US President Donald Trump will focus on key issues like immigration, national security and trade and call for unity in a hugely divided Congress in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday as he begins the second half of his first term in the White House.
Contrary to his aggressive tweets and his frequent lashing out against the opposition Democratic leadership, Trump intends to portray a picture of national unity in resolving the challenges being faced by the country, officials familiar with preparations for the State of the Union Address said on Monday.
The annual State of the Union address is the keynote prime time speech by the president to the Congress in which he sets out his legislative agenda and national priorities for the next year and highlights his achievements to the American people.
The speech on Tuesday night (7:30 am IST on Wednesday) will be Trump’s third to a Joint Session of Congress. His initial appearance on February 28, 2017 was weeks after his inauguration on January 20, and not considered a formal State of the Union.
“Together we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make,” Trump will say in his address, according to the excerpts of the speech.
The president and the Democrats had a record 35-day standoff with the Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over his proposed controversial wall along the US-Mexico border, which shut down the government and postponed the address which was earlier scheduled on January 29.
And watching Trump from the House will be 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Kamala Harris, the first Indian-origin Senator and Tusli Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress.
China issue will figure prominently in his address, for 60 and 90 minutes.
The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade spat since early 2018, raising import tariffs on each other’s goods.
Last year, Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on USD 250 billion of Chinese goods. The move prompted China to increase tariffs on USD 110 billion of American goods.
He will update Congress on the upcoming second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, developments in Venezuela and withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
“In his address, the president will cast an inspiring vision of American greatness. He will outline a policy agenda that both parties can rally behind to achieve this vision,” a senior administration official said.
Safe and legal immigration system; protecting American workers, rebuilding America with infrastructure; lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs; and protecting America’s national security, are expected to be the major topics in his speech.
He will also reaffirm his determination to stop illegal immigration, human trafficking, and the flow of drugs and crime.
“The President will update Congress on our trading relationship with China. He will also call on Congress to replace the NAFTA agreement disaster by approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” said the official.
In terms of protecting America’s national security, Trump will update Congress on his diplomatic and military efforts around the world, and reaffirm his determination to protect American interests, and bring to an end to endless foreign wars, said the senior administration official familiar with the draft of the president’s speech.