Trump builds anticipation around State of the Union

Trump builds anticipation around State of the Union
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE is building anticipation around his forthcoming State of the Union speech, including hinting at potential newsmaking announcements that may arrive in the annual address to the nation.

Trump has declined to definitively share details about his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or whether he will declare a national emergency to direct construction of a wall along the southern border, instead teasing that such high-profile questions will be answered in his speech.

The president twice last week confirmed that his next meeting with Kim would take place at the end of February but declined to elaborate.

“Early next week, probably State of the Union,” he told reporters Thursday when asked for additional details.

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Trump on Sunday teased on CBS's "Face the Nation" that he would reveal the time and location of his second summit with Kim during the State of the Union “or shortly before.”

“I won’t tell you yet,” Trump told anchor Margaret Brennan, adding that the meeting has been set. 

During a Friday roundtable on human trafficking, Trump also played coy when asked whether he expected to declare a national emergency to secure funding for his desired border wall. 

“I don’t want to say,” Trump told reporters. “But you’ll hear the State of the Union and then you’ll see what happens right after the State of the Union, OK?”

The president added that there’s a “good chance” he will resort to an emergency declaration, but stopped short of confirming the contents of his upcoming address to the nation. 

“I’m saying listen closely to the State of the Union,” he said. “I think you’ll find it very exciting.” 

The president's attempt to generate a buzz about his Tuesday address in the chambers of Congress are in line with the former television star's past efforts to stir intrigue about his media appearances or expected policy moves.

Trump held out for months on making clear his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal before formally doing so. Last month, he tweeted about a "major announcement" regarding the recent government shutdown before delivering a speech offering a proposal to reopen the government.

The State of the Union speech has itself been a source of drama for Trump. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump pushes back on impeachment talk: 'Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!' Moulton enters 2020 White House race Trump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) told the president last month she hoped to reschedule the address, citing security concerns amid the partial government shutdown, which to that point had lasted 26 days.

Trump set up the possibility of a standoff with Pelosi when he wrote the Speaker to indicate he planned to deliver the address "on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!" However, he backed down a short time later, tweeting that he would give his speech after the shutdown ended.

The two sides later agreed to schedule the State of the Union for Feb. 5. 

While the shutdown and Trump's relentless criticism of Democrats have laid bare the potential for confrontation at the speech, the White House has said the theme of the president's speech will be "Choosing Greatness."

A senior administration official told reporters that the president will urge Congress to find bipartisan consensus on a number of key issues, including immigration, trade, lowering health care costs and infrastructure. 

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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 Tuesday, according to the official who read the quote aloud.

Democrats, many of whom have argued that the president is too fickle to be trusted in negotiations, have expressed skepticism about the president's State of the Union pitch.

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

In laying out what to expect on Tuesday, Trump has himself underscored the conflicting approaches to governing with the opposing party, simultaneously describing the theme of his speech as "unification" while criticizing Democrats' position on border security as bad for the country.

"I think it's unification. I think it's industry. I think it's about the people that you see right here," Trump said last week when asked about the upcoming speech. "It's also working with these people, because they've been incredible. We have had some incredible report. And we've have incredible Republican support."
 
"The problem is, the Democrats, you know, when they say ... 'We don't want to build a wall because it doesn't work or because it's immoral,' well, it's also immoral the people that come into our country that shouldn't be here and kill people," he continued.
 
"But I really think it's doing to be a speech that's going to cover a lot of territory," Trump said. "But part of it is going to be unity."