Politics

Trump’s best state of the union ad-libs

From his tweets to lively rallies, President Trump is known for connecting with his base by going off script, as if he's engaging in conversation rather than delivering a speech.

That signature communication style also appeared in his first State of the Union address, where he layered the more formal words of his speech writers with casual, sometimes humorous, ad-libbed Trump-isms. We’ve annotated the president’s most lively off-script additions and removals of the night by comparing his prepared remarks with the words he actually spoke.

Cover image: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post

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With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House — a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise. I think they like you, Steve.

The White House

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One of Staub's employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight. Corey is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder. Like many hard-working Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax‑cut raise into his new home and his two daughters' education. Please join me in congratulating Corey.Corey, please stand. And he's a great welder. I was told that by the man that owns that company that's doing so well. So congratulations, Corey.

The Washington Post

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Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided all by himself to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. And I met Preston a little while ago, and he is something very special. That I can tell you. Great future. Thank you very much for all you've done, Preston.

The Washington Post

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Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama, a big one, and we haven't seen this in a long time. It's all coming back. Very soon, auto plants and other plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are totally unaccustomed to hearing — for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming backroaring back, they are coming back. They want to be where the action is in the United States of America.

The White House

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Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminalscriminal gangs, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, these are great people. These are great, great people. That work so hard in the midst of great danger, so that this can ever happen again.

The Washington Post

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Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country: Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez — he goes by CJ DJ and CJ. He said call me either one. So we'll call you CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off of our streets. Tough job. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ's murder and they wanted it to happen quickly.

The Washington Post

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But he did not cave to threats or to fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13 gang members and I have to tell you what the Border Patrol and ICE have done. We have sent thousands and thousands and thousands of MS-13 horrible people out of this country or into our prisons.

The Washington Post

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CJ: Great work.So I just want to congratulate you CJ. You're a brave guy. Thank you very much. And I asked CJ, "What's the secret?" He said “We're just tougher than they are.” And I liked that answer.Now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements.Now let's get Congress to send you -- and all of the people in this great chamber, have to do it, we have no choice -- CJ, we're going to send you reinforcements and we're going to send them to you quickly.

The White House