- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 27, 2018

President Trump will tell Congress in his first State of the Union address Tuesday that his tax cuts and deregulation are benefiting all Americans, senior administration officials said in a preview of the speech.

The president’s theme for the speech will be “building a safe, strong and proud America” one official said.

It will focus on five broad topics: the economy, a $1-trillion-plus plan to rebuild infrastructure, Mr. Trump’s new immigration proposal that includes a pathway to citizenship 1.8 million young illegal immigrants, trade policy and a plan to rebuild the military.

“To Congress, the tone will be one of bipartisanship and very forward-looking,” a senior administration official said. “The economic upswing is helping everybody — all groups are benefiting.”

Mr. Trump is facing an increasingly hostile Democratic minority in Congress — several black lawmakers plan to boycott his speech. The White House’s proposal to rebuild crumbling bridges and roads offers perhaps the most realistic opportunity to work with Democrats in this election year.

The president gave a major speech to a joint session of Congress about one month after his inauguration, but such an address in the first year of a presidency isn’t billed as an official State of the Union speech. The prime-time address on Tuesday night is expected to last about one hour.

The White House will have presidential guests in the gallery of the House chamber representing each of the policy areas that Mr. Trump will address, from the opioid crisis to immigration to the military and business owners.

While the president will talk mainly about domestic policy, he’s also expected to discuss the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. The administration reportedly is seeking a major increase in the defense budget in fiscal-year 2019 to about $716 billion, which would be a 13-percent increase over 2017 levels.

Aides said Mr. Trump will touch on some of the same principles that he covered in a speech on Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he emphasized the need for economic policies to improve the lives of all citizens.

“To be successful, it is not enough to invest in our economy,” Mr. Trump said at Davos. “We must invest in our people. Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all. The nation’s greatness is more than the sum of its production. A nation’s greatness is the sum of its citizens: the values, pride, love, devotion, and character of the people who call that nation home.”

The NAACP plans to hold a rival event online on Tuesday night to challenge Mr. Trump’s policies.

“It’s clear from his tax giveaways to the wealthy and subsequent 13-million-dollar takeaway from healthcare to his failure to protect the vote and civil rights, that this president’s agenda represents nothing but pain and suffering for communities of color, the poor, women and immigrants,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP’s president and CEO.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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