Trump to tout U.S. ‘come­back’ in speech

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY AAMER MADHANI

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will use next week’s State of the Union to pro­mote what he calls the “Great Amer­i­can come­back,” ac­cord­ing to a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial.

The speech comes at a mo­ment when Trump is hop­ing to put his Se­nate im­peach­ment trial be­hind him. White House of­fi­cials say Trump wants to use the na­tion­ally-tele­vised ad­dress to high­light his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts to bol­ster the econ­omy, tighten im­mi­gra­tion rules and lower pre­scrip­tion drug costs just as his re­elec­tion ef­fort ac­cel­er­ate.

“I think it’s safe to say the speech will cel­e­brate Amer­i­can eco­nomic and mil­i­tary strength and present an op­ti­mistic vi­sion of Amer­ica’s fu­ture,” said the se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial, who briefed re­porters on the broad out­lines of the speech that Trump is sched­uled to de­liver be­fore a joint ses­sion of Congress on Tues­day

But for the sec­ond straight year, Trump will de­liver his speech with a cloud over his pres­i­dency as his Se­nate im­peach­ment edges to a ran­corous close. Last year, Trump was forced to post­pone his speech be­cause of the long­est govern­ment shut­down in the na­tion’s his­tory trig­gered by bit­ter par­ti­san bat­tle over his push for fund­ing for his bor­der wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

Trump ap­peared headed for an all-but-cer­tain im­peach­ment ac­quit­tal as sen­a­tors on Fri­day re­jected ef­forts to call more wit­nesses to tes­tify about his ef­forts to pres­sure Ukraine’s pres­i­dent to in­ves­ti­gate for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and his son’s busi­ness deal­ings in the Eastern Euro­pean na­tion.

But as the trial wraps up, Washington is bit­terly di­vided. Democrats claim that Repub­li­cans re­fusal to al­low wit­nesses, has un­der­cut the fair­ness of the trial. Mean­while, most Repub­li­can sen­a­tors – even those who say that Trump acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately in push­ing a for­eign leader to in­ves­ti­gate a do­mes­tic ri­val – have in­di­cated they don’t be­lieve Trump’s ac­tions war­ranted re­mov­ing him from of­fice.

The of­fi­cial who briefed re­porters on Trump’s State of the Union prepa­ra­tions de­clined to com­ment on how Trump will ad­dress im­peach­ment. His pre­de­ces­sors tra­di­tion­ally have tried to use the an­nual ad­dress as a plat­form to try to of­fer a uni­fy­ing mes­sage to the coun­try.

In re­cent days, Trump has spo­ken out bit­terly about what he calls a “hoax” trial pushed by his Demo­cratic op­po­nents.

But White House of­fi­cials stressed Fri­day that the pres­i­dent was de­ter­mined to of­fer an “op­ti­mistic” mes­sage with his ad­dress and be­lieve that he could strike a chord with Amer­i­cans by high­light­ing the strength of econ­omy un­der his watch.

“I’ve heard the Pres­i­dent say in a pub­lic fo­rum … that he al­ways thought Amer­ica could unite around suc­cess,” the ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said.

Trump has in­vited U.S. Army veteran Tony Rank­ins, who has bat­tled post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and bat­tled drug ad­dic­tion, and Raul Or­tiz, a deputy chief of the U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol, to be two of his guests at the speech, the of­fi­cial added.

SU­SAN WALSH AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s mo­tor­cade ar­rives at the Trump In­ter­na­tional Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Satur­day. Trump is spend­ing the week­end at his Mar-a-Lago re­sort ahead of Tues­day’s speech.

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