State of the Union 2020

By Meg Wagner

Updated 2:25 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020
20 Posts
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2:25 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Why Democratic lawmakers raised three fingers during this moment of Trump's speech

From CNN's Tami Luhby

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump urged lawmakers to come up with legislation to lower prescription drug prices — a demand that prompted some Democratic lawmakers to stand up with three fingers in the air.

The three fingers were for HR 3. That bill — now titled the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, in memory of the Maryland congressman who passed away last year — would empower the Health & Human Services secretary to negotiate annually for the best prices on at least 50 costly brand-name drugs and up to 250 medications, including insulin. Prices would be capped at 1.2 times their cost in certain other developed countries.

And it would require drug companies to pay a rebate to the federal government if their prices increase faster than inflation. The plan would impact drug prices for all Americans, not just Medicare enrollees.

Watch the moment:

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect when Elijah Cummings died. It was October 2019.

11:06 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Trump awards Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his speech

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

During his State of the Union address, President Trump presented political radio host Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Democrats yelled “no” when the President announced it.

Limbaugh, 69, announced yesterday that he is beginning treatment for lung cancer. He is a Republican party icon and a close ally of President Trump's.

"Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness. Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet," Trump said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.

He then asked first Lady Melania Trump to present him with the honor.

People close to Trump say he personally enjoys granting his friends the nation's highest civilian honor. He bestowed the award upon seven recipients in 2019, and several more the year prior.

Watch moment here:

9:52 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Trump promises to protect patients with pre-existing conditions

From CNN's Tami Luhby

President Trump is talking about health care during his State of the Union address, promising to protect American's Medicare plans and patients with pre-existing conditions.

"I've also made an ironclad pledge to American families we will also protect patients with pre-existing conditions," Trump said.

Trump has made this promise before: President Trump has repeatedly promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions — even as he has sought to kill the Affordable Care Act — which greatly expanded those safeguards.

The Affordable Care Act barred insurers in the individual market from denying people policies or charging them higher premiums because of their health histories. Also, carriers had to provide comprehensive coverage — offering 10 essential health benefits, including maternity, mental health and prescription drugs.

Trump has sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act from his first day in office. And his Justice Department is siding with a coalition of Republican states that are fighting in federal court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.

Read more here.

9:47 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Fact check: Trump said the US has gained 12,000 factories since he took office. That's correct.

From CNN's Daniel Dale

Leah Millis/Pool via AP
Leah Millis/Pool via AP

Trump said that after losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories during his time in office.  

Facts First: Both figures are correct, though it’s worth noting that the numbers include both large traditional factories and tiny facilities that produce goods with fewer than five employees. 

There are different ways to measure the number of “manufacturing establishments” in the country. According to the Census Bureau's Statistics of US Businesses data series, the number of manufacturing establishments in the US fell by 61,076 between 2001, the beginning of the George W. Bush administration -- when there were 352,619 establishments-- and 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration, when there were 291,543 establishments. That's a reduction of about 17%. 

Another government measure, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, shows an increase of 12,074 in the number of manufacturing establishments between the first quarter of 2017 (343,972), when Trump took office, and the second quarter of 2019, the most recent data available (356,046). 

9:40 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Trump welcomes Venezuela's "true and legitimate president"

 Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
 Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó is in the audience at the State of the Union address tonight.

He's a guest of President Trump.

"Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó," Trump said.

There was a long applause, and then Trump added:

"Please take this message back: That all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom. Thank you very much, Mr. President. Socialism destroys nations. But always remember, freedom unifies the soul."

Watch the moment here:

9:38 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Democrats are audibly groaning in the tense House chamber

From CNN's Manu Raju

As President Trump boasts about the economy and takes credit, Democrats can be heard groaning.

The atmosphere is very tense. Democrats are not applauding, other than a few

As the President boasted about welfare stats, Democrats were heard objecting. Republicans howled in support.

By CNN's count, there were 16 GOP standing ovations until there was one bipartisan standing ovation applauding guest Tony Rankins. 

Also West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is one of the lone Democrats sitting on GOP side of the aisle.

9:39 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Fact check: The US did not become the world's top energy producer under Trump

From CNN's Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam

Leah Millis/Pool via AP
Leah Millis/Pool via AP

In his State of the Union address, President Trump talked up the production of oil and gas in the US during his time in office. 

“Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world, by far,” Trump said. 

Facts FirstThe US did not become the world's top energy producer under Trump: It took the top spot under the Obama administration in 2012, according to the US government's Energy Information Administration. 

The US became the top producer of crude oil in particular during Trump's tenure.

"The United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2009, when US natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and it has been the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when its production exceeded Saudi Arabia's," the Energy Information Administration says.

9:23 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

The designated survivor is the interior secretary

From CNN's Allie Malloy

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Tonight's designated survivor is Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt

Every year the administration appoints one member of the Cabinet to remain outside the House chamber during the State of the Union in case disaster strikes.

9:16 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Nancy Pelosi extended her hand to Trump. He didn't take it.

Patrick Semansky/AP
Patrick Semansky/AP

As President Trump took his place at the front of the House chamber for his State of the Union address, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — who is seated behind him — reached out to shake his hand.

Trump did not take it.

Pelosi confirmed today that she hasn’t spoken to the President since the infamous White House Syria meeting — the one where the White House released a picture of her standing up and pointing at him, which she immediately owned and made her profile picture.

That was October — almost four months ago.

“You mean where he circulated the picture of me saying 'All roads lead to Putin' that one? Is that what we’re talking about? ... We haven’t spoken since then,” said Pelosi.

Since then, the House — under Pelosi's leadership — approved two articles of impeachment against Trump.

See the exchange here: