State of the Union: Donald Trump gives his first address – live updates


Powered by article titled “State of the Union: Donald Trump gives his first address – live updates” was written by Tom McCarthy, for on Wednesday 31st January 2018 08.14 Asia/Kolkata

Guess which line of those below was a Trump improvisation?

America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our wealth.

The nations has lost its wealth but we’re getting it back so fast.

The era of economic surrender is over. From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and more importantly reciprocal.

Trump says he has “directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one my our top priorities for the year.”

“And prices will come down substantially, watch.”

Trump says “we have ended the war on clean coal.”

The reaction to this seemingly endless stream of purported triumphs is repetitive and reflective of the political split at large. One side stands to applaud, the other sits and glares.

Trump keeps going:

We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world. …

Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing — for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.

That flag comment hasn’t gone unnoticed.

According to his prepared remarks, Trump will mention “flag” five times this evening.

Trump continues with an applause line about rolling back regulations:

In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in the history of our country.

Trump has just breezed through applause lines about his judicial appointment, guns and veterans.

“I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey” he says. That’s verbatim from the prepared remarks.

Fact check: bonuses and veterans affairs


Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker.

It’s true that several large corporations, such as Apple, Bank of America and Walmart, gave thousands of minimum-wage employees bonuses in the range of hundreds to a few thousand dollars, which they said were linked to the new tax plan. Those bonuses respectively cost the companies $300m, $145m, and $400m – pennies compared to the savings bestowed by the new tax plan on large corporations: Apple will likely save a minimum of $40bn from the tax cuts; Bank of America $2.7bn, and Walmart $4bn.


Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do.

The Trump administration had fired at least 1,322 people from the department of Veterans Affairs last year, according to the agency and an accounting by Military Times. Given its pace of removals last year, it would be on track to remove around 1,500 employees by the end of January 2018.

Trump with dig at NFL protesters

Now this gets a cheer, and the most sustained applause of the evening so far – two standing ovations. Trump takes a swipe at NFL protests of police violence against African Americans:

Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.

Huge cheer and audible hurrays from the Republican side.

Here comes the patriotic firehose. Trump says “we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.”

Everybody stands to clap for that.

Then Trump tells the story of a preteen in the audience, who happens to be seated next to the first lady:

Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done.

This is all perfectly faithful to prepared remarks that were released after Trump began, by the way. Trump so far is rather assiduously on-Prompter. Except for the text in bold below which he added:

Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. And I met Preston a little while ago, and he is something very special, let me tell you. Great future.


Fact check: tax cuts


We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.

To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit.

A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 — slashing their tax bill in half.

This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system — and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month … We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.

The tax cut signed into law last month is not the largest in American history, but the eighth largest, at about 0.9% of the gross domestic product. In 1981, Ronald Reagan signed the largest cut, at 2.89% of GDP.

The $1.1tn tax cut will theoretically mean lower taxes for every income bracket in 2019, but it is misleading to suggest that those cuts will last for everyone.

Over time the cuts disproportionately save money for the wealthiest Americans. Some of the tax cuts phase out in 2025, meaning that by 2027 Americans earning less than $75,000 will see tax increases, while those earning more than $75,000 will see continued savings. More than 75% of the savings will go to people who earn more than $200,000, according to Moody’s, or about 5% of taxpayers.

Meanwhile Americans in the top 1% of earners will save hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, through the cuts, according to the Tax Policy Center. The president’s family could save as much as $11m, according to an analysis by the New York Times. The tax plan also eliminated the estate tax, which only affected a few thousand extremely families with extraordinary wealth, and it is expected to add $1tn to the national debt.

Trump is correct that the tax overhaul also repealed the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.


We slashed the business tax rate from 35% all the way down to 21%, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world. These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000.

Before last December’s tax cuts, the US had one of the highest corporate tax rates, a federal rate of 35% that could reach 39.1% with state taxes; the effective rate was 27.1%. The cuts reduced them to 21%; few corporations actually pay at the rate, instead using loopholes and deductions to pay far less. It is false that the US ranked highest among developed countries for personal income rates or for tax revenue as GDP, according to the OECD. As a percent of GDP, the US ranks in the bottom third of those nations.

Fact check: stock market

Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.

It’s true that the stock market is booming: the Dow Jones surpassed a record 26,000 points and saw its fastest-ever 1,000-point gain during the last year.

The stock market is not the economy, however, failing as it does to count for other factors such as largely stagnant wages and growing inequality. A Federal Reserve report published last year, for instance, found that the wealthiest 1% of American families controlled 38.6% of the country’s wealth in 2016.

And while a president might encourage investors with business-friendly policies – or alarm them with sudden, apparently new statements from his advisers – they have mostly indirect influence on the stock market.

Dow since Obama’s inauguration in 2009
Dow since Obama’s inauguration in 2009

Trump heralds ‘new American moment’

Trump is still going on the tax cuts, making extraordinary claims for the law.

Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.

And just a little while ago, ExxonMobil announced a $50bn investment in the United States.

Here’s the “new American moment” part:

This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.

So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve absolutely anything.

Republicans clap, Democrats sit.

Donald Trump delivering the State of the Union address.
Donald Trump delivering the State of the Union address.
Photograph: Pool/Getty Images

Trump introduces a pair of small business owners in the audience he says have already benefitted from tax reform.

Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger look hugely proud, with both rows of teeth visible in glowing smiles. They stand and give a thumbs up a la Trump, who says:

Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.

Another big applause line, for Republicans – this time with regard to the Obamacare individual mandate repeal.

Trump bobbles the word a bit, saying something like “Opamacare”. He’s applauded anyway:

We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.

Fact check: jobs

Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.

Trump is counting jobs since election day 2016, about two months before he became president. About 1.8m Americans have found jobs since Trump’s inauguration, averaging over 11 months at slowest rate of hiring since 2010. The unemployment rate in December 2017 was 4.1%, a 17-year low around the country and an 18-year low in some cities. He is correct that wages started to rise, in a faltering way, since 2016.

African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.

It is true that the unemployment rate for African Americans reached a record low in December 2017, dropping to 6.8% (the previous lows were 7% in April 2000 and September 2017). The unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans is not a record, but close to it, at 4.9% last month; the record is 4.8% in October 2017. Before he was elected and began to cite them, Trump repeatedly derided these unemployment numbers, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, calling them “fake” and “nonsense”.

Whether the president can take credit for these unemployment rates is more complicated, and tied up in the knotty, ambiguous question of how much any president can directly affect the economy, or only indirectly affect it through regulations, stimulus packages, and other measures.

Unemployment across all demographics declined from 2010 to 2016, during six years of Barack Obama’s presidency. African American unemployment more than halved, from a 16.6% peak in April 2010 to 7.8% in January 2017; Hispanic American unemployment reached similarly fell from 13% in August 2009 to 5.9% in January 2017. Neither president can take sole credit for producing those jobs.

Business editor Dominic Rushe adds:

The US added 2.1 million jobs in 2017 and the unemployment rate, at 4.1%, is at a 17 year low. But the major gains in the jobs market were made under Obama who, again, took over during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The US added 11.48 million jobs under Obama and the unemployment rate, which peaked at 10% in 2009, fell to 4.8%. If this is anyone’s jobs market, it’s still Obama’s. Nor is it as great as the headline numbers suggest. There are still huge numbers of people out of the job market and pockets of deep unemployment in the US. And wage growth, slow under Obama, is still sluggish.

Here’s a recent look at the true state of the US jobs market:

Trump touts stock strength, tax cuts


Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.

And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.

The tax cuts line has Republicans on their feet for sustained applause. The other half of the chamber is not impressed.

Here’s the bit where Trump talks about economic strength:

And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.

Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.

Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. And something I’m very proud of: African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded..

Somebody screams, audibly and somewhat coarsely, Hooray! as Republicans stand to clap.

…and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.”

That gets both sides clapping.

Trump: ‘The state of our union is strong’

This settles it, it’s a textbook SOTU:

Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.

So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.

Ironically this was Hillary Clinton’s campaign song:

Trump transitions from stories of emergency response to a description of the work ahead:

In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.

That line gets uniform Republican applause and some clapping from Democrats.

Donald Trump with vice-president Mike Pence and House speaker Paul Ryan at the State of the Union address.
Donald Trump with vice-president Mike Pence and House speaker Paul Ryan at the State of the Union address.
Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Trump praises Scalise

Now the first real applause for the night, for Rep Steve Scalise, who was shot last summer at a congressional baseball practice.

Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House – a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.

“I think they like you Steve,” Trump quips.

Trump: ‘we will pull through together’


To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else– we are with you, we love you, and we will always pull through together. Always.

Trump describes “incredible progress” and “extraordinary success” in the last year. He notes floods, fires and other trials.

But through it all we have seen the beauty in America’s soul and the steel in America’s spine.

Trump describes acts of American heroism including the “cajun navy” saving flooding victims and “strangers shielding strangers from the hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.”

Donald Trump arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol.
Donald Trump arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol.
Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Trump begins speech

Here it comes, Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

He starts as usual. Mr speaker, Mr vice president, members of congress…

He starts out with a subdued tone. He notes he was no the rostrum less than a year ago.

“A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land. Each day since we have gone forward… to make America great again, for all Americans.”

The Republicans stand and applaud. The Democrats sit and stare.

Ryan gavels the assembly to order and introduces Trump. There is a “hooray” and more applause.

The applause from Trump is respectable. It gets him to the rostrum. Up he goes, and a cheer goes up too. He shakes hands with Pence and Ryan and picks up a couple copies of the speech, handing them to those men.

The applause continues. Trump claps too, and points into the audience, and smiles.

Trump enters chamber

“Mr Speaker!” raises the cry. “The president of the United States.”

Trump’s haircut is visible in the scrum at the door, and then he begins to make his way down the aisle, shepherded by House majority leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. Rep Steve Scalise is in the mix, too.

Also spotted: Rex Tillerson, Steve Mnuchin, Ryan Zinke and Jim Mattis.

First lady Melania Trump arrives at the State of the Union address.
First lady Melania Trump arrives at the State of the Union address.
Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Here comes the cabinet.

There’s Ben Carson, the Hud secretary, and Mike Mulvaney the budget director. Nikki Haley. Betsy DeVos. Rick Perry. Who else. Scott Pruitt. Jeff Sessions, Elaine Chao.

Here’s another sartorial statement:

Melania Trump has entered the chamber. She is enthusiastically applauded, and she smiles. She’s wearing a cream-colored suit, for those who can’t stand not knowing.

Clinton statement on sexual harassment

Here’s the top:

The most important work of my life has been to support and empower women. I’ve tried to do so here at home, around the world, and in the organizations I’ve run. I started in my twenties, and four decades later I’m nowhere near being done. I’m proud that it’s the work I’m most associated with, and it remains what I’m most dedicated to.

So I very much understand the question I’m being asked as to why I let an employee on my 2008 campaign keep his job despite his inappropriate workplace behavior.

The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.

Before giving some of the reasons why I made a different choice back then and why looking back I wish I’d done it differently, here’s what happened and what my thinking was at the time.

Clapping in the chamber as members of the supreme court file in. Roberts, Breyer, Kagan, Gorsuch.

The House chamber is full. Elected officials are passing the time in idle talk. There’s Trey Gowdy talking with senators Tim Scott and Ben Sasse. Devin Nunes looking concerned in conversation with two unidentified and identically balding colleagues.

And Karen Pence makes her entrance.


The president alone.

More than 40m people are likely to watch the speech as it happens, judging by precedent. About 48m watched Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress last year, and that’s about how many watched Obama’s first SOTU.


Trump has just boarded his limo for the short ride from the White House up to Capitol Hill, per CNN footage.

He was wearing a blue tie and holding a sheaf of papers. He waves to cameras as the limo pulls out. He’s alone in there – Melania Trump reportedly preceded him to the speech.


They keep coming. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are in place. There’s senator Bernie Sanders walking in. Eric Trump and wife Lara are in place, as are Don Jr and Tiffany Trump.


Video feeds of the House chamber (check the top of the blog) now have the luminaries filing in. There’s Mike Pence: white hair, red tie and a sparkle in his eye. He takes his post next to Paul Ryan, the House speaker, who will sit behind Trump on the rostrum.

Here come a bunch of Democratic senators: Booker, Wyden, Menendez, Flake – oh wait he’s a Republican.

In the room tonight for the Guardian are Washington bureau chief David Smith (@smithinamerica) and politics reporter Ben Jacobs (@bencjacobs).

In the blog you’ll find a full complement of supporting voices, with snap analysis, fact-checking, color commentary and more. Stay tuned!

Try out experimental coverage of this topic

The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab is testing out an experimental format for coverage of the State of the Union – so if you like experiments… please join!

It’s tailored to you – you’ll only see new information on each visit, and it’s best viewed on phones. Android users with Chrome browsers can also sign up to get notified when there are key updates.

Check it out here.

State of the Union – live Q&A

Join Washington bureau chief David Smith and political reporter Sabrina Siddiqui for a live discussion on the Guardian US Facebook page (RSVP), Wednesday 31 January at 12.30pm ET.

They’ll share their thoughts on Trump’s State of the Union address and answer your questions about covering the Trump administration. Leave your questions via this form.

Kennedy to call out ‘bullies’ in rebuttal

Our political reporter Sabrina Siddiqui flags excerpts from Rep Kennedy’s planned rebuttal:

Immigrant arrest threat prompts backlash

Dozens of Dreamers will attend the State of the Union despite a threat tweeted by a Republican congressman from Arizona to arrest “illegal aliens.”

Rep Paul Gosar on Tuesday called for the deportation of any undocumented immigrants attending tonight’s state of the union, placing him at odds with Donald Trump and fellow Republicans who have expressed a desire to protect immigrants who arrived in the United States as children but whose status may be in doubt.

“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress,” Gosar said in a statement ahead of President Donald Trump’s speech. “Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported.”

The comments come as several Democrats and at least one Republican have invited Dreamers to attend the speech.

Gosar’s remarks drew swift condemnation. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said Gosar was “outside the circle of decency”.

The Guardian was unable to identify any Dreamers who planned to attend as guests of lawmakers whose legal status had expired. Dreamers who are still protected under the DACA program would theoretically not be subject to deportation.

Read further:


Trump to announce Guantánamo kept open – reports

Donald Trump will announce an executive order reserving the right to move new inmates to the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to multiple reports.

The prison has been heavily criticized for circumventing the constitution, hosting prisoner abuse, damaging US efforts to combat terrorism, violating basic human rights and costing a lot.

Calls for the closure of the prison were a perennial fixture of Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses.

The last time a prisoner arrived at Guantanamo was in 2008, according to a New York Times tracker. About 780 people have been sent to the prison since 2002. More than 500 were released by president George W Bush. Forty-one remain.

Recent SOTU lowlights

Do you remember when…


Thirsty Marco


Boehner disaster face


MarsRover Bobak


Rep Grimm threatens to throw reporter off balcony


‘I know cause I won both of em’


RBG at rest


The excerpts of Trump’s speech don’t make mention of the Russia investigations…

It looks like Donald Trump’s speech has cribbed a line from … Hillary Clinton.

In this excerpts released earlier Trump hailed a “New American Moment”.

It’s a snappy phrase. It’s also a phrase Clinton used in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2010, as Tommy Vietor – Barack Obama’s former National Security Council spokesman – has pointed out.

As you might recall, Melania Trump cribbed some of Michelle Obama’s speech at the Republican national convention in 2016.

Democratic women wear black for #MeToo

Members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group in the House plan to wear black tonight, following the lead of entertainers at this year’s Golden Globe awards. The gesture is in support of the #MeToo movement and in protest of the president, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 20 women:

Robin Bell, the projection artist whose previous work includes an installation on Trump’s Washington hotel reading “Pay Trump bribes here,” has a new projection tonight at the scene of the speech:

If Trump’s Twitter feed is anything to go by, he will no doubt boast about his tremendous record with the US stock markets.

The extent to which presidents control the stock markets is highly debatable but there is no arguing with the fact that US markets have hit a series of record highs since he took office.

When Obama left the White House, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the stock market bellwether, stood at around 19,700 and now it’s over a record-breaking 26,000. Hefty gains and driven, so Trump will argue, by a new era of business confidence thanks to his tax cuts and red tape slashing.

But take a longer look and you’ll see his achievements – so far – pale into insignificance compared to Barack Obama’s. When Obama took office, during the worst recession in living memory, the Dow stood at a little under 8,000, meaning it more than doubled under his presidency. That’s a record Trump will find hard to beat.

Ominously the Dow dropped 362 points today – it’s worst day fall since May. Trump has yet to mention that on Twitter.

Dow since Obama’s inauguration in 2009

Who’s sitting this thing out?

At least eight Democrats are boycotting tonight’s event: Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, John Lewis of Georgia, Frederica Wilson of Florida, Gregory Meeks of New York, Maxine Waters of California and Bobby Rush and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

The supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will also be missing. And so will some of you out there…

A live blog of the speech may be a strange place to ask whether anyone’s not going to watch – presumably if you’re following along here, you’ll tune in for the main event (or you are looking forward to it?!) – but anyone out there prefer not to?

Be advised that we’ll have a video stream on the blog when the speech starts, and it will be on every TV news channel, so if you do hope to avoid it, you should probably rev up Netflix or whatnot…

Bon appetit.

Porn actress to appear after Trump speech

After the State of the Union, the actress Stephanie Clifford who performs as Stormy Daniels will appear on the late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where she is certain to face questions about an alleged liaison with Donald Trump.

On Tuesday afternoon, Daniels issued a new denial of allegations that she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

“Over the past few weeks I have been asked countless times to comment on reports of an alleged sexual relationship I had with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago,” Daniels said in a statement.

In Las Vegas last week.
In Las Vegas last week.
Photograph: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

“The fact of the matter is that each party to this alleged affair denied its existence in 2006, 2011, 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018. I am not denying the affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying this affair because it never happened.”

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that a Trump Organization attorney, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 election to keep quiet about an affair she had with Trump a decade earlier, soon after Melania Trump gave birth to the couple’s only son, Barron. Cohen later produced an email in which Clifford apparently denied a “sexual and/or romantic affair” and receipt of “hush money”.

Democratic response: congressman Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy III, a 37-year-old Massachusetts congressman who is a grandson of former senator and attorney general Robert F Kennedy and great-nephew of President John F Kennedy, will deliver a Democratic response to Trump’s speech from a vocational high school in Fall River, Massachusetts, a former textile hub outside Boston.

“From healthcare to economic justice to civil rights, the Democratic agenda stands in powerful contrast to President Trump’s broken promises to American families,” Kennedy said this week.

In July 2017.
In July 2017.
Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

His speech will be followed by a Spanish-language response delivered by Elizabeth Guzman, one of the first Latina women elected to the Virginia house of delegates. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, the congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, and the former Maryland congresswoman Donna Edwards will also offer their takes.


Designated survivor: Sonny Perdue

Per tradition and an abundance of caution, one member of the president’s cabinet does not attend the State of the Union, in case some tragedy befalls Capitol Hill on a night when most every significant member of national government is in a single room.

Here’s our political reporter Ben Jacobs:

Perdue is the agriculture secretary. He used to be governor of Georgia. And if he does somehow become head of government, it appears that Trump’s support for voter suppression and inhumane immigration policy would at least survive; as governor, Perdue signed tough laws in both areas.

Sonny Perdue in November 2016.
Sonny Perdue in November 2016.
Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters


Your predictions: consonants and vowels

Thanks for sharing your expectations for this speech! Digging into them, we’d say they are rather, low:

Anyone want to place bets on how many times he says “tremendous” and “massive” during the course of the speech?

What is the State of the Union?

In free fall.

There will be consonants. There will be vowels. Maybe in the right order, sometimes.

He will be restrained because he won’t be talking, he’ll be reading a speech written by a grown-up (which are getting harder to recruit for his White House). But he will take credit for the sun coming up each day. Then tomorrow he’ll start another twitter war with Rosie O’Donnell.

For all SOTO drinking game participants, herewith the guidelines. One shot of whiskey when Melania tries and fails to smile. Two shots when he trashes Elizabeth Warren. Three if you’re still tuned in after 20 minutes.

And finally:

We’re at the stage now where if he manages to not actually shit himself at the podium, he’ll be hailed as presidential.

I yearn for the sweet embrace of death, I really do.

Struck by the eloquence of those excerpts? Thank these guys:

What do you make of those excerpts? Whet the appetite for the big speech?

Excerpts: ‘SAFE, STRONG and PROUD’

The White House has released excerpts from Trump’s prepared remarks. We’ve included them in full below.

The speech appears to repeat the words “safe” and “strong” and “proud”:


(as prepared for delivery)

• Together, we are building a SAFE, STRONG, and PROUD America.

• We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work; we want every child to be safe in their home at night, and we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.

• Just as I promised the American People from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.

• Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the Middle Class and small businesses.

• Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses – many of them thousands of dollars per worker.

• This is our New American Moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.

• Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.

• Americans love their country. And they deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.

• For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government.

• In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.

• We have ENDED the war on American Energy – and we have ENDED the War on CLEAN COAL. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.

• America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation’s wealth.

• America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take ten years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?

• 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.

• Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American Workers and American Families.

• So tonight I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed.

• As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.

• Last year I pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the earth. One year later, I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.

• Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past Administrations that got us into this dangerous position.

The State of the Union is the president’s yearly address to Congress and the nation.

This is when the president gives his or her view (so far only his) on how the country is doing – and usually how well he is doing – while also outlining the legislation he will focus on in the coming year.

The practice was established in article two, section three, clause one of the constitution – the clause states that:

“[The president] shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

The first address was given by George Washington in 1790, in the then provisional capital of New York City. Washington and John Adams, his successor, both gave the speech in person, but the third president, Thomas Jefferson, decided to give a written message instead.

Subsequent presidents followed suit until Woodrow Wilson personally addressed Congress in 1913. Since then almost all addresses have been given in person, some serving as key historical signposts.

• In 1862, Abraham Lincoln used his State of the Union message to call for the abolition of slavery – something he said was integral to the survival of the country.

• In his 1972 State of the Union speech Richard Nixon called for an end to the Watergate investigation. Seven months later he had resigned over the scandal.

• George Bush introduced the fateful term “axis of evil” in his 2002 address to Congress, four months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bush used the term to tie together Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Adam Gabbatt


You’re invited!

Are you actually invited to the State of the Union? We’re impressed! It’s not such an easy ticket. But each year a couple dozen people are invited to sit with the first lady, whose life stories serve to highlight themes advanced in the speech.

In 2015, the first lady’s box included a vacant seat for victims of gun violence.

Every member of congress also gets to invite a guest, which for the opposition party offers an opportunity for symbolic protest. Republican invitees during the Obama years included rocker Ted Nugent, discriminatory clerk Kim Davis and the Duck Dynasty guy.

Democrats tonight have invited numerous Dreamers – immigrants who arrived in the country as children but whose protected status under Obama has been endangered by Trump.

Our political correspondent Lauren Gambino has taken a look at who’s coming tonight:

In the audience to hear Trump’s speech live will be immigrants who fear for their future and business owners whose outlook has never been brighter; a soldier who may be barred from serving on the basis of her identity and members of the military who overcame adversity to serve; first responders who saved lives during a spate of natural disasters and a mayor who criticized the response to her hurricane-ravaged island.

Trump’s guests include a welder who has benefited from the Republicans’ tax overhaul, a police officer who adopted a child from parents addicted to opioids, and the parents of teenagers who are believed to have been killed by MS-13 gang members.

The guests will be seated in the box of the first lady, Melania Trump, during the address.

To read all about the invitees, click through below:


Trump campaign to post names of donors as speech runs

If there was one thing you could count on out of the Barack Obama White House, it was that each year they’d roll out some new gimmick for promoting the State of the Union.

In 2015, the Obama team became the first to release the SOTU text in full in advance online. They put out an “enhanced” video feed in 2016, and over the years they perpetrated all kinds of social media activity, from Instagram to Facebook to Tumblr. In 2016 they produced an electrifying State of the Union “supercut”.

This year, the Trump team has added an innovation all its own: it’s going to flash the names of campaign donors onscreen as the president talks.

Eric Trump, the president’s second son, sent an email about it earlier. It read in part:

We’re sick of hearing the media say that our movement is losing support. Today that ends.

YOU can prove them wrong while the world watches my father’s first official State of the Union Address.

The official Donald J. Trump for President livestream of the speech will display the names of all the patriots who chose to make a contribution for the world to see.

Newt Gingrich, never one to miss an opportunity to make money, has just fired out a mass email trying to hustle up some cash on the back of Trump’s address.

“After you watch tonight’s speech …” is the subject line of the email.

It turns out that what Gingrich wants you to do after the speech is spend $69.99 (plus tax and shipping) on a Gingrich-taught video series: “A six-lesson course to defend America from the left”.

Email from Newt Gingrich
Defend America. For just $69.99.
Photograph: Newt Gingrich

“If you are ready to fight back against the radical left, then Speaker Newt Gingrich invites you, your friends, and your family to join him in Defending America,” says the blurb.

“This 6-part video course covers the most critical issues facing our country, from culture and economics to religion and self-defense. It is a world-class learning opportunity from a world-class history professor and political practitioner.”

During Gingrich’s run for president in 2012 it emerged he had debts of between $250,000 and $500,000 at the jewellery store Tiffany’s. And as of 2016 Gingrich had still not paid off the debts from that doomed presidential campaign. According to reports, as of May 2016 he still owed $4.6m. Maybe that explains things.


People are particularly excited this evening to hear the president talk about how well the economy’s doing, judging by the group of Twitter users who responded (guilty) to a poll proposed by the Republican speaker of the House, Paul Ryan:

Note: this poll is meaningless.

State of the Union: what to expect

Our Washington bureau chief David Smith fills us in on what we can expect Trump to talk about tonight, covering policy areas including the economy, infrastructure, immigration, national security, trade and Other.

On immigration, David writes:

Trump said on Monday he would address his proposed immigration overhaul in the speech – and it would have to be bipartisan “because the Republicans don’t really have the votes to get it done in any other way”. In the State of the Union he will promote “four pillars” of reform: border security, including the wall; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) legalisation; ending extended-family “chain migration”; eliminating the visa lottery and moving towards a merit-based system of immigration.

Read the full piece here:


The typo presidency** struck again in the first printing of tickets for tonight’s speech, which admit the bearer to the chamber of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill:

That’s maybe the worst Trump presidency typo since the White House Snapchat account heralded “Secretary of Educatuoun Betsy DeVos” and the Department of Education quoted one “WEB DeBois.”

**Yes, making fun of typos at the outset of a six-hour live blog is asking for it, we know.

Hello and welcome to our live blog coverage of Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

The speech is scheduled to start at around 9pm ET and is likely to last about an hour. Afterwards we’ll round up noteworthy reactions, hopefully including from you. Write us, ping us, @ us, etc. I’m at and @teemcsee.

Trump has said he will brag about the economy and ask Democrats for a deal on immigration. But what do you expect from the president tonight? Will he stick to the script? Is he aiming for one of those speeches that makes people use the word “presidential”?

Don’t be shy – let’s hear your predictions. Presidents almost always say that the state of the union is “strong”. What will it be tonight? “Like, record-breaking”? “So fantastic you’re not gonna believe it”? “Covfefe”?

Recall that Trump has already delivered one of these, sort of, with his address to a joint session of Congress 11 months ago, a speech remembered for the immortal line: “The time for trivial fights is behind us.”

Then he tweeted:

We’ve got four hours – drop me a line with your forecasts, imprecations, witticisms and laments. Meanwhile we will be looking at the history of the State of the Union speech, the roster of invited guests, the designated survivor, background dramas, #SOTU trivia, anticipated speech themes, dumb #SOTU traditions, and much much more.

Thanks for joining us and please make yourselves at home in the comments … © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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State of the Union: Donald Trump gives his first address – live updates | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).