WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Getting ready for his big night, President Donald Trump did a formal walkthrough of his State of the Union address in the map room of the White House yesterday and he plans to do one more walkthrough today.
“The economy will be front and center. We’ve had a historic year, record-breaking moments throughout the year in large part due to the president’s leadership in deregulation and a huge capstone at the end of the year with the tax cuts and jobs act,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
In addition to the economy, Trump will push for a tougher approach to trade. He’ll also pitch a $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan and an immigration compromise where he could get $25 billion for a border wall with Mexico and cuts to legal immigration in exchange for a path to citizenship for nearly two million undocumented immigrants known as ‘dreamers’.
“What I’m hoping we can do is focus on the two most important pillars of immigration right now which is the DACA issue as well as border security,” said Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL.
The White House said it will need the support from Democrats to achieve their goals, so they’ve promised a speech that’s presidential and inclusive of everyone. However, controversies and divisiveness could drown out the speech, even if Trump delivers a unifying message.
“If there’s so much noise and there’s so much friction and there’s so much corrosiveness in the public debate and the dialogue, it doesn’t matter,” said Dan Senor, a former adviser to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Also, the Russia investigation 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 during his speech.
“I think we’ve addressed it every single day that we’ve been here,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders during a briefing on Monday.
Nearly a dozen House Democrats are boycotting the president’s speech and protests are planned along the motorcade route from the White House to the Capitol.
“I cannot normalize and act as if this is the new normal of today with this president,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL.
Trump will also use the address to raise funds for his re-election campaign. 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 the late president John F. Kennedy.