President Donald Trump planned in his State of the Union address on Tuesday to challenge Democrats to approve funding for his long-sought border wall, while stopping short of declaring a national emergency over it.
At 9 p.m. before a joint session of Congress, Trump was likely to stir contention with remarks on immigration policy, after his demand for $5.7 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.
|U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
“We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens,” Trump will say, according to excerpts of his State of the Union speech released by the White House.
“No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards,” he will say.
Millions of Americans were expected to watch the address on television, giving Trump his biggest opportunity to date to explain why he believes a barrier is needed on the U.S. southern border with Mexico. The speech was delayed for a week because of the shutdown, which ended on Jan. 25.
When Trump takes center stage in the chamber of the House of Representatives for the big speech, sitting behind him over his shoulder will be his main congressional adversary, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who became House speaker after her party won control of the chamber in November’s elections.
A source close to Trump said the president was not expected to use his speech to announce plans for a national emergency, which would draw a swift court challenge from Democrats. Instead he will urge a congressional committee to work out a border security deal by Feb. 15.
In his speech excerpts, Trump was to call attention to his efforts to rewrite trade deals with China and other nations to make the terms more favorable to the United States.
“To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount: reversing decades of calamitous trade policies,” he will say.
He also will call out Iran for threats against Israel.
“We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants Death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people,” he will say.Reuters