Things to Watch For at the State of the Union


Delivering the speech at the midway point of a three-week reprieve, his message will be colored by the prospect of yet another shutdown. But the same poll show Trump's supporters overwhelmingly favor both options.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who won plaudits from Democrats for her hardline negotiating tactics during the shutdown, will be seated behind the president - a visual reminder of Trump's political opposition and the coming tide of Democratic challengers in 2020. Numerous newly elected lawmakers are determined to impeach Trump and hold firm against the sort of border wall spending, a symbolic red line for many in the party.

He said separately that "on the 15th we have now set the table beautifully because everybody knows what's going on because of the shutdown".

Sunday, Trump said he could call for a national emergency, bypassing Congress to fund the wall, which could spark legal challenges. That's because Trump likely will describe his time in office as, in the words of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday, "two of the most successful years under a first-term president". "The state of the Trump administration is embroiled in chaos and incompetence".

Although Trump had nothing on his public schedule, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says Trump has meetings Tuesday, including with his chief of staff.

Democrats, however, view the wall within a broader context that includes the president's hardline rhetoric about illegal immigration since he was a presidential candidate.

Some of Trump's own fellow conservatives are urging Trump not to declare an emergency.

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"I don't take anything off the table", Trump said in the interview.

The theme of Tuesday's speech, a senior administration official told reporters in a Friday briefing, is "choosing greatness", and the President is expected to make an appeal for unity in a "bipartisan, optimistic" tone for his first State of the Union address to a divided Congress. He will also give an update on trade talks with the Chinese.

After weeks of mounting anticipation-coupled with a tragic delay as President Trump and Nancy Pelosi squabbled over the erstwhile government shutdown-it's finally time to strap in for the Super Bowl of national politics, a presidential speech that, for pomp, melodrama, and a total lack of subtlety or irony, is always guaranteed to put the Big Game to shame.

Trump and his top aides have also hinted that he is likely to use the address to announce a major milestone in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Trump's tax reform is credited with boosting economic spending.

Several Democrats have invited guests to the speech to highlight various causes, majority at odds with Trump's policies.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and a chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is bringing a climate change scientist. That's become even more hard as all the Trump scandals continue to metastasize, with federal prosecutors sending out another flurry of subpoenas this week, this time looking into possible grift and money laundering around Trump's inauguration. House Republicans stripped King of his committee seats and some called on him to resign.