President Trump plans to declare a “New American Moment” in his first official State of the Union address to Congress, according to excerpts released ahead of Tuesday’s prime-time speech.
“This is our New American Moment,” Trump will say. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.”
The excerpts show Trump will tout first-year accomplishments like “massive tax cuts,” regulation rollbacks and more.
Echoing remarks earlier in the day in which he said he’ll seek unity, he also is vowing to extend an “open hand” to members of both parties to “protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed,” in an apparent reference to DACA and immigration talks.
Further, he calls for bipartisan cooperation on infrastructure: “I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.”
“Together, we are building a safe, strong and proud America,” Trump says, using a phrase the White House says is the theme of his speech.
The White House also tweeted excerpts:
Earlier Tuesday, during a pre-speech lunch with television anchors, Trump — who does not shy away from conflict with his detractors — said “unity is really what I’m striving for, to bring the country together.”
“If I could unite this country, I would consider it a tremendous success,” Trump said. “I would love to be able to bring back our country in a great form of unity, without a major event – very tough to do. I would like to do it without a major event, because that major event is usually a bad thing.”
The address comes after a year of partisan clashes in Washington over health care, the ‘travel ban,’ regulations and more. The president, though, is expected to use his hour-long speech to extend an olive branch and signal a willingness to make bipartisan deals on second-year-agenda priorities like immigration and infrastructure, aides said ahead of the speech.
He is expected to focus on five themes during the speech, including jobs and the economy, infrastructure, immigration, trade and national security.
On immigration, the White House is pushing a plan to broaden eligibility for the DACA program – which gives a reprieve to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and which Trump is planning to end absent a legislative solution – in exchange for border wall funding and other big changes. The negotiations could be critical for talks to keep the government running past a Feb. 8 deadline.
“Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families,” Trump says in the excerpts.
Despite his desire for unity, leaders were bracing for potential conflicts in the run-up to the speech.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a stern warning to House Democrats attending the speech during a closed-door caucus meeting on Tuesday, imploring them to play nice.
Pelosi advised Democrats against a walk-out, with sources in the room saying Pelosi told members “if you want to walk out, don’t come” and to let Trump be “his slobbering self.”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are also expected to do “silent” protests during the speech. Lawmakers in the caucus were encouraged to wear traditional Kente cloth in protest of Trump’s reported comments about immigration from “s—hole countries.”
Other liberal lawmakers are boycotting the speech, with Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson saying Trump doesn’t deserve “to be honored at this time.”
During the presidential campaign, Trump famously spoke without notes or a teleprompter on numerous occasions. But in recent weeks, the president worked with a core group of aides to craft the speech, including with senior adviser Stephen Miller, staff secretary Rob Porter, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
The White House says there has been “a lot of back and forth” on the speech, with Trump making handwritten edits with his preferred black felt tip pens. Trump read through a draft of the speech during his recent trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week.
According to aides, the president has been reviewing parts of the speech at night and returning edits to staff in the mornings.
Officials say the president has done several read-throughs of the speech, including Monday in the Map Room of the White House.
First lady Melania Trump and all of the president’s children – with the exception of 11-year-old Barron Trump – are expected to attend the primetime speech at the Capitol.
Meanwhile, Democrats have tapped Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., the grandson of Sen. Robert Kennedy, to deliver the party’s official response to Trump’s speech.
California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, a Trump foe who has repeatedly called for the president’s impeachment, is also scheduled to provide her own response to the speech on the Black Entertainment Television network.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, John Roberts and Bret Baier contributed to this report.