In 2nd State of the Union, Trump says 'we must reject the politics of revenge'

Facing a Congress divided, Trump spoke about support for his border wall and ending the Afghanistan war.
10:18 | 02/06/19

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Transcript for In 2nd State of the Union, Trump says 'we must reject the politics of revenge'
No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year. Reporter: Tonight in the house chamber, an unscripted moment of unity. Clearly catching the president off guard. You weren't supposed to do that. Thank you very much. Reporter: This new congress includes a record number of women, more than 100 of them, a huge block in the Democrats' new majority. Democratic congress women wore all white, their ranks and their determination enhanced. Don't sit yet. You'll like this. Reporter: The president congratulated them. And exactly one century after congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in congress than at any time before. Reporter: The state of the union is usually a display of national unity through gritted teeth. The atmosphere this year especially toxic. Even though on the surface, it was all smiles. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern, not as two parties, but as one nation. Reporter: The president insisted the state of the union is sound, but he also acknowledged deep divisions. An economic miracle is taking place in the United States, and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations. Speaker Nancy Pelosi single handedly delayed this speech for a week over the white house's objections as the trump presidency enters its third year, she could be a major thorn in his side. But instead of throwing down the gauntlet, tonight the president called for unity. There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage together to seize it. Reporter: Tonight justice Kavanaugh was there in the chamber. His presence on the supreme court, one of president trump's proud est trophies, the Democrats haven't forgotten his bitter confirmation fight. Tonight representative Alexandria ocasio-cortez rode along with someone who addressed senator flake. A New Jersey representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, she brought an undocumented immigrant as her guest. Victoria morales is the face of what I believe is the majority of immigrants and undocumenteds in this country. She's hard working, she's honest. She contributes to the community. Reporter: Victorina was employed until recently at Donald Trump's golf course in bedminster, New Jersey. Reporter: Her story first reported in "The New York Times." She's also the face of trump hypocrisy. Reporter: President trump insists illegal immigration isn't just a problem, but a threat. This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all America. Reporter: He still wants his border wall. Walls work, and walls save lives. Reporter: As my colleague Matt gut man has shown on "Nightline" in Reese ent months, the situation along the border is tricky, even in places like yuma, Arizona, where there already is a wall. How high is this wall? This is a 16-foot wall. This is the area on Monday where we had a group of 376 individuals enter the united States illegally, but most of them came under the wall. In my 30 years in the border patrol, I have not been part of arresting a group of 376 people. That's really unheard of. Reporter: The number of people crossing the southern border illegally has declined dramatically since 2006 with a slight uptick in the last year. But the type of people crossing has changed. Families up by 280% from a year ago. Many of them seeking to escape violence and poverty in central America. Tonight president trump stopped short of Dee clearing emergency in order to get approval for his wall. Tonight I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country. Reporter: Among the successes for which the president claimed credit, a booming economy, historically low unemployment, and criminal justice reform. And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking criminal juice reform. Reporter: Among the guests, Alice Johnson, a mother of five, sentenced to prison in 1997 for a nonviolent drug offense. President trump commuted her sentence after a personal oval office plea from Kim Kardashian. Tomorrow will be eight months that I've been a free woman. This time last year, I was sitting inside of a prison cell, so I'm happy to be here. This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community. Reporter: Trump also held out hope for a major long-term goal, finally ending the scourge of HIV AIDS in America. My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the united States within ten years. Reporter: The president spent part of tonight's speech on foreign policy, declaring progress in the fight against ISIS and islamic extremists. Great nations do not fight endless wars. Having overruled some of his generals and ordered U.S. Troops to withdraw from Syria, trump now seems determined to end America's longest war, in Afghanistan. ABC's David Muir was in kabul over the weekend where U.S. Troops continue to fight the Taliban even as political leaders negotiate with the Taliban, hoping to end the war. The political talks, I do think, are positive. I've talked about this fight multiple times and it is a fight. Neither side will win it militarily. If neither side is going to win militarily, you have to move towards a political settlement here. Reporter: Do you think the political talks with the Taliban are a key part of any "End game" here? Absolutely. Reporter: Two years in, president trump has lost some room to maneuver. You have the vote, you should pass it. Reporter: Divided government, plus a groek number of investigations threatens to hamstring him. I, Donald John trump, do slalom solemnly swear -- Reporter: The district of new York subpoenaed documents from the trump inaugural committee. The trump inaugural now joins the trump campaign, the trump foundation, the trump transition and the trump white house in a long list of entities facing criminal investigation. Democrats in congress will help to determine what becomes of these investigations. Tonight the audience included several men and women hoping to replace trump. Doubtful they'll be able to cut trump much slack. The democratic response came from an African-American woman. Stacey Abrams from the Georgia state legislature. I'm Stacey Abrams and I'm running for governor. Because where you come from shouldn't determine how far you can go. Reporter: That's a campaign ad from her recent unsuccessful bid for the Georgia governor's office. "Nightline" spent time with her during the campaign, as her opponent fended off allegations he was trying to suppress the black vote. Mr. Kemp has created an atmosphere of fear around the vitamin right to vote in the state of Georgia. Reporter: Tonight Abrams raised the issue of voting rights again. This is a battle for democracy, one where all eligible citizens should have a say in the vision we want for our country. Reporter: She also sought to pin the blame for the shutdown entirely on the white house. The shutdown was a stunt by the president of the united States, abandoned not just our people, but our values. Reporter: We may not have heard the last of the shutdown. The government due to run out of money again later this month. President trump clearly doesn't want that to happen. I am asking you to choose greatness. Reporter: But as he's already discovered this year, the art of the deal in this environment is very different from what he's accustomed to. Tonight one of his biggest applause lines was his suggestion that it's time for a new approach. We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good. Reporter: Even speaker Pelosi leapt to her feet to endorse that idea. Whether it's more than wishful thinking will depend on her and him. I'm David Wright for "Nightline" in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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