By Lawrence Audu
US President Donald Trump is set to deliver his biggest speech of the year Tuesday, a State of the Union address designed to sell his economic record to a skeptical and fiercely divided America and the global community.
As many as 40 million viewers are expected to tune in when he takes to the floor of the House of Representatives just after 9:00 pm (0200 GMT).
“It’s a big speech, an important speech,” Trump said Monday, teasing his remarks.
Critics are however indifferent to Trump’s maiden State of the Union Address which they say have lost relevance over the years. judging from his antecedents of mocking the event recalling his tweet in 2016
The State Of The Union speech was one of the most boring, rambling and non-substantive I have heard in a long time. New leadership fast!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2016
Expect no such moderation from the 71-year-old real estate mogul and reality TV star.
The state of the union is “incredible,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, outlining a speech that will be long on claims of achievement.
Trump is expected to tout a long bull run on Wall Street and improving growth rates, something the White House is calling a “Trump bump” linked directly to the recent “Trump tax cut.”
That narrative suffered a setback when stocks tumbled at the opening Tuesday, amid fears of a bubble. But expect Trump to plow on.
“We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory,” Trump said of the speech, “including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut.”
Since Trump came to office a year ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by around 33 percent. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low.
Trump recently told global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland that “America is open for business” again.
During his first year, Trump has often sought credit, but he has appeared less concerned about widening his appeal — defying norms and sticking to a base-first approach.
With legislative elections scheduled for November and the probe into his campaign’s ties with Russia intensifying, Tuesday’s speech may see something of a change in strategy.
“This is a president who wants to lead for everybody,” said Sanders. “He’s not looking to lead for any one person, any one group, but he wants to be the president of the United States.”
Trump’s approval rating is languishing around 40 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average, and opposition to his presidency is fierce.
At a donor retreat in California this week, Republican strategists warned that an unpopular president and strong enthusiasm among Democrats could spell doom.
Adding to Republican woes is a steady stream of revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, which is accused of trying to tilt the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
The eve of Trump’s remarks were dominated by the departure of a key figure in that probe, the deputy head of the FBI, who had come under sustained public criticism from the president.
The White House also faced criticism for slow-walking lawmakers’ demands for sanctions against Russia.
– ‘America First’ –
Tuesday’s speech is also expected to touch on the highly charged issue of migration, where Trump continues to play firmly to his base.
Two couples whose daughters were murdered by MS-13, a Salvadoran gang, are among those the White House invited to attend the address in Washington.
His remarks are being crafted in part by aide Stephen Miller, who is known in Washington as a hardliner on immigration and has been pressing for an uncompromising stance.
“For many, many years, they’ve been talking immigration, they never got anything done. We’re going to get something done, we hope,” Trump said.