As President Donald Trump goes before Congress on Tuesday night for his first State of the Union Address, the White House plans to use that nationwide speech to both run down his accomplishments from his first year in office, and to talk about action on some of his major policy goals moving forward.
“People will be reminded – in some cases, surprised – but will be reminded about how much President Trump has accomplished in his first year for all Americans,” a Senior Trump Administration Official told reporters Friday in a background briefing on the President’s speech.
The focus for the President will be on five main themes, the tax cuts approved in December, Mr. Trump’s push for a deal on DACA and immigration, his calls for revised trade agreements with other countries, national security, and a $1 trillion infrastructure package.
“The theme of the State of the Union is building a safe, strong, and proud America,” reporters were told at the White House in a Friday background briefing.
No matter the venue – whether it’s a speech, a meeting at the White House, or in interviews with reporters – the President likes to rattle off the things that he has achieved, and this speech should be no different, when it comes to taxes and regulations.
“The American economy is by far the largest in the world, and we’ve just enacted the most significant tax cuts and reform in American history,” the President said in a Friday speech in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum.
“I pledged to eliminate two unnecessary regulations for every one new regulation,” the President said Friday. “We have succeeded beyond our highest expectations,” in a line that seems likely to be repeated on Tuesday night.
At a Friday briefing, officials repeatedly said that if you want clues about what the President will say, and the themes that will be delivered on Tuesday night before Congress and the nation, then look to that speech in Switzerland.
Trade is another likely example.
“The President has consistently talked about how the United States is going to be insisting on fair and reciprocal trade,” a Senior Administration official said.
Asked for background and color on what aides were helping the President to put together his speech, officials refused to give any hints.
“You know we don’t want to go into talking about the process because it’s a never-ending set of questions,” said a Senior Administration Official.
While the President is again expected to talk about infrastructure, the White House has not yet sent Congress a plan on how $1 trillion in new roads and bridges would be financed – last week, the figure of $1.7 trillion was also floated.
On immigration, Mr. Trump will definitely speak about his efforts to spur action in the Congress on a plan to deal with younger illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” in exchange for tougher immigration enforcement, and billions for his border wall.
“That certainly will be addressed in his speech,” an official said.
Mr. Trump spoke to a joint session of Congress in 2017 – but it was not an official State of the Union Address. Like a year ago, the Tuesday night speech is expected to last about an hour.