“I’d say to Congress, the tone will be one of bipartisanship,” a senior administration official told reporters in Friday a background call previewing the upcoming State of the Union address, three hours after President Trump tweeted Democratic Minority Leader “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer took such a beating” in the recent government shutdown.
As Washington prepares for Mr. Trump’s first State of the Union speech Tuesday, the president marks a first year in office characterized by attacks not just on Democrats, but slights of lawmakers in his own party. Over the last year, Mr. Trump has attacked not just Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in general on Twitter, but also Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee.
Still, the president needs the support of Congress as he looks towards for major infrastructure funding, border wall funding and other priorities Mr. Trump has placed on his agenda for 2018. Congress and the administration only have weeks to find a legislative solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and some Democrats and Republicans have already all but deemed the legislative framework the White House presented Thursday as dead on arrival.
Complicating matters, the New York Times reported Thursday night that Mr. Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller in June but backed off after White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign — something that isn’t likely to help win support from Democrats, even if the president has shown no sign recently that he still intends to get rid of Mueller.
Here are the things the American public can expect to hear in Mr. Trump’s first State of the Union speech.
“You can expect the president will be speaking from the heart,” the senior administration official said.
Mr. Trump will focus on opportunities lifting up all Americans, and review his accomplishments in the first year, the official told reporters. Specifically, Trump’s State of the Union address will focus on five major policy areas:
1. Jobs and the economy
The president will discuss how the economy is faring under his leadership, specifically focusing on deregulation efforts and the tax cuts passed in 2017.
The president has said he wants a $1.7 trillion infrastructure deal — however, the details the White House has laid out so far give no proposal on how to pay for it. The senior administration official called it a trillion-dollar plan, but could not give an exact figure.
On Thursday, the White House rolled out a bare-bones legislative framework on immigration. The must-have list includes $25 billion for a trust fund for a border wall and other border security measures, a path to citizenship for 1.8 million “Dreamers,” an end to what the White House calls “chain migration,” and an end to the diversity visa lottery system.
The president plans to address his vision of America first on trade. Expect his remarks to reiterate the points he made in his address in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday. There, he promoted the notion of America first — but not America alone. The theme of that speech was “America is open for business.” He invited other countries to invest in in the U.S. and said he wanted to negotiate “mutually beneficial” bilateral trade agreements, and expressed a willingness to revisit the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) “if it is in the interests of all.”
5. National security
The president will emphasize rebuilding the military, and promoting peace through strength. He will also discuss a return to clarity in who America’s friends and adversaries are, the senior administration official said.
Missing from that policy preview list was health care. The senior administration official declined to say whether that would be included in the president’s address. After the GOP failed multiple times to repeal and replace Obamacare last year, Congress appears to be moving on to other matters.
The president will, however, mention the opioid crisis ravaging the country — and he will have a guest at the speech who is affected by that crisis, the official said.
The State of the Union address starts at 9 p.m. EDT, CBS News live coverage starts at 5 p.m.
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