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President Donald Trump Delivers His First Speech to Congress

In his first speech to Congress, President Donald Trump has said the US is witnessing a “renewal of the American spirit”.

Adopting a measured, upbeat tone, Donald Trump spoke of a “new chapter of American greatness”.

The Republican president condemned recent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and a hate crime in Kansas that left an Indian man dead.

Donald Trump’s primetime address sought to bolster his low approval ratings after a bumpy start to his fledgling presidency.

At the outset of the hour-long speech, President Trump tackled recent suspected hate crimes, saying “we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its very ugly forms”.

On immigration, Donald Trump dangled the intriguing possibility of a major policy shift towards a goal that eluded his two predecessors, insisting that “real and positive” reform was possible.

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That line came hours after he told news anchors off the record at a White House lunch that he might be open to granting legal status to undocumented immigrants.

In his remarks on Capitol Hill, President Trump also talked tough on the issue, pledging to make US communities safer “by finally enforcing our immigration laws”.

The president defended his early actions in office, touting his moves to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and order work to start on a US-Mexico border wall.

However, the most thunderous ovation of the night came when a war widow wept as Donald Trump paid tribute to her husband.

Navy Seal Ryan Owens died in a US raid on a suspected al-Qaeda base in Yemen, days into Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity,” President Trump told the grieving Carryn Owens, who sobbed and looked upwards.

It was one of the rare moments when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle applauded.

Despite the president’s appeal for both parties to “unite for the good of our country”, Democratic lawmakers mostly sat in silence or openly laughed at parts of the speech.

Donald Trump’s feel-good exhortation for national unity, some noted, was in stark contrast to his doom-laden inauguration speech of a month ago.

In his concluding remarks, Donald Trump – whose political honeymoon has been soured by acrimonious spats with the media – said “the time for trivial fights is behind us”.

Among First Lady Melania Trump’s special guests in the gallery were three California residents whose relatives were killed by people in the US illegally.

At least a dozen Democrats brought as their guests young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

Former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear delivered the Democratic rebuttal to the speech, accusing Republicans of planning to “rip affordable health insurance” from Americans and being “Wall Street’s champion”.

According to RealClearPolitics, Donald Trump’s popularity has hit a historic low for modern presidents after a month in office – just 44% of Americans think he is doing a good job.

In a Fox News interview broadcast earlier on February 28, President Trump gave himself an overall “A plus” for effort, but added that “in terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus”.

Donald Trump’s first month in office was overshadowed by missteps that included a high-profile court defeat to his controversial travel ban and the firing of a top aide.

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