What to Expect in Trump's Big Speech to Congress

He wants to solve 'real problems for real people'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2017 4:38 AM CST
Updated Feb 28, 2017 6:24 AM CST
What to Expect in Trump's Speech to Congress
The House sergeant-at-arms will stand at the rear of the House on Tuesday night and announce the arrival of Donald Trump before a joint session of Congress by intoning: “Mister Speaker, the President of the United States.”   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Trump will deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night—a traditional address delivered in place of a State of the Union address in a president's first year, though nobody's sure how traditional he plans to keep it. NPR reports that the prime-time speech was written by Stephen Miller, who wrote Trump's inaugural address, though the White House says the tone of this speech will be a lot more optimistic. An administration official tells CNN that Trump wants to speak to the country directly and solve "real problems for real people." A roundup of coverage:

  • Politico reports that Trump's special guests at the session will include the widow of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the families of three people who were murdered by undocumented immigrants.
  • The TV audience for the address has been steadily shrinking over the years, but the BBC predicts a big rise in ratings this year, because with both houses of Congress under GOP control, the policies Trump sets out are likely to become law—and with Trump, the speech is "unlikely to be boring."
  • Politico has a list of 11 talking points circulated by the White House ahead of the address. Among them: "It will be a speech addressed to ALL Americans AS Americans—not to a coalition of special interests and minor issues."
  • Astrid Silva, a DREAMer brought to the US illegally as a child, will deliver a Spanish-language Democratic response to the address, the AP reports. Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear will deliver a response to Trump in English.
  • Congressional Republicans will be looking to Trump for guidance, though the New York Times predicts that his budget proposals, which are expected to leave programs like Medicare and Social Security untouched, will set a "battle for control of Republican ideology" with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
  • Presidential communication expert Richard Vatz tells Voice of America that at this point, Trump is unlikely to tone down the strong comments he has been making since he started running for president. "People have been predicting for a long time that he will change his tone, but it hasn't happened and I see no reason to think it will now," he says.
  • Bloomberg reports that investors are hoping for policy specifics, including on Trump's proposed tax cuts—and if they don't get them, financial markets could be in for a big drop.
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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