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After 2 years of rancour, Trump to call for unity in address

08 February 2019

At 9pm EST (10am on Wednesday, Singapore time) before a joint session of Congress, Trump likely will stir contention with remarks on immigration policy, after his demand for US$5.7 billion (S$7.7 billion) in wall funds triggered a historic 35-day partial government shutdown that more than half of Americans blamed him for, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. "I look forward to giving a "great" State of the Union Address in the near future!" "I think you'll find it very exciting".

Trump, who will speak at 9pm EST (02:00 GMT), is not expected to make good on his threats to declare a national emergency in order to secure the funds for the wall. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told him that the declaration would threaten unity in the Republican Party coalition.

Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney went over the speech on Monday night with about a dozen supporters including former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, as well as Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, a source familiar with the meeting said.

Trump's primetime address comes at a critical moment in his presidency. He also called for a bipartisan push to eradicate the AIDS epidemic in the United States in a decade.

"Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history".

Trump's address will have a theme of "Choosing Greatness" and will also feature a prolonged review of the administration's foreign policy achievements and vision, spanning North Korea, Venezuela, the Islamic Republican of Iran, the fight against the Islamic State, the USA presence in Syria and the future of the US role in Afghanistan.

"We will soon have destroyed 100% of the Caliphate, but will be watching them closely", Trump tweeted last week.

Trump's guests for the speech include Anna Marie Johnson, a woman whose life sentence for drug offenses was commuted by the president, and Joshua Trump, a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Delaware, who has been bullied over his last name.

However, on January 23, the president tweeted, "As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address". He announced details of a second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, outlining a February 27-28 summit in Vietnam. Their second summit is expected to take place late this month.

Happily, Mr Trump and Ms Pelosi's Democrats eventually agreed on a deal to end the shutdown, so tomorrow we will all get to witness one of America's most profoundly weird traditions. It wasn't until President Woodrow Wilson gave his State of the Union Speech in 1913, which was a revitalization of Presidents George Washington's and John Adam's practices.

Trump retaliated by postponing a planned foreign trip by Pelosi and other lawmakers.

Another Democratic star, Stacey Abrams, will deliver the party's response to Mr Trump.

White House officials have said the speech will emphasize unity and will feature the President's priorities on immigration reform.

The president's address marks the first time he is speaking before a Congress that is not fully under Republican control.

Democrats plan this year to send of a message of opposition against the White House on the occasion of the speech.

IS militants have lost territory since Trump's surprise announcement in December that he was pulling US forces out, but military officials warn the fighters could regroup within six months to a year after the Americans leave.

Trump used part of his speech to offer a spirit of compromise, particularly in areas such as lowering the price of prescription drugs and funding a $1 trillion upgrade in USA roads, bridges and other infrastructure. That part of the address also will include the president making a claim sure to put GOP members on their feet applauding and cause Democrats to sink into their seats.

After 2 years of rancour, Trump to call for unity in address