MINNEAPOLIS -- President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech Tuesday, sticking with familiar themes about rebuilding the nation and putting US citizens first.
He also laid out new initiatives on infrastructure investment and immigration reform. And, for the most part, he stuck to the script released to the news media as he was stepping to the podium.
"He came across as a traditional Republican, with an emphasis on the economy, taxes, veterans and the police, absolutely," Kathryn Pearson, a professor of political science and Congressional expert at the University of Minnesota, told KARE.
"Though, that said, we didn't hear a lot about the debt or deficit, which have been classic Republican themes."
The president proposed a $1.5 trillion investment in roads, bridges, ports and other public works infrastructure, but also wants a provision to shorten the government reviews of such projects.
"President Trump did spend some time on the infrastructure plan, and did suggest that it’s bipartisan, and this is an area where bipartisan cooperation is possible," Pearson remarked.
On the immigration front, the president insisted that all reforms must work to benefit US citizens.
"My duty and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber is to defend Americans, to protect their safety, their families, their communities and their right to the American dream, because Americans are dreamers too," Trump told the nation.
The word "Dreamers" is often used to describe undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children before 2007. Roughly 800,000 of those young immigrants enrolled in the Obama Administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program which allowed them to legally go to school and work here.
President Trump scuttled DACA, effective March 5, leaving those immigrants in legal limbo, facing the possibility of deportation. Democrats agreed to end the most recent government shutdown only after being assured DACA would be taken up in the Senate during early February.
Trump announced Tuesday night he's ready to support a path to citizenship, over a time period of 12 years, for 1.8 million of those Dreamers. But in exchange, he's asking for things that may be a tough sell with Democrats.
"Most of the target audience, in terms of what President Trump was saying about immigrants were Republicans," Pearson explained.
"Democrats, of course, have a keen interest in the path to citizenship for the Dreamers. But in order to have that compromise, President Trump also mentioned the wall, ending what is called chain migration, and replacing the immigration lottery system with a merit-based lottery system --- things the Democrats will be less supportive of."
The president wants more border security, including a full wall on the US-Mexico border and more Border Patrol agents.
"Chain migration" is the concept of new immigrants sponsoring relatives to join them. Trump wants to limit that type of migration to spouses and children of immigrants.
He also proposed replacing the immigration lottery with a merit-based system, one that would favor those immigrants with higher levels of income, education and English language skills.
Before the president outlined the blueprint for immigration reform, he introduced the parents of two Long Island high school girls who were murdered, allegedly by members of the MS-13 street gang. He blamed loopholes in immigration laws for the existence of MS-13 and other violent drug smuggling gangs.