What to expect from Donald Trump’s first State of the Union
President Donald Trump is set to deliver his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, the annual tradition in which the president tells the public how well the country is doing and lays out his plans to ensure the United States remains safe and prosperous.
But aside from declaring that “the state of our union is strong,” what can we expect to hear from Trump Tuesday night?
Here are four things Trump is likely to talk about:
The state of the economy
Expect Trump to use economic statistics he once dismissed as “phony” to talk about the strength of the U.S. economy.
The unemployment rate is at 4.1%, continuing the downward trend that began under former President Barack Obama.
Trump is also likely to talk about the growth of the stock market and the pace of economic growth, which is chugging along at roughly the same pace as it did during Obama’s tenure.
He’ll likely point to the two quarters of 2017 that saw 3% growth as proof that the economy is doing better under his watch than Obama’s.
However, Obama saw multiple quarters of 3% economic growth during his tenure. And, overall, the economy grew at a 2.3% rate in all of 2017, the Commerce Department announced Friday — lower than the 3% rate Trump promised.
The tax reform bill Republicans passed is Trump’s singular legislative victory in 2017 — and he’s going to tell the country all about it during his speech.
Republicans are hoping the tax bill will improve their chances in the upcoming 2018 midterms. But since the bill is unpopular with the public, the GOP has to sell it to voters.
And that’s exactly what Trump is likely to do Tuesday night.
Expect Trump to point to the companies who have said the tax bill allowed them to dole out bonuses and wage increases to their workforces. But don’t expect Trump to point to the companies who have simultaneously laid off workers after handing out bonuses, such as Walmart, Comcast and AT&T.
Trump is also likely to tell stories about Americans who will see tax cuts thanks to the bill.
Trump’s self-imposed March 5 deadline to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as minors to live and work in the country — is quickly approaching.
And Congress is bickering about how to address the roughly 800,000 immigrants covered by the program whose future in the U.S. would come into question.
Trump released his demands for an immigration bill, which have been widely denounced by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Still, Trump is likely to make the case for why his immigration asks are reasonable.
Obama had vowed to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, the controversial prison where the U.S. government holds suspected terrorists indefinitely, and where some prisoners have reportedly been tortured.
But Trump is set to announce during the State of the Union that he plans to sign an executive order to keep the prison operational, Politico reported.
“Guantanamo Bay will continue to remain open and serve as one of several options the United States maintains for the detention of terrorists,” reads the executive order Trump is set to sign, according to Politico.