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Congressman Jason Smith

Congressman Jason Smith

Choosing Greatness

This week I was incredibly honored to be asked to escort the President of the United States into the U.S. House Chamber to address a Joint Session of Congress and update American citizens on the strength of their country. I was amazed that in the moments just before walking in to give his speech to the country, President Trump leaned over to me and remarked how much he enjoyed spending time with Missourians over the past year and can’t wait to come back. We then walked onto the House Floor, and what followed was one of the best speeches I’ve ever seen given by our President. He spoke directly to the American people and delivered a powerful State of the Union address which shared a confident vision of our country’s potential and our path to greatness.

The state of our Union is strong, as the President demonstrated Tuesday night. The landmark tax cuts I co-authored have kicked the American economy into high gear and allowed families and farmers to keep more of what’s theirs. Main Street businesses are expanding and hiring, leading to the lowest unemployment rate for American workers in half a century and rising wages at the fastest pace in a decade. The economy has grown at twice the pace since President Trump took the reins, because he placed people’s livelihoods above Washington rules and has eliminated the most burdensome Washington regulations.

As President Trump updated the American people on achievements and ambitions, I was disappointed by Members of Congress sitting on their hands. We may disagree on the paths we choose to take, but all Americans should be able to celebrate our country’s successes.

The President’s message wasn’t divisive. He presented a vision of the United States that all Americans can get behind. But sadly, too many Members of Congress seemed to be rooting for the President and our country to fail. His commonsense goals of eliminating dangerous gangs and putting drug cartels out of business by securing our border were met with head shakes and disapproval. Members on the other side of the aisle refused to celebrate the record number of American jobs, but cheered and danced when the President mentioned their jobs. And I heard jeers as President Trump renewed the promise of the Declaration of Independence and made clear the babies born in United States will have the right to life.

As the President looked to the future, his special guests in the House Chamber that night reminded the American people of the past heights our country has reached and the challenges we have boldly taken head on. It was incredible just to be in the presence of Buzz Aldrin, who carried his country’s colors further than any adventurer in history and planted the American flag on the surface of the moon. I was moved by the presence of Herman Zeitchik, a World War II veteran who stormed the beaches of Normandy when he was 18 years old and liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp. He was sitting next to Joshua Kaufman, a former concentration camp prisoner who Herman helped free. Their stories remind us that Americans will always rise to fight the greatest challenges of today and our freedoms inspire the world.

If we seize the moment, we can be a country confident in its people and its workers that protects our interests on the world stage. The President is offering a seat at the table to every Member of Congress who will take it. We can achieve greatness, if we choose it.