One Thing May Matter Most in State of the Union Speech

The presidential tone
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2018 5:30 PM CST
Things to Watch in Trump's State of the Union
President Trump smiles at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.   (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

As President Trump gets ready to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night, pretty much every media outlet is providing a "what to watch" feature. One common theme is that Trump is certain to boast about the US economy and lay out plans for a major infrastructure initiative. Here's a look at other issues at play:

  • Tone: Politico suggests that Trump's demeanor might end up meaning more than his words. Will he strike a bipartisan tone? Or as one observer puts it, "Does he seek to be more than president of the red counties?" At Axios, Mike Allen writes that Trump will be using his "inside voice," the more reserved one seen most recently at Davos in which he sticks to the teleprompter.
  • North Korea: CNN quotes a source saying that Trump will deliver "eye-opening" remarks about North Korea that will likely be driving headlines on Wednesday. The story provides no hint on what that means, beyond noting that Trump aides have been pointing to renewed North-South talks as a sign that Trump's strong words about the North have worked.

  • Russia: It's the "elephant in the room," per the BBC, which does not expect the president to mention the Russia investigation in his address. It is exceedingly rare for presidents to use the speech to address ongoing investigations about themselves, though the BBC notes that Richard Nixon once declared, "One year of Watergate is enough!"
  • First lady: The AP notes that Melania Trump will likely draw plenty of attention, with the speech coming in the wake of reports about the president's alleged relationship with a porn star. The first lady abruptly canceled plans to accompany Trump to Davos, but she will be present for Tuesday's speech.
  • #metoo: Trump isn't expected to mention the movement, reports ABC News, but some Democratic lawmakers will be wearing black to highlight the issue, and others are bringing sexual assault victims as their guests.
  • Dreamers: Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal lays out his preview in a video. Among the issues he'll be watching for is whether Trump lays out a specific deal on immigration and Dreamers that Democrats can accept, or whether he'll be "less specific" on the issue.
(More State of the Union address stories.)

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