President Trump’s second State of the Union address will be delivered Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress with all the usual pomp and circumstance. But the political backdrop is unusual, coming in the aftermath of the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history and on the eve of what could be another vicious fight or even another shutdown.
The fight at the heart of the shutdown — the fight over the president’s border wall — remains unresolved with the clock ticking to make a deal.
White House officials are previewing a conciliatory tone from the president, as they have done before previous addresses to Congress that didn’t turn out to be so conciliatory after all. As part of a briefing with reporters at which a senior official detailed what to expect from the speech but declined to speak on the record, the official read an excerpt of Trump’s prepared remarks.
“Together we can break decades of political stalemate,” the official said Trump will say. “We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make.”
This comes in stark contrast to the uncertainty and bitterness of the moment. There is uncertainty about whether a bipartisan congressional conference committee can reach an agreement to fund border security and avoid another government shutdown.