What to expect at Trump's first State of the Union address

Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty ImagesDonald Trump.
  • US President Donald Trump is delivering his first State of the Union address Tuesday night.
  • He says it will cover “a lot of territory.”
  • The state of the union is “incredible,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

President Donald Trump says his initial State of the Union address to Congress will cover “a lot of territory.”

Certainly, it can be expected that such territory will include boasts about economic success during his first year in office, the Republican tax plan, and his victories on the judicial nominations front. He’ll also be sure to discuss his plans for trade, immigration, and infrastructure, the three policy areas his White House seems staunchly focused on for 2018.

In addition, CNN reported that Trump will make “eye-opening” remarks regarding North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.

“We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory, including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut,” Trump told reporters on Monday. “And it’s a big speech, an important speech, we covered immigration.”

“And for many years, for many, many years they have been talking immigration, they never got anything done, we’re going to get something done, we hope,” he continued. “It’s got to be bipartisan because the Republicans really don’t have the votes to get it done in any other way, so it has to be bipartisan. But hopefully the Democrats will join us, or enough of them will join us, so we can really do something great, for [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program] and for immigration generally.”

He went on to say it will be a “very important speech on trade,” adding that “you probably noticed we’re stopping” unfair practices.

State of the Union addresses typically serve as the president’s opportunity to present Congress with a laundry list of requests for the upcoming year and give the American people an idea of what to expect their government to push for. Presidents also tend to prop up their recent achievements and declare that “the state of the union is strong.”

The speeches tend to be a bit more upbeat and optimistic as well, which can, at times, be a far cry from Trump’s usual rhetoric on the state of the nation’s affairs. And Trump has also been known to veer from his script from time to time.

Asked during Monday’s press briefing what the White House thought the State of the Union is today, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she thinks “it’s incredible.”

“And I think that you’ll hear that in the president’s words tomorrow night,” she continued. “Look, we’ve got an economy that is booming. ISIS is on the run. We’re remaking the judiciary in a way that actually believes in upholding the Constitution. There are some great things happening in this country, and I think you can expect to hear the president talk about a lot of those – not only what we’ve been able to do in the first year, but all of the great things that we’re going to do in the next seven years after this.”

Also on Monday, Axios cited a Trump source as saying this speech was “time to appear as commander-in-chief and leader of the whole nation.”

“So expect calls to patriotism and national security and national greatness,” the source said.

Another major storyline from the address will not only be what Trump says, but who he is saying it to. The president’s entire family, aside from his youngest son Barron, will be in attendance. Both Trump and first lady Melania Trump invited as guests individuals who were the beneficiaries of tax reform, families who were the victims of violence at the hands of MS-13 gang members, and a retired Marine who suffered blindness and an amputation after stepping on an improvised explosive device, among others.

Then, there are those who will be skipping out on the speech. A handful of Democrats have already announced they will not attend, while others suggested they may walk out during the address.

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