Trump to be less 'Trump' in SOU address Tuesday, aides say
Beset by poor poll numbers and the grind of the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump will look to reset his term with his first State of the Union address, arguing that his tax cut and economic policies will benefit all Americans.
The theme of his Tuesday night address to Congress and the country is "Building a safe, strong and proud America," and the president is looking to showcase accomplishments of his first year while setting the tone for the second.
Aides say the president plans to set aside his more combative tone for one of compromise, and to make an appeal beyond his base.
Trump often engages in hyperpartisan politics, and his tax overhaul has been criticized for disproportionately favoring the wealthy. But he will try to make the case that all groups of people have benefited during his watch, according to a senior administration official who was not authorized to preview the speech for the record and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The annual address is a big set piece for any president, a prime-time window to address millions of voters. Every word is reviewed, every presidential guest carefully chosen, every sentence rehearsed. The stakes are enormous for Trump, hoping to move past a turbulent first 12 months in office.
Trump is giving the speech "with the lowest approval ratings of any president in his first year in the history of presidential polling, and can point to the least number of legislative accomplishments," said Wendy Schiller, political science professor at Brown University. "Every month that goes by in which Trump fails to increase his support works against him because voters' negative impressions of him will just solidify."
She said the address "could turn that around if he strikes a bipartisan conciliatory tone and makes it more about the country than about himself."
Five themes are expected to dominate: the economy and the tax overhaul, infrastructure, immigration, trade, and terrorism and global threats.