WASHINGTON – For the first time in his presidency, Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address to a divided Congress. The president didn't flinch as he faced a House of Representatives led by Democrats who have recently pushed for late-term abortions.
Trump boldly pushed back on that agenda, saying America's leaders need to "work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life." The president then called on Congress to pass legislation to prohibit late-term abortions.
"Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth," Trump said. "These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world."
"And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth," the president continued. "All children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God."
The Case for a Border Wall
The commander in chief also broke down his vision for safe and legal immigration, demanding a wall be constructed along America's southern border.
He illustrated his point by hosting the family members of Gerald and Sharon David, an elderly couple murdered in their Nevada home just last month by an immigrant who was in the US illegally.
"I will never forget, and I will fight for the memory of Gerald and Sharon, that it should never happen again," Trump said. "Not one more American life should be lost because our nation failed to control its very dangerous border."
"Simply put – walls save lives," he stated. "In the past, most people in this room voted for a wall – but the proper wall never got built. I'll get it built."
Meanwhile, the future of the wall still remains in question as congressional negotiators continue to work on a deal to prevent another government shutdown.
In the Democrats' response to the president's address, former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams placed blame for the recent closing of the government directly on the president.
"The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people – but our values," she charged.
Healthcare and the Economy
Trump struck a bipartisan tone when talking about rebuilding America, fighting cancer, eradicating HIV, lowering the cost of healthcare and his handling of the economy.
"An economic miracle is happening in the United States," he declared. "The only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations."
President Trump got a standing ovation from both sides after stating women have filled more than 50 percent of new jobs created in the last year. "We also have more women in the Congress than ever before," he said.
Trump then reaffirmed his determination to protect American interests and end foreign wars.
To that end, the president confirmed his second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam. "If I had not been elected president of the US, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea," he said.
State of the Union Draws Mixed Reaction from Lawmakers
Meanwhile, lawmakers' reactions to the president's State of the Union address fell along partisan lines.
Republicans praised the president's remarks. "It was very inspirational," remarked Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).
Rep. Mark Walker (R-AL) agreed, saying, "He did a great job."
Likewise, Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) noted, "The president did an outstanding job. To me, he knocked it out of the park."
Democrats, however, were not impressed, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) slamming the president's call for unity even before the speech.
"The president hasn't been acting on unity for two years, up and down the line," the New York lawmaker charged. "Let's see what happens tomorrow and the day after and the day after, because in the past, he's called for unity and forgotten about it the day after."
Democrats also took the president to task for his suggestion that "foolish wars, politics" and "ridiculous partisan investigations" like the Russia probe were hindering Congress from doing its job.
"If there is going to peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way!" Trump said during Tuesday night's address.
But Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), who sits on the House Oversight Committee, told CBN News his party is intent on keeping its foot on the investigation pedal. "That's my constitutionally prescribed duty to conduct oversight," he said. "The American people hired us to be in the majority to serve as a check and balance on the Trump administration."
A Glimmer of Hope for Bipartisan Unity
Still, Democrats acknowledged they supported some of the president's remarks and that unity might just be possible – even in the most divisive area.
"First of all, I have to say one thing that really stuck out was the president never said, 'I'm going to have a shutdown if I don't get my $5.7 billion dollars of fence' – he never said that. I think that's a message to my Republican colleauges that we can sit down, negotiate on border security. We are going to put billions of dollars, but it's not going to be billions of dollars on a fence," Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) told CBN News.
The Texas lawmaker serves on the bipartisan conference committee that's currently negotiating the compromise bill for border security.
"We have to find a balance between our neighbor to the south and at the same time...have security, and I feel very confident that if we put the technology, the personnel, and, I'll say this as a Democrat find ways to do enhanced physical barriers, we can get there," Cuellar said.
He's one of just a handful of Democrats pleased to hear the president re-affirm his commitment to protecting the unborn.
"I'm one of four, five, six Democrats - I'm pro-life. I'll do whatever I can to make sure we protect life, but I do know the makeup of House and you have to get to 60 over there (in the Senate) – and so to get to where the president wants to get to might be difficult at this time," he acknowledged.
Many Republicans supported the president's strong pro-life statements as well.
"He talked about the unborn; I was very appreciative of that moment, too," Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) told CBN News. "To recognize that life is precious and that it should be protected, unlike what's going on in New York and Virginia. So those were all very inspiring moments."
However, the high from this year's address will be short-lived for Republicans if lawmakers fail to reach a compromise by the end of next week to prevent another government shutdown.