Trump to decry 'decades of political stalemate' in State of the Union

Trump to decry 'decades of political stalemate' in State of the Union
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official Appropriators agree to Dec. 20 funding deadline House Democrats circulate memo rebutting GOP impeachment defense MORE is seeking to deliver a bipartisan, optimistic State of the Union address next Tuesday despite the divisive political atmosphere in Washington fueled by the threat of another government shutdown, according to his staff. 
 
The theme of Trump’s address is “Choosing Greatness” and the president will urge Congress to compromise on a number of key issues such as immigration and trade, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the speech.
 
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“Together we can break decades of political stalemate, we can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make,” Trump will say, according the official who read the quote aloud.
 
The speech will come amid a nasty fight over Trump’s demand for a border wall, in which the president has made dismissive comments about a bipartisan group of lawmakers working on a compromise and attacked Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate Siren song of impeachment lures Democrats toward election doom MORE (D-Calif.) for opposing the wall.  
 
Trump’s address was even postponed for a week amid the 35-day partial shutdown following the president's refusal to accept a spending deal without wall funding. 
 
Nonetheless, the official said Trump is planning to strike a “unifying tone” and outline “visionary” policy solutions in his address to the nation, his first under divided government.

Some of the five main issues the president plans to focus on — such as lowering health care and prescription drug costs, infrastructure and pressuring China on trade — enjoy bipartisan support.

But many others have stirred partisan fighting over the past few months, none more so than immigration, which the official said would be a “top priority” of the speech.

Trump teased the possibility he may use the State of the Union as part of his strategy to build a border wall by declaring a national emergency, a move that would inflame Democrats and some Republicans. But the official refused to say whether Trump would do so.
 
“We had the shutdown. The president, though, in the spirit of trying to reach across the aisle to advance the interests of all Americans, is going to try and provide a bipartisan way forward,” the official said without elaborating.  

That description garnered a skeptical reaction from Democrats, who said Trump was the one who triggered the shutdown by rejecting a bipartisan budget deal that did not include wall money.

“Break decades of political stalemate? Forge new solutions? You just caused the longest government shutdown in American history. Over a wall,” Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee tweeted.

Trump is expected to raise other hot-button issues, including the debate over abortion rights fueled by new laws passed by Democratic state governments.

He will also call on Congress to pass his revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement and deliver an update to lawmakers on his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and wind down the war in Afghanistan.

The Trump administration’s efforts to drive out Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will also receive a mention in the address. The official said he could not mention other nations, such as North Korea, that might appear in the speech. 

The official said the speech will have a “traditional” format that mirrors past speeches, with handpicked guests sitting in the House gallery Trump plans to cite to illustrate his points. The address will be similar in length to last year’s 80-minute speech, the official said, which was the third-longest State of the Union in history.