State of the Union 2018: When is Donald Trump speaking, where is it and what will he say?

It's a chance for the President to reflect on the year, and to explain what he has planned ahead

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 23 January 2018 19:11
Mr Trump is pictured here addressing Congress last year
Mr Trump is pictured here addressing Congress last year

After a tumultuous first year in office, President Donald Trump is slated to deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, picking up the metaphorical torch in the annual tradition from the many men who have come before.

The event is sure to attract a lot of attention, with many of Mr Trump’s critics parsing his words for any perceived misstep from the norms American presidents have bowed to in the past. Meanwhile, supporters are sure to cheer his message and vision for the future.

Will Mr Trump tell us that the state of the union is “strong”? Will he instead tell us it is “great” (again)?

Here’s what you need to know.

When is the State of the Union?

Mr Trump’s State of the Union will begin on Tuesday, January 30 at 9 pm EST.

Where is the State of the Union?

On the night of the State of the Union, Mr Trump will leave the White House in his motorcade and take the short trip across town to the US Capitol. There, he will be greeted by an assembly composed of both the House and Senate, and in the House chambers.

How to watch the State of the Union?

All of the major US cable networks will run the State of the Union, and it can also be streamed online on CSPAN.

Are there any State of the Union traditions?

Aside from the speech itself, sure.

The opposing party always picks someone to broadcast their own counter State of the Union — this year’s pick hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s likely that it will be a potential 2020 presidential contender — giving a lucky someone the opportunity to deliver a riling opposing point of view (or, a hilarious gaffe).

The American public has made it a tradition to dream up their best drinking games to get through the speech, making it something of a tradition in and of itself to get a little tipsy while the President talks about national security threats.

The President also traditionally picks special guests to attend, highlighting the policies and goals they plan on pursuing in the process. On the other side, the minority party does the same.

What is rumoured to be included in Donald Trump's State of the Union speech?

While the exact contents of the State of the Union are generally kept under wraps until the moment of the speech, presidents generally highlight their victories of the past year, the challenges the nation faces ahead, and what they’re going to do about it.

Mr Trump is likely to lean on some of his campaign talking points during the event, and to highlight the policy achievements he’s been able to deliver (or at least claim). That could include tax reforms that were pushed through Congress in December, a burgeoning stock market, his crackdown on immigration, and the seating of Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch.

As for what he’ll say is ahead, you can bet that he’s going to try and bolster his case for voters to vote Republican in the coming midterm elections.

That could include renewed calls for repealing and replacing Obamacare, his plans for reforming American regulations, and could also include promises that he’ll help renew the floundering economies of rural America that showed up at the polls in 2016 to deliver Mr Trump’s win.

Last year, during a joint address to Congress, Mr Trump promised the tax reforms, the repeal and replace of Obamacare, a change to the US immigrant visa programs to favor high-skilled workers, and for his famous border wall to be built.

Will the State of the Union be “strong”?

The state of the union is pretty much always strong. President Barack Obama said it was every single year. So did President George W Bush, even when he spoke months after the September 11 attacks. President Bill Clinton did the same.

Will Mr Trump agree? After a campaign where he promised to Make America Great Again, perhaps the 45th President of the United States will want to see some more improvements before he lets go of that slogan.

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