Donald Trump delivers first speech to US Congress

President Trump called his address "a message of unity and strength"

Donald Trump delivers first speech to US Congress

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. Picture by Alex Brandon AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has pledged a "renewal of the American spirit" as he laid out a series of bold promises in his first speech to Congress.

As well as rebuilding America's military, the President pledged to extinguish the "vile enemy" that is ISIS and provide "massive" tax relief for the middle class.

He called on Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare in order to "expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better healthcare".

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shook her head as Mr Trump criticised the law she helped Barack Obama to introduce.

The President offered little detail on the new healthcare plan he has promised to deliver since being elected.

He said: "We should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts - but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our government."

Also in the audience was Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, who was killed in raid in Yemen a week after Trump took office.

Mrs Owens attended the address as Mr Trump's guest. She was moved to tears as the President praised her husband as a hero.

Her appearance follows reports that Chief Petty Officer Owens' father refused to meet the President and has called for an investigation into his son's death.

"Message of unity and strength"

President Trump called this "a message of unity and strength", emphasising the importance of civil rights and the need to unite against "hate and evil in all its forms".

He condemned the recent attacks and threats targeting Jewish community centres and the hate crime in Kansas in which an Indian man was killed.

After a rocky first month in office this was the new President's opportunity to boost record low approval ratings.

He reeled off a list of achievements so far, such as executive orders to reduce regulations, resuming oil and gas pipeline construction, new lobbying restrictions and a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Democrats stayed seated as Mr Trump's own party rose to their feet in frequent applause.

Democratic Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump spoke like a populist but his speeches and the realities are "very far apart".

While the address stuck to his previous messages, the President seemed more sober in his delivery, sticking to the script and steering clear of the explosive rhetoric of his campaign.