Trump to call for unity in State of the Union address

United States President Donald J. Trump meets reporters during an impromptu press availability on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC on Friday

Negotiations between the President's administration and the Democratic house have remained at a standstill since late past year, over allocating $5.7bn of the state budget toward a border wall.

With the budget deadline approaching and Democrats refusing to compromise on funding for a border wall, President Trump is promising to secure the border by sending thousands more soldiers in lieu of an actual barrier.

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.

Each time, the official noted that the issues on which Trump will propose both sides work together - infrastructure, lowering prescription drug prices, building what the official called a "safe and legal" immigration system, and "protecting American workers" - are things Democrats have supported "for years".

"Simply put, walls work and walls save lives".

As he stands before lawmakers, the president will be surrounded by symbols of his emboldened political opposition. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who won plaudits from Democrats for her hard-line negotiating tactics during the shutdown, will be seated behind the president - a visual reminder of Trump's political opposition.

To acknowledge this historic diversity, many lawmakers will be wearing white, a nod to the women's suffrage movement. And several senators running for president will be in the audience, including Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren?

Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia governor's race in November, is delivering the Democrats' response to President Trump's State of the Union address.

In excerpts released ahead of Abrams' remarks, she calls the shutdown a political stunt that "defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values".

The president's address marks the first time he is speaking before a Congress that is not fully under Republican control.

Millions of Americans are preparing to watch the president's speech on television today after the initial address had to be postponed due to the government shutdown.

Yet they're working against the president, seeking to limit his authority to impose tariffs unilaterally on national security grounds, as he did past year on steel and aluminum, sparking a dispute with the European Union and alienating close partners such as Canada and Mexico.

Trump devoted much of his speech to foreign policy, another area where Republicans have increasingly distanced themselves from the White House.

On the domestic front, Trump is expected to speak about the US's robust economy and job growth.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY accused Trump of "blatant hypocrisy", saying the president may want to talk about unity on Tuesday but "spends the other 364 days of the year dividing us".

Trump's approval rating during the shutdown dipped to 34 percent, down from 42% a month earlier, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Against that backdrop, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is inching toward a potential agreement that would give Trump just a fraction of what he's demanding.

"I don't take anything off the table", Trump told CBS' Face the Nation on february 3, referring to another government shutdown.

That element, coupled with "seeing ... more than 50 percent of the room not applauding him. could become psychologically hard for the president, and his reaction could be stepping on norms and reacting in ways that we don't necessarily anticipate a president to do in that setting", Hudak added.



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