President Donald Trump is preparing for his State of the Union address this Tuesday, 5 February, following a delay due to the longest government shutdown in history. Most Americans polled blame Trump for the 35-day shutdown.
According to sources in the White House, Trump will aim to strike a conciliatory note on Wednesday. The President will highlight ‘American greatness’ and return to his favorite talking points about crime, immigration and the economy.
Despite the strong rhetoric that’s expected from Trump, he will reportedly call for bipartisan ‘co-operation and compromise’ in an appeal to Democrats. This should come as no surprise. Democratic control of the House has prevented Trump from getting funding for his much-vaunted border wall.
However, there are concerns that Trump’s speech won’t go to plan. He will be facing a rejuvenated Democratic Party and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will sit behind Trump throughout the State of the Union. Trump may not receive the standing ovations he’s used to.
While Trump’s speeches to Congress have been largely in line with tradition, it’s possible Trump could go off script if he is booed or heckled by Democratic lawmakers. Trump is well-known for improvising during public speeches and can be very reactive to an audience.
If Trump speaks off the cuff because of Democrats’ reaction to his speech, he could end up saying something that has not been cleared by the White House. When the President extemporizes, he often says controversial things. Whatever Trump says, his speech is unlikely to sway Democrats in his favor.