We could see an entirely different Trump at the State of the Union address
- President Donald Trump will give his first-ever State of the Union address on Tuesday.
- A source says to expect a different kind of Trump, much like the polished speech he gave at Davos.
- Trump could use the lengthy address to smooth over partisan differences and focus on a future that largely requires bipartisan support.
- But Trump frequently veers off script and gets himself into hot water, the question before the State of the Union is which Trump will turn up?
President Donald Trump will give his first-ever State of the Union address before Congress and the nation on Tuesday, and early reports indicate we may see a very different Trump.
"The partisan fights, like Obamacare and tax cuts, are behind. Now everything requires cooperation and agreement," a source with knowledge Trump told Axios' Mike Allen.
"Time to appear as commander-in-chief and leader of the whole nation. So expect calls to patriotism and national security and national greatness," the source added.
With tax reform done and healthcare seemingly off the table, bipartisan issues like immigration reform and keeping the government open require support from Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
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Additionally, with the 2018 midterm elections jeopardizing the GOP's control of the House and Senate, Trump may look to play up the Republicans' success and attempt to appear above the fray with cross-aisle finger pointing.
For those reasons, the Trump that addresses the union on Tuesday may look more like the Trump that spoke at Davos, and less like the Trump that visits rallies to bash his opponents.
However, some GOP analysts say despite Trump's best efforts to present an agreeable message, his old habits may kick in.
Can Trump stick to the script?
"He has little message discipline," Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for President George W. Bush told the Associated Press.
"Virtually every time he moves the ball far down the field, he seems to derail himself with a tweet days later instead of building on the momentum."
Trump is known to react strongly to negative stories about himself, and could easily become derailed by or mired in a conversation that has little to do with achieving his material political goals, as was the case in his months-long admonishment of the NFL for the behavior of players during the national anthem.
But unlike his tweets that dominate mini news cycles across all cable news networks, the State of the Union format demands more content, as they often last around one hour. Also, the speech is uninterrupted by questions and answers, allowing Trump to possibly control the message closely, as he did at Davos.
"It's one of the few events presidents conduct in which 30 to 40 million or more Americans are watching," Fleischer said.
"There is hardly another moment of presidential exposure as big as this one, and it's one when the president and his staff have all the control. They are not reacting to events. They are controlling them, and they need to deliver."
At Davos, Trump took on the role of cheerleader for the US, declaring the country "open for business" and deriding "small thinking."
With the State of the Union, Trump has the opportunity to tout his successes and smooth over rough patches, potentially addressing or defending some of his tendencies that are frequently seen as racist or hurtful — but will he?
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