Trump puts Twitter aside as he prepares for big speech

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will herald a robust economy and push for bipartisan congressional action on immigration in tonight's State of the Union address, as he seeks to rally a deeply divided nation and boost his own sagging standing with Americans.

The speech marks the ceremonial kickoff of Trump's second year in office and is traditionally a president's biggest platform to speak to the nation. Trump, however, has redefined presidential communications with his high-octane, filter-free Twitter account, and there's no guarantee the carefully crafted speech will resonate beyond his next tweet.

Trump was quiet today on Twitter, and the White House sought to focus attention on his big speech to Congress and millions of Americans watching at home.

While stocks have been falling this week, the economy has been strong and White House officials are hopeful the president can use the prime-time address to take credit. Though the trajectory of lower unemployment and higher growth began under his predecessor, Trump argues the tax overhaul he signed into law late last year has boosted business confidence and will lead companies to reinvest in the United States.

Considering the strength of the economy, Trump will step before lawmakers tonight in a remarkably weak position. His approval rating has hovered in the 30s for much of his presidency and at the close of 2017, just 3 in 10 Americans said the United States was heading in the right direction, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In the same survey, 67 percent of Americans said the country was more divided because of Trump.

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