Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics
newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
Leave your feedback
Set aside tone for a moment. That’s getting plenty of attention. In President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress on Tuesday night, we noticed something different: the sheer number of topics he covered.
PBS NewsHour counted 46 separate topics in the roughly hour-long speech. Some topics, like immigration, earned several paragraphs of attention. Others, like “clean air” or “coal miners,” received somewhere between two and a dozen words total. We admit that counting topics is subjective, but we aimed to avoid duplication and to choose items that are clear nouns and tangible concerns, not aspirational turns of phrase.
Why does this matter? Presidential speeches to Congress are important indicators of the commander-in-chief’s priorities. Yes, these remarks often contain laundry lists of proposals. But 46 topics in an hour is significant by any measure.
With that, here is our list of the 46 topics the 45th president and his White House staff put in the spotlight.
1. Civil rights, including threats and vandalism against the Jewish community and the Kansas City shooting
2. The shrinking middle class
3. Inner city children, especially in Chicago, Baltimore, and Detroit
4. U.S. borders
5. Veterans care
6. Rebuilding the military
7. The opioid epidemic
8. Cost of the F-35 fighter
9. Federal hiring freeze
10. His five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials
11. Cutting regulations
12. Supporting the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, and using American steel
13. Coal miners*
14. Trade, and Trans-Pacific Partnership
15. Women entrepreneurs
16. Task force to reduce crime, dismantle cartels
17. Enforcing immigration laws, targeting criminals
18. Building a wall on the southern border
19. Protecting the U.S. from radical Islamic terrorism
20. Fighting the Islamic State, working with the Muslim world
21. Iran’s ballistic missile program
22. U.S. alliance with Israel
23. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch
24. Americans living in poverty
25. Financial crises, current and past
26. National debt
27. Trade deficit
28. Tax reform
29. Harley Davidson
30. Incentives for companies to stay in the U.S.
31. Creating new jobs
32. Switching to a merit-based immigration system
33. $1 trillion national infrastructure rebuilding program
34. Affordable Care Act, five principles for replacement
35. Accessible childcare*
36. Paid family leave*
37. Women’s health*
38. Clean air, clean water*
39. Rare diseases and the drug approval process
40. Education, especially school choice
41. The murder rate (in 2015)
42. Supporting law enforcement
43. Special office to support victims of crime
44. Ryan Owens, the Navy SEAL killed in a raid in Yemen in January
45. NATO, especially on covering its share of costs
46. Refugees and displaced persons, and the need for them to be able to return home
Read a full transcript of the president’s speech here.
Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work.
Support Provided By: