By Jill Colvin and Catherine Lucey, AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump heads into his State of the Union address dogged by bruising midterm losses and sinking poll numbers, wounded by a blistering standoff with Democrats. But for the stately speech, he plans to embrace unity — at least for the night.
“Choosing Greatness” is the official White House theme.
Addressing the nation at the weakest point of his presidency, Trump will seek to use the ceremonial moment to pitch a unifying vision and reset relations with Democrats. The prime-time presidential set-piece Tuesday night comes amid a bitter border wall fight that nearly derailed the speech altogether, but Trump is not expected to dwell on the rancor.
“I really think it’s going to be a speech that’s going to cover a lot of territory, but part of it’s going to be unity,” Trump told reporters this week.
While Trump may strive for a unifying tone for the evening, harsh rhetoric has been a constant of his presidency. Previous efforts by Trump to shift gears have been short-lived and have struck many as disingenuous, given the ferocity with which he often takes on Democrats. Even on Friday, Trump was going after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by name, calling her clueless and her ideas dangerous.
In his speech, Trump is expected to highlight rare bipartisan accomplishments from last year and push Democrats to work with him on issues of potential agreement, such as infrastructure, drug prices and vocational training. Still, his recent struggles will be on full display as he addresses a room packed with Democrats and with Pelosi sitting right behind him.
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