As he condemned political turmoil in Venezuela, Trump declared that "America will never be a socialist country" - a remark that may also have been targeted at high-profile Democrats who identify as socialists. "The decision is ours to make".
Trump used part of his speech to offer a spirit of compromise, but whether Trump and his opponents would follow through was far from clear with both sides entrenched in long-held positions and girding for 2020 elections.
"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there can not be war and investigation", Trump said.
There was much speculation as to what the president's speech might cover. This year, with Democrat Nancy Pelosi the new speaker, Trump started his address without her introduction.
With another shutdown looming next week unless Trump can strike a deal with Democrats over his proposed border wall, the president shied away from calling a national emergency to build the wall. As he and his team drafted his address in recent days, he has groused about the text, complaining that it was too gentle on Democrats, according to people briefed on the matter.
Stacey Abrams stepped onto the biggest stage of her political career Tuesday and accused President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans of abandoning working Americans and fomenting partisan and cultural discord.
President Donald Trump waves to the audience before delivering the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Trump's guests for the speech included Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence for drug offenses was commuted by the president, and Joshua Trump, a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Delaware, who has been bullied over his last name.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY invited Lt. Cmdr. Pelosi packed the gallery with some of Trump's sharpest critics, including Dr Leana Wen, the head of Planned Parenthood; chef Jose Andres, who has become a vocal critic of the administration's immigration policies; and five labor leaders.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-avowed democratic socialist, reacted sharply to Trump's declaration - and it was caught on camera. After that, she just began talking about the shutdown (which Trump didn't mention in the SOTU).
So sure, thank you, Trump. To them, his words about illegal immigrants make building a border barrier to keep them out "immoral" and antithetical to their view of America's traditional values.
The nationally televised address gave Trump his biggest opportunity to date to explain why he believes a barrier is needed on the USA southern border with Mexico.
In addition, the issue is more important to other major Democratic constituencies - younger Democrats are more likely than younger Republicans to say abortion is important to them, and minority voters are more likely than white voters to say the same.
Trump is staring down a two-year stretch that will determine whether he is re-elected or leaves office in defeat. He pressed Congress to approve his new trade pact with Canada and Mexico updating the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump seemed to have unintentionally given them the opening to gloat. "Americans understand that these are the values our courageous men and women in uniform and our veterans risk their lives to defend".