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Trump plans ‘optimistic’ address for State of the Union

President Trump’s third State of the Union address on Tuesday will put forth a vision of “relentless optimism” that focuses on addressing issues affecting America’s working families, a senior administration official told reporters Friday.

“The theme of the State of the Union is the great American comeback,” the senior administration official said. “In his address, the president will lay out a vision of relentless optimism.”

“He will encourage Congress to work with him to continue building an inclusive economy where the least well-off are making some of the fastest gains and where people of every background are finding new opportunities,” the official said.

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Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress on Feb. 4 comes at a time of high tensions between the president and Democratic lawmakers.

When the president heads to Capitol Hill, the Senate will be on the verge of acquitting the president of the impeachment articles brought against him by the Democratic-controlled House. It’s unclear whether or how the vote will impact what he plans to say.

The official on Friday declined to say whether Trump planned to address impeachment at all, further emphasizing that the speech would strike an “optimistic” tone and urge Congress to take action on legislative actions related to health care and other areas.

The official spoke to reporters before the Senate passed a resolution Friday evening paving the way for a vote on the impeachment verdict next Wednesday.

Asked if the speech would evolve depending on whether the impeachment vote has happened, the official acknowledged broadly that the speech could change up to the time it is given and that Trump “is always adaptable to speak to the moment as required.” 

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The Republican-controlled Senate is widely expected to acquit Trump of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. It’s possible the president could use the address to criticize House Democrats for what he has termed a partisan effort to remove him from office, as he has done at his campaign rallies.

The senior administration official said that the central focal points of the speech would be U.S. economic gains as well as the Trump administration’s policies with respect to health care, immigration and national security. But the official repeatedly declined to get into what the president might specifically say, what policy items he might roll out or the contents of his address.

The president is likely to tout his “phase one” trade agreement with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) he signed into law this week as well as efforts to secure the U.S. southern border with Mexico and crack down on sanctuary cities. He is also expected to highlight his health care policies while contrasting his plans with proposals put forth by Democrats. 

Trump plans to expand on themes of an address he delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this month, during which he credited his administration’s efforts to cut taxes, roll back regulations and secure new trade agreements with boosting the domestic economy. 

The president intends to “put forward an agenda focused squarely on the needs of working families, addressing issues that affect Americans’ quality of life and laying out solutions with can-do optimism in the face of unjustified pessimism we are hearing from some in Congress,” the senior administration official said. 

Updated: 8:40 p.m.

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