Trump to call for unity, face skepticism in State of Union

April FrancisFeb 09, 2019

But Hamrick suggested the president has an uphill climb because he will make the familiar walk down the House chamber's center aisle "with falling approval ratings and politically hobbled after losing the Washington version of a game of "border wall chicken" with ..."

But he remains at odds with the Democrats over funding to build a wall along the Mexican border.

"You'll hear the State of the Union, and then you'll see what happens right after the State of the Union", Trump told reporters. Still, the president planned to hammer his case that the situation at the southern border represents a security crisis for Americans.

The first will be Trump's "vision for a safe and legal immigration system", said the official, who later added that the president was going to "try and provide a bipartisan way forward on immigration". "Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards".

The president will specifically address the political standoff between Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was praised by Democrats for her hard-line negotiating during the shutdown, sat behind Trump as he spoke.

To acknowledge this historic diversity, many lawmakers will be wearing white, a nod to the women's suffrage movement.

In the audience will be several Democrats running to challenge Trump in 2020, including senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of MA and Kirsten Gillibrand of NY. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren?

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will deliver the Democratic response.

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".

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Trump's speech unfolded largely in a civil fashion with Cabinet members, military commanders and several Supreme Court justices in attendance at the annual presidential address to Congress.

Donald Trump's decision to reopen the federal government after a record 35 days of shutdown has been seen nearly universally as a defeat for his bully-pulpit approach to politics.

But the Great Recession ended during Obama's presidency, and Trump inherited a much better economy (even though, truth be told, most of the recovery has been at the top). For the first time since the United States' midterm elections in November, the White House was forced to confront head-on a changed political landscape, in which the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has the power to block his agenda. "If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!"

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".

"We will soon have destroyed 100% of the Caliphate, but will be watching them closely", Trump tweeted last week.

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.

Trump previously tried to pressure Congress into backing his idea by refusing to sign off on budgets for swathes of the federal government, leading to a five-week shutdown of some 800,000 government jobs.

"Washington right now looks a little bit petty and a little bit small and the State of the Union is an opportunity to go big and talk in broad themes about what's good about America and look beyond some of the issues of the last few weeks", he said. Despite the shutdown, the US economy added a robust 304,000 jobs in January, marking 100 straight months of job growth.

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