Will anyone buy Trump's call for unity in SOTU speech?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump will call for optimism and unity in Tuesday's State of the Union address, using the moment to attempt a reset after two years of bitter partisanship and deeply personal attacks.

But will anyone buy it?

Skepticism will emanate from both sides of the aisle when Trump enters the House chamber for the primetime address to lawmakers and the nation. Democrats, emboldened after the midterm elections and the recent shutdown fight, see little evidence of a president willing to compromise. And even the president's staunchest allies know that bipartisan rhetoric read off a teleprompter is usually undermined by scorching tweets and unpredictable policy maneuvers.

Still, the fact that Trump's advisers feel a need to try a different approach is a tacit acknowledgement that the president's standing is weakened as he begins his third year in office.

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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
US President Donald Trump listens to applause before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) looks on as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (R) , and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin look on before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Jared Kusner and Ivanka Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a glass of water before he delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) points after being acknowledged during U.S. President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald Trump enters the House of Representatives chamber to deliver his first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by the president and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C), backed by US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan claps as he arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller is pictured outside of the White House before President Donald Trump departs for Capitol Hill to deliver the 2018 State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) confers with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) as they makes their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
(L-R) US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speak before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA) during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump waves as she arrives for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senator Cory Booker (L, D-NJ) waves he awaits the start of the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Eric Trump (L) and his wife, Lara, arrive for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan point as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House to deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, U.S., January 30 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (C) jokes with other members of Congress on the floor of the House ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
House Oversight Committee Rep. Trey Gowdy (L) talks with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C) arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (L) talks with U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R) ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R) talks with Senator Ted Cruz (L) and other members of Congress prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump waves during the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (C-L) and Ivanka Trump clap before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) point during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) watch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Robert Mickens, Elizabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 are acknowledged as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Steven Daines (R-MT) take a selfie as they make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and his wife Marcelle make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump looks on as Police officer Ryan Holets and his wife are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, smiles while delivering a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Trump sought to connect his presidency to the nation's prosperity in his first State of the Union address, arguing that the U.S. has arrived at a 'new American moment' of wealth and opportunity. Photographer: Win McNamee/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (C) watches during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacts as she sits with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) listens next to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) during U.S. President Donald Trump's his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump takes a sip of water as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Rep. James Clyburn (L), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi react to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney talks with members of Congress during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch talk as they attend U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Elzabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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The shutdown left some Republicans frustrated over his insistence on a border wall, something they warned him the new Democratic House majority would not bend on. Trump's approval rating during the shutdown dipped to 34 percent, down from 42 percent a month earlier, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the president would use his address "to call for an end to the politics of resistance, retribution."

"He's calling for cooperation," she said, adding that Trump will point to examples of where this has happened on his watch. Officials said the president is also expected to highlight infrastructure, trade and prescription drug pricing as areas in which the parties could work together.

But Washington's most recent debate offered few signs of cooperation between Trump and Democrats. Under pressure from conservative backers, Trump refused to sign a government funding bill that did not include money for his long-sought border wall. With hundreds of thousands of Americans missing paychecks, Trump ultimately agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow negotiations on border security to continue.

With the new Feb. 15 funding deadline looming, Trump is expected to use his address to outline his demands, which still include funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He's teased the possibility of declaring a national emergency to secure wall funding if Congress doesn't act, though it appeared unlikely he would take that step Tuesday night. Advisers have also been reviewing options to secure some funding without making such a declaration.

"You'll hear the State of the Union, and then you'll see what happens right after the State of the Union," Trump told reporters.

The president's address marks the first time he is speaking before a Congress that is not fully under Republican control. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who won plaudits from Democrats for her hard-line negotiating tactics during the shutdown, will be seated behind the president — a visual reminder of Trump's political opposition.

In the audience will be several Democrats running to challenge Trump in 2020, including Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Another Democratic star, Stacey Abrams, will deliver the party's response to Trump. Abrams narrowly lost her bid in November to become Georgia's first black governor, and party leaders are aggressively recruiting her to run for Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed Democrats' message for countering Trump, declaring Monday, "The number one reason the state of the union has such woes is the president."

While White House officials cautioned that Trump's remarks were still being finalized, the president was expected to use some of his televised address to showcase a growing economy. Despite the shutdown, the U.S. economy added a robust 304,000 jobs in January, marking 100 straight months of job growth. That's the longest such period on record.

Trump and his top aides have also hinted that he is likely to use the address to announce a major milestone in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. Despite the objections of some advisers, Trump announced in December that he was withdrawing U.S. forces in Syria.

In a weekend interview with CBS, Trump said efforts to defeat the IS group were "at 99 percent right now. We'll be at 100."

U.S. officials say the Islamic State group now controls less than 10 square kilometers (3.9 square miles) of territory in Syria, an area smaller than New York's Central Park. That's down from an estimated 400 to 600 square kilometers (155 to 230 square miles) that the group held at the end of November before Trump announced the withdrawal, according to two officials who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

However, a Defense Department inspector general report released Monday said the Islamic State group "remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that could likely resurge in Syria" absent continued counterterrorism pressure. According to the Pentagon, the group is still able to coordinate offensives and counteroffensives.

Administration officials say the White House has also been weighing several "moonshot" goals for the State of the Union address. One that is expected to be announced is a new initiative aimed at ending transmissions of HIV by 2030.

Trump's guests for the speech include Anna Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman whose life sentence for drug offenses was commuted by the president, and Joshua Trump, a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Delaware, who was allegedly bullied because of his last name. They will sit with first lady Melania Trump during the address.

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Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Darlene Superville, Matthew Lee and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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