President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30, at 9 pm ET in the Capitol, marking the first year of his presidency. The speech will land just days after lawmakers ended a three-day government shutdown and as another spending bill showdown approaches.
The State of the Union will be streamed live on C-SPAN and on Twitter. It will also be aired on network and cable television across the country.
Trump will deliver the State of the Union as a historically unpopular figure, with approval ratings well below those of his predecessors at this time in their presidencies. According to a FiveThirtyEight average of polling, 38.5 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 56.2 percent disapprove. At the same time in their presidencies, Barack Obama sat at 49.2 percent approval, George W. Bush at 78.6 percent, and Bill Clinton at 55.7 percent.
Trump’s got a lot to talk about
It’s not yet clear exactly what Trump will say during his speech, but it is likely he will tout the Republican tax reform bill, passed in December, and the state of the US economy and stock market. While addressing a joint session of Congress shortly after his inauguration last year, Trump bragged that the market had gained about $3 trillion in value since his election. The market continues to hit record highs.
He might also touch on infrastructure, which the White House has made murmurs of being next on his agenda. Trump campaigned on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, though details, thus far, have been slim. Axios reported this week that it had a leaked copy of the White House’s infrastructure proposal. What’s not in the document: a price tag.
The president may also hit immigration, the issue at the center of last week’s government shutdown and the current sticking point between Republicans, Democrats, and the White House. Democrats are pushing Republicans and the Trump administration to work with them on a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which protects about 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
Trump and the GOP say they, too, want a DACA fix, but with certain concessions — though it’s not entirely clear what those concessions are beyond Trump’s continued drum-beating for a wall.
Democrats gear up to push back
In recognition of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and following in the footsteps of Hollywood women at the Golden Globes, many female Democratic lawmakers reportedly plan to wear black to Trump’s State of the Union address in solidarity with movements protesting sexual harassment and misconduct.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), one of the figures spearheading efforts to address sexual misconduct in Congress, is also helming the push to wear black to Trump’s Tuesday speech. “I hope we see men and women across the House floor wearing black and embracing the concept that we do not tolerate sexual harassment,” she told USA Today. “Whether you’re in Hollywood or in politics, we will show sexual harassment will not be tolerated.”
Multiple Democrats have said they plan to skip the State of the Union altogether, including Reps. John Lewis (D-GA), Maxine Waters, (D-CA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). “I cannot in all good conscience be in a room, with what he has said about so many Americans. I just cannot do it. It wouldn’t be honest with myself,” Lewis told MSNBC’s Katy Tur earlier this month.
Democrats will have an opportunity to respond to the State of the Union after the president’s address. The party hasn’t yet announced whom they’ve picked to do it. Last year, former Kentucky Gov, Steve Beshear delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s post-inauguration address to Congress.
State of the Union rebuttals can be tricky business. (Remember Marco Rubio and the water bottle?)
How to watch: 9 pm Eastern time
Where: The Capitol, Washington, DC
TV: CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, Univision, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, etc.
Online: C-SPAN and Twitter