What Trump Will Say in His First State of the Union Address

With a booming economy and growing consumer confidence, but a polarized Congress, president speaks to nation Tuesday

by Jim Stinson | Updated 29 Jan 2018 at 6:09 PM

President Donald Trump will tout the growing economy, the need for better infrastructure, and his overall foreign policy agenda on Tuesday night in his first official State of the Union address before Congress and the nation.

Trump will stress an inclusive agenda, as he did last year in an address to Congress shortly after he took office.

The glowing reviews from that Feb. 28, 2017, address are likely still on Trump's mind. A similar pitch to all Americans could generate more such headlines.

This time, though, Trump will seek to make the positive headlines stick. Last year, Trump enjoyed some positive press from his address, but then matters deteriorated by the weekend when the president became angry over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the so-called Russia collusion investigation.

Trump further complicated matters when, later that week, he accused former President Barack Obama's administration of wiretapping him. Regardless of the veracity of the claim, Trump's tweets harmed his messaging after the speech before Congress.

This time, look for Trump to emphasize the growing economy, tax cuts, deregulation, national defense, and infrastructure. Trump is also likely to urge Democrats to compromise with him on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama executive order he revoked not long after taking office. The order protected some 800,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Trump reportedly plans to discuss DACA "with heart." He will tell Congress that with compromise will come a path to citizenship for the DACA recipients, often called dreamers, a reference to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

It's an important bargaining chip to advance, as congressional Democrats must give up some ground to Trump to get a legitimate legislative codification of DACA. Trump will reportedly ask for an end to chain migration by extended families of immigrants. Trump will also ask for funding for the wall along the southern border.

"The partisan fights, like Obamacare and tax cuts, are behind," said a source close to Trump, speaking to Axios. "Now everything requires cooperation and agreement."

For President Trump, the stakes are high. He faces a midterm election in the fall, and Democrats are slightly favored to win enough seats to take back the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010.

Buttering up Congress could help Trump if one of the chambers goes to the Democrats in the fall.

Related: Larry Kudlow: 'Trump Is Ending Obama's War on Business'

One of the sticks of butter could be infrastructure. Trump wants to spend $1 trillion on projects such as roads, bridges, and maybe even internet upgrades such as 5G wireless. Such projects tend to create jobs in cities and counties all over the nation, and Democrats would be hard-pressed to resist a feasible infrastructure bill.

Trump also faces a skeptical and liberal media — which are eager to watch him fail, stumble, make a gaffe or advance a policy decision they loathe. But last year, in a rare occurrence, the media generally lauded Trump for his tone — until later in the year.

The Left is still riled up. Protesters plan to target Trump's motorcade along Independence Avenue.

This time, Trump is coming off an unexpected victory earlier this month in a brief government shutdown the Senate Democrats provoked. Trump held his tongue in that shutdown, causing Democrats to retreat on the third day, so he enters this address to Congress with some newfound political capital.

But the Left is still riled up. Protesters plan to target Trump's motorcade along Independence Avenue, according to the Washington Examiner.

"Resist DC" will line the street, jeer the motorcade, and hit it with flashlight beams, the Examiner reports. The protesters have even been instructed to use their lights to target the side of the limousine on which Trump sits.

PoliZette White House writer Jim Stinson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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