STATE OF UNION | Trump will call for a “new American moment”


WASHINGTON (AP)

President Donald Trump will call for a “new American moment” in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, as he seeks to rally a deeply divided nation and infuse his presidency with a sense of optimism, for at least one high-profile night.

According to excerpts released ahead of the prime-time address, the president will declare that there has “never been a better time to start living the American dream.” He’s calling on lawmakers in both parties to join forces to modernize the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and revamp immigration policies to focus on “the best interests of American workers and American families.”

“I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed,” Trump said in the excerpts.

It’s unclear if Trump’s rhetoric will be matched by any real overtures to Democrats. Partisanship in Washington has only deepened in the year since Trump has taken office, driven in part by the president’s bitingly personal attacks on his political rivals and Democrats’ criticism of his policies and behavior.

A by-the-numbers look at President Donald Trump’s first year in office reveals areas of both progress and peril. The stock market is soaring, smashing record after record. But more people think race relations have gotten worse under Trump.

The divisions that have gripped Congress throughout Trump’s presidency were on full display in the hours before his speech. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., sparked controversy by calling for the arrest and deportation of any “illegal aliens” who attempted to attend the address. More than 20 Democratic lawmakers had invited so-called Dreamers — young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and living here illegally. The immigrants could face deportation in March unless Congress acts.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said he disagreed with Gosar’s position.

The annual presidential address to Congress and millions of Americans watching at home is traditionally a commander in chief’s biggest platform to speak to the nation. However, Trump has redefined presidential communications with his high-octane, filter-free Twitter account, and there’s no guarantee that the carefully crafted speech will resonate beyond his next tweet.

The economy will be the centerpiece of Trump’s address, which is expected to run about an hour. Though the current trajectory of lower unemployment and higher growth began under President Barack Obama, Trump argues that the tax overhaul he signed into law late last year has boosted business confidence and will lead companies to reinvest in the United States.

According to the speech excerpts, Trump will herald the tax plan, which slashed rates for businesses and the wealthy while delivering more modest gains for most Americans, as a “tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.”

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