President Donald Trump can be famously unpredictable and is known to meander off script, but in his first address to a joint session of the US congress on Tuesday, he is expected to focus on the “renewal of the American spirit” and immigration, according to his aides.
Trump could also address the surge in social tensions, anti-Semitic attacks and the hostility towards immigrants that may have led to the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian aviation engineer gunned by a man who mistook him for an Iranian.
The president will use the platform to address not only Americans but people around the world, who have watched anxiously as he and his new team have struggled to find their footing, hurtling from one controversy to another amid a flurry of executive orders.
Mostly though, Trump is expected to talk about his campaign promises and how he will fulfil them —tax reforms, upgrading infrastructure, repealing and replacing his predecessor Barack Obama’s healthcare law, strengthening the military and being tough on immigration.
Some of these pledges are already in motion — for instance, Trump announced on Monday a proposal to hike defence spending by 10%, which translates to an increase of $54 billion. He called it a “historic increase in defence spending” that will send a “message to the world in these dangerous times, of American strength, security and resolve”.
He will address the issue of immigration as well. Sean Spicer, his press secretary, on Monday said, “You will hear about his commitment to immigration and his desire for border security, and what it means not just about keeping the nation safe, but what impact it’s having on the economy. So you will hear a lot about immigration tomorrow night, and he will talk about why it matters and the goal that we have and why we should come together on areas like this.”
According to a talking-points memo circulated by the White House, which was cited by Politico news site, the President “will lay out an optimistic vision for the country that crosses the traditional lines of party, race and socioeconomic status. It will invite Americans of all backgrounds to come together in the service of a stronger, brighter future for our nation.”
He will talk about shared fundamental desires of all Americans — safe communities, good school and jobs — especially for the “forgotten men and women”.
Trump has also blamed Obama for some of the leaks to news media that led to a flurry of damaging reports about his administration, including links between his aides and Russia, which also led him to fire his national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump also blamed Obama for the protests that continue around the country.