Storylines to watch when President Trump addresses Congress

The White House is promising an “optimistic vision” and a “bold agenda” from President Trump when he speaks in front of a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. This president, of course, knows prime time. But this will be a speech in contrast to...

Storylines to watch when President Trump addresses Congress

The White House is promising an “optimistic vision” and a “bold agenda” from President Trump when he speaks in front of a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. This president, of course, knows prime time. But this will be a speech in contrast to...

27 February 2017 Monday 18:00
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Storylines to watch when President Trump addresses Congress

The White House is promising an “optimistic vision” and a “bold agenda” from President Trump when he speaks in front of a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. This president, of course, knows prime time. But this will be a speech in contrast to any he has offered before.

Right here is a glimpse at some of the storylines to watch Tuesday evening:

Tuesday’s address starts a new phase of the Trump presidency -– a component exactly where congressional obtain-in is no longer optional. Members of Congress are increasing desperate for answers from the White Home on crucial policy priorities, starting with Obamacare, immigration, and the border wall as nicely as tax reform, infrastructure and trade. Trump has as a result far left the legislative heavy lifting to congressional leaders who have been alternately liberated and frustrated by the lack of White House guidance. That will want to modify starting Tuesday night, where Trump’s first speech to an assembled Congress will force him to put legislative meat on the rhetorical bones that haven’t grown a lot since the campaign.

The most quick -– and probably most consequential -– policy location exactly where the president requirements to get precise is on healthcare. “Repeal and replace” carries significantly less meaning than ever as a plan now that we’re five weeks into the GOP’s full control of Washington. Trump has been decidedly vague, and from time to time contradictory, in his pronouncements about wanting to expand overall health care access, bring down fees and repair insurance coverage markets. “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complex,” the president declared on Monday, leaving aside the truth that everybody has often sort of known that. The conservative base is receiving restless. And millions of Americans who rely on Obamacare or its market place reforms are getting rightfully anxious.

Involving the inauguration, presidential speeches, White Property and Mar-a-Lago meetings, and even a post-election campaign speech, President Trump has not yet faced a crowd that wasn’t either hand- or self-chosen as generally supportive considering the fact that he took office. (That is, unless you count his press conferences, where the president has faced down those whom he considers the “opposition celebration.”) Assuming boycotts don’t thin their ranks, just about half the room in the Residence chamber will be actual members of the opposition celebration -– the Democrats, who are feeling intense stress from their base not to cooperate with something the president proposes. Will any of them try something created to get under Trump’s skin? Back to the other opposition party, will Trump retain up his anti-media broadsides in front of Congress -– and a national Television audience?

President Trump has stretched more truths -– and perpetrated much more outright falsehoods -– than your typical new president. Now comes a new forum: A speech to a joint session of Congress, where even small factual errors have had the potential to launch congressional investigations in the past. With tiny visibility surrounding the White House’s truth-checking operation, it remains unclear no matter whether the president will engage in the exaggerations and mistruths that have littered so many of his speeches, to say nothing at all of “alternative details.” Will he claim –- without having proof -– to have rightfully won the well-known vote for the reason that of widespread fraud? Will his statistics on jobs, immigration, trade, and military may well stand up to scrutiny? Can a speech go by where he doesn’t mention -– or overstate –- his Electoral College margin?

The Trump White Residence has gone out of its way to preserve conservatives happy, with a Supreme Court choice and a higher-profile speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference just two data points in a method of base maintenance. Count on the president to trumpet early promises kept, and press for a quick confirmation vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch. But how conservative will the president want to come across in this setting? His base remains behind him, but the broader public appears somewhere between skeptical and hostile about his leadership. Any explicit outreach to Democrats will be closely watched –- however could prompt quick blowback.

A single pretty major campaign story churns on, and is threatening to overshadow all in the early months of a Trump presidency. Calls for an independent investigation into the Trump camp’s ties with Russia, coupled with the president’s sort words about Vladimir Putin, leave Russia as the dominant foreign-policy storyline coming in to Tuesday. Trump seems unlikely to mention the swirling controversy, but it’s all that Democrats -– and now even a couple of Republicans –- want to talk about when it comes to foreign policy. Any national security pronouncements that come from the president will be viewed via the lens of Russia. And physique language involving the president and congressional watchdogs on the Residence floor will be freeze-framed and scrutinized.

The out-of-power party’s formal television response is typically a likelihood to highlight a rising star. Not so this year, with the choice of 72-year-old former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to be the Democrats’ most prominent spokesperson for this 1 night. Beshear is a moderate from a deep-red state that happens to also be home to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Much more relevantly for his most likely message, he presided over one of the biggest success stories of Obamacare, with Kentucky’s well being care exchange and Medicaid expansion. The Spanish-language response will come from Astrid Silva, an immigration activist and so-referred to as DREAMer who benefited from the Obama administration’s leniency toward undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as kids. The options of Beshear and Silva recommend that Democrats want to engage Trump on policy more than personality.

Practically nothing has been very what it’s been in the previous below President Trump. Why should the usually staid pageantry of a joint-session speech be any distinctive? There will be a teleprompter, but no guarantee that he’ll stick to it. The planet will be watching for any distinctly Trump flourishes, and no matter whether anything he says will bring Democrats to their feet –- or keep Republicans off of theirs. Then there are queries of household, including how a lot of Trump youngsters will be in attendance. It is also a high-profile night for initial lady Melania Trump, who will be producing one of her very first official appearances in hosting guests in her box in the Residence chamber.

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