President to speak on economic progress in State of the Union

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington (AP Photo/ J. David Ake, File)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is set to take part in the time honored tradition of delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and the nation. The White House insists the speech will stress bi-partisanship and have a positive tone.

According to The Associated Press, the President will herald a robust economy and push for bipartisan action on immigration.

The speech marks the ceremonial kickoff of Mr. Trump’s second year in office and is traditionally a President’s biggest platform to speak to the nation. But since the election, he has redefined presidential communications via Twitter and there’s no guarantee that the carefully crafted speech will resonate beyond his next tweet.

Still, White House officials are hopeful he can use the prime-time address to Congress and millions of Americans watching at home to take credit for a soaring economy. The President says that the tax overhaul he signed into law late last year has boosted business confidence and will lead companies to reinvest in the United States.

Among the talking points we are expecting: A promise of improved trade deals,a $1.7 trillion plan to revitalize infrastructure, and a request to Congress for $25 billion to construct a border wall with Mexico. In exchange, he’ll offer a deal on DACA by paving the way towards citizenship for 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants. Though that’s something even he admits will be a challenge politically.

“It’s gotta be bi-partisan because the Republicans really don’t have the votes to get it done.”

When asked Monday about his first State of the Union address, the President said to reporters “I hope you like it.”

“We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut.”

The Russia investigation, though, threatens to overshadow the speech with news Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release a memo critical of the FBI. The White House insists this is not a topic the President needs to touch on Tuesday night.

“I think we’ve addressed it every single day that we’ve been here,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

While most Democrats in Congress are expected to attend the speech, there is a growing list of those who say they are choosing to boycott, including Congressman Steve Cohen.

“I’ve spent 38 years in elected public office, helping make government work and speaking out against corruption because I believe, as President John F. Kennedy believed, that politics is an honorable profession. The current President is the antithesis of that sensibility: a man who appears determined to tear government down, harm the most vulnerable, benefit the rich and destroy foundational institutions such as the Department of Justice and the FBI,” he said in a released statement.

“The President is unworthy of the podium, the position and the power.

“For that reason, I will be joining Rep. John Lewis and ten of my colleagues in boycotting Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress tonight, instead flying home to my district to hear the last of it, and the Democratic response by Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III.”

Mr. Trump is also using the address to help raise funds for his re-election campaign. On Monday, he promised supporters who donate that their name will be flashed up on the screen during a live stream of the event on the official Trump campaign website.

The Democratic response to the President’s address will be delivered by Massachusetts Representative Joe Kennedy III. He’s the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator. He is also the great nephew of President John F. Kennedy.