to their feet again and again when Trump said the U.S. needs to crack down on people entering the U.S. illegally.

Mostly, Democrats stayed seated. Some booed when Trump described immigrants on the march to the U.S. Some chuckled when he referred to a “tremendous onslaught” of people coming over the border. Most sat in silence when he said that encouraging illegal immigration was “cruel.”

But Trump did get some applause when he saluted more women serving in Congress. Many of the Democrats who wore white high-fived each other and chanted, “U-S-A!”

Trump said, “That’s great. Very great.”


10:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is suggesting that a multination arms control agreement could be negotiated to replace the one with Russia he is exiting.

Trump accused Moscow of repeatedly violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with “impunity” by deploying banned missiles. Russia says it’s pulling out, too.

U.S. officials also worry that China is gaining a significant military advantage in Asia by deploying large numbers of missiles with ranges beyond the treaty’s limit. China is not party to the treaty.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Trump said that perhaps the U.S. could negotiate a “different agreement, adding China and others” or “perhaps we can’t.”

If not, Trump vowed that the U.S. would “outspend” and “out-innovate” all other nations in the development of arms to protect America.


10 p.m.

A special agent who works to combat human trafficking is among President Donald Trump’s State of the Union guests.

Elvin Hernandez works in the New York office of Homeland Security Investigations. He and his colleagues began targeting a violent pipeline for prostitution through Tenancingo (ten-ahn-SEEN’-go), Mexico, in 2012. The final defendants were sentenced last month to decades in prison.

Trump has pushed the idea that human trafficking is a major reason why he needs $5.7 billion for a border wall, even though most trafficking victims come through ports of entry, according to data from the International Organization for Migration.

In total, Hernandez said during one investigation he and his colleagues brought down more than 80 defendants; rescued more than 150 victims, including 45 minors; and reunified 19 children with their mothers.


9:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is addressing immigration in his State of the Union speech, saying Republicans and Democrats “must join forces” to confront what he’s calling “an urgent national crisis.”

Trump says Congress “has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland and secure our very dangerous southern border” ahead of a February 15 deadline. Critics dispute the level of danger at the border.

But he’s made no reference to the national emergency he’s threatened to declare if Democrats in Congress fail to give in to his demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the southern border.

Trump says that lawmakers “have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.”

Democrats oppose Trump’s stalled wall as immoral and unnecessary.


9:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is declaring that the state of the union is “strong.”

The president delivered his annual address to Congress on Tuesday with the now-standard declaration that the nation is prospering.

Trump, whose red tie was oddly askew, declared “our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.”

He added that “the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations” an apparent swipe at the special counsel probe into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

He was greeted with cheers from the Republicans in the chamber and chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A” filled half the room.

But many Democrats did not cheer, including dozens of female lawmakers who wore white as a tribute to suffragettes.


9:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump has invited some previously unannounced guests to his State of the Union speech.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin — the second man to walk on the moon — is among those seated in the House chamber for the president’s speech.

Trump is also honoring World War II veterans who participated in D-Day and recounting the “fifteen thousand young American men” who “jumped from the sky and sixty thousand more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny.”

Three D-Day veterans, Pfc. Joseph Reilly, Staff Sgt. Locker and Sgt. Herman Zeitchik, are also attending.


9:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump will hold a two-day summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam to try to convince him to give up his nuclear weapons program.

The announcement was made in Trump’s prepared remarks the White House released for his Tuesday night State of the Union address.

Trump has said that his outreach to Kim and their first meeting last June in Singapore opened a path to peace. But there is not yet a concrete plan for how denuclearization could be implemented.

U.S. intelligence chiefs believe there is little likelihood Kim will voluntarily give up his nuclear weapons or missiles capable of carrying them. Private analysts reviewing commercial satellite imagery have assessed that the North is still developing nuclear and missile technology despite suspending tests.


9:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in the House chamber to deliver his State of the Union speech.

Trump, wearing a red tie, was greeted with a round of applause from Republicans as well as some Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The chamber is filled with his family members, Cabinet, a handful of Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and their invited guests.

Trump is expected to strike a unifying tone in his remarks, which are expected to touch on subjects including immigration, trade negotiations with China and U.S. troop deployments in the Middle East.

The speech is being delivered a week later than originally scheduled after Pelosi said Trump would not be allowed to speak in front of the House Chamber until the partial government shutdown came to an end.


8:55 p.m.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is the so-called designated survivor for this year’s State of the Union address.

By tradition, one Cabinet secretary is closeted away at a secure, undisclosed location to ensure continuity of government in case disaster strikes while government leaders attend the speech.

The choice of Perry was confirmed by a White House official, who was not authorized to disclose the person’s identity, and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was last year’s designated survivor.

Trump’s choice this year was limited by the number of “acting” secretaries in the Cabinet. Only Senate-confirmed secretaries (and natural-born citizens) in the line of succession to the presidency can assume control of government in a crisis.

–Contributed by Zeke Miller

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