While President Donald Trump has spent a good chunk of time in recent days battling with the news media, his speech to a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday will give him the chance to spur some momentum for his legislative agenda, as Republicans struggle to find final agreement on a plan to repeal and replace the Obama health law.
“The theme of the address will be the renewal of the American Spirit,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who told reporters that Mr. Trump will emphasize a series of issues.
“The address will particularly focus on public safety, including defense, increased border security, taking care of our veterans, and then economic opportunity, including education and job training, health care reform, jobs, taxes and regulatory reform,” Spicer added.
The President could well use a line that was part of his Friday speech to a conference of conservatives outside Washington, in which he said it’s time to move on his campaign promises.
“The era of empty talk is over,” the President said to applause. “Now is the time for action.”
That line immediately reminded me of a similar declaration before lawmakers in 1996, when President Bill Clinton said that “the era of big government is over.”
One might also expect some direct talk to Democrats – since they will be sitting in the hall of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Trump did just that on Friday as well, with a little humor.
“I hate having a Cabinet meeting and I see all these empty seats. I said, Democrats, please approve our Cabinet and get smart on health care, too, if you don’t mind,” the President said to applause.
While Mr. Trump seems certain to focus on repealing and replacing the Obama health law, Republicans still have not produced their own plan – that’s expected to happen in coming weeks.
As for immigration, not only is the President expected to talk about his efforts to secure the border, and to better enforce existing immigration laws, but Democrats want to send a message as well – as they are inviting people who have become U.S. citizens, do work with immigrants, or have been caught up in Mr. Trump’s travel ban, which is now on hold in the courts.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) has invited Sara Yarjani, a student from Iran, who was held up at Los Angeles International Airport because of the Trump immigration order.
Rep. Pramila Jaypal (D-WA) is inviting a Muslim activist to watch the speech from the galleries.
“My guest Aneelah represents everything good about our country,” Jaypal tweeted. “Trump can’t hide from those he is threatening.”