Donald Trump will use his first prime-time address to Congress Tuesday to refocus his presidency on series of policy priorities, including the economy and health care, and away from the infighting and allegations of corruption that have plagued his young administration.
In the speech whose theme is dubbed the “renewal of the American spirit,” Trump will tout his campaign promises and offer a vision for the country in a more optimistic tone than he did at his inaugural address, after weeks of taking credit, often without merit, for the surge in the stock market and creating jobs, his aides say.
“All I can do is speak from the heart and say what I want to do,” Trump said on FOX News earlier Tuesday.
facebook twitter email Share More Videos 0:46 Light rail extension opening delayed Pause 0:48 Republic Services 1:04 Immigration protesters march to city council 1:09 Protesters demand support for immigrants 11:03 Trump thanks supporters at Fayetteville rally 3:27 HB2: A timeline for North Carolina’s controversial law 1:13 Will Trump support black colleges? 7:26 Black in Obama's White House 3:34 HB2: A timeline for North Carolina’s controversial law 3:19 Trump supporters give the President a progress report Share VideoMulvaney: Trump's budget 'blueprint' will represent 'top-line numbers only'
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says President Donald Trump's "blueprint" will be submitted to Congress on March 16, and the full budget will be available at the beginning of May. Mulvaney says the blueprint prioritizes rebuilding the military, securing theThe White House
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says President Donald Trump's "blueprint" will be submitted to Congress on March 16, and the full budget will be available at the beginning of May. Mulvaney says the blueprint prioritizes rebuilding the military, securing the
His aides said Trump will recount the promises he’s made and the promises he’s kept, and will highlight the executive orders he’s signed and the initiatives he plans to address in the coming months. Among them: repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, rewriting the nation’s tax laws, spending on roads and bridges, keeping immigrants from entering the country illegally, streamlining regulations, and improving workplaces and schools.
Protesters are expected to rally outside the White House Tuesday before the speech’s 9 p.m. Eastern time start. The protest, called “A Resistance Address: Defending American Values in a Time of Moral Crisis,” will feature speakers from organizations affected by Trump’s policies, including immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and environmentalists.
Aides said the president was continuing to work on his speech Tuesday afternoon, but that a large part of it was based on so-called listening sessions he’s had with healthcare industry leaders, law enforcement officials and coal miners.
“For the most part, this is going to be a speech about economic opportunity and also protecting the American people,” said a senior White House official.
“What I think the president recognizes – what we all recognize – is that this is a once-in-a-generation moment,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. “It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We have the opportunity to finally tackle big problems that have held us back for so long.”
The speech will air on network television and but also be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov and on Facebook at facebook.com/WhiteHouse. The White House is also encouraing viewers to follow along on Twitter @WhiteHouse and @Potus using the Twitter hashtag, #jointaddress.
How much detail the speech will contain was not known. Trump aides on Monday said Trump’s first budget, to be released mid-March, will include a $54 billion increase in defense spending, paid for by cutting discretionary spending by the same amount. Cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits are not expected.
“You can expect to see a speech grounded firmly in solving real problems for every American,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “The president will address the Americans who have been waiting for help from their leaders for too long, and let them know that help is finally on the way.”
Trump has been saddled with low approval ratings, a series of allegations that his staff colluded with Russia and a court order blocking his contentious executive order aimed at temporarily halting U.S. entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
In addition to a series of meetings with lawmakers, business executives, law enforcement officials, and union representatives Trump is relying for ideas from a survey to supporters that asked their priorities.
“We’ve got a bold agenda ahead of us, and the president’s going to lay it out and why it’s going to make a difference in people’s lives,” Ryan said Monday after meeting with the president.
Still, the speech is expected to be short on the details that Republican lawmakers, who control both chambers of Congress, have been clamoring to hear since he came into office six weeks ago.
George Edwards, a presidential scholar at Texas A&M University who wrote Predicting the Presidency about the connection between presidential leadership and legislative successes, said he does not expect Trump to offer detailed proposals like his predecessors in his first speech. That might be a mistake, Edwards said.
“This is a time of some good will toward the president and you want to exploit it,” he said. “Certainly the smart ones come with two to three things to focus on.”
Trump began his presidency with a flurry of executive actions and little emphasis on his legislative priorities. With the executive orders now largely issued, he’ll need to turn his attention to Congress.
Trump does not expect legislation to be written at the White House, according to three people familiar with his plans but not authorized to speak publicly about them. His staff still will rely on already written Republican legislation that never advanced while Obama was president, according to people in the White House and on Capitol Hill.
Democrats said Trump has offered little in the weeks since he was sworn in.
“This president came into office promising bold action on jobs,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California. “Forty days later, the American people see nothing but a squandered four weeks in which this president has done nothing but instill fear. In classic fashion, the president is projecting his incompetence on to others. Instead of calling people names, President Trump should focus on how he’s going to grow the American economy and live up to the promises he’s made to the American people.”
Franco Ordoñez: 202-383-6155, @francoordonez
Anita Kumar: 202-383-6017, @anitakumar01
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