What to Expect From Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address

President Donald Trump will address Congress and the American public on January 30, marking his first State of the Union address since completing a year of his presidency. An annual tradition, the State of the Union is an occasion for the president of the United States to reaffirm his administrative victories over the past year and establish his priorities for the year to come. Meanwhile, members of both parties invite guests to attend — either to celebrate gains or make pointed jabs at the current commander-in-chief.

Here’s what we can expect from this year’s State of the Union address:

1. So much immigration talk.

President Trump remains unable to pass his Muslim travel ban, continues to lose favor over his deportation of undocumented Americans – an action that has been breaking up generations of families — and still can’t get Congress to fund his border wall between the United States and Mexico. Expect a lot of talk about dangerous immigrants and Democrats refusing to compromise on immigration legislation.

Meanwhile, Democrats will make a definite point about pathways to citizenship by inviting a number of undocumented immigrants to the event itself. As PBS reports:

Dozens of young immigrants will be sitting in the House gallery overlooking the president as Mr. Trump speaks. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and other Democratic lawmakers invited them to put a face on an immigration debate that is dominating Congress’s attention. The guests are among the nearly 700,000 people who received protection from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

2. A little climate change denial.

Climate experts say that 2017 was the worst year ever when it came to environmental damage and climate change, but they expect President Trump to keep his head in the sand by avoiding the issue all together in Tuesday’s speech. USA Today reports:

[Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University] described the Trump administration as a ‘dream team of climate change denial.’ Asked what he sees as Trump’s most damaging policy changes on climate, he pointed to the ongoing reversal of rules limiting carbon emissions, the rejection of the Paris climate deal, efforts to subsidize coal and a lack of support for renewable energy. Mann said he’ll watch Trump’s State of the Union address “with an appropriate alcoholic beverage in my hand.”

So who are Democrats bringing to shed a little light on the issue? New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has invited San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who was criticized by President Trump for allegedly not doing enough to help her city when it was destroyed by hurricanes. The president, on the other hand, refused to offer much in the form of aid — either financially or physically. Much of Puerto Rico  is still without electricity months later.

But climate change isn’t a one-party issue, and one Republican is bringing his own guest: Bill Nye the Science Guy. How’s that for a pointed response?

3. Some back-patting on the economy.

The president continues to ride on President Barack Obama’s economic recovery, pretending that it’s his own doing. And, according to The Hill, he will double down on that sentiment during his speech. President Trump is expected to talk about booming stock markets, low unemployment and the new tax plan the GOP wedged through Congress in December.

So-called “tax reform” was a pet priority of Wisconsin Congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, so Democrats are jabbing him a little by inviting his Democratic challenger to the address. Randy Bryce will accompany Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan, adding a little local flavor to the taunt.

4. Women?

It’s unclear if the president will talk about women at all — and that could well be wise considering that it’s difficult for him to do so without name-calling, come-ons or … “grabbing.” Whether or not the president’s sexist and predatory nature comes through in his speech, a number of sexual assault and harassment victims will be in the audience as guests of a variety of legislators, serving as a reminder that the #MeToo Movement is still going strong.

5. Midterm politicking.

A number of pundits state that President Trump will use the speech to start rallying people to the GOP in preparation of the 2018 midterms. None of them say exactly how, but I have a pretty good guess. Monday night the Senate will vote on a federal 20-week abortion ban – not because they expect it to pass, but because they want to use it as a weapon against vulnerable Democratic senators in the upcoming race.

I predict a large portion of the president’s speech will discuss the barbarity of “late-term” abortion and how disgusting it is that Democrats allow the practice to continue. Expect senators like Missouri’s Clare McCaskill, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and North Dakota’s Heidi Heidkamp to be called out by name.


Besides invited guests — such as a Michigan pastor who speaks out against gun violence, or the first transgender woman soldier to receive a gender reassignment surgery through the military — there will be the usual round of rebuttal responses, too.

The official Democratic response will come from three-term Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy, a rising star in the party and harsh critic of the president. Meanwhile, California Congresswoman and fierce administration opponent Rep. Maxine Waters will give a less formal response on BET.

Activists are organizing a “People’s Response to the State of the Union,” with regular people offering their own rebuttals to President Trump. And newly elected Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman — the first Hispanic woman elected to the legislature in that state –  will provide a Spanish response to the State of the Union.

For the first time in years, the Tea Party — which has always considered itself separate from the GOP — is not running its own State of the Union response. Apparently they feel they already have their mouthpiece in the White House.

Photo Credit: The White House/Flickr


John B
John Babout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

Brian F
Brian F1 months ago

Rhoberta E Our healthcare is horrible because big pharma and our criminal healthcare industry run this for profit ripoff industry, and own our venal politicians. I'm sure if you had our horrible healthcare system, you'd be complaining to. Bernie Sanders Medicare for All plan isn't a panacea, but it is the best plan we have. It will keep our criminal health care industry and big pharma from ripping us off. Unfortunately when people like Eric criticize Bernie Sanders progressive policies like Medicare for All, you and others defend him. Sure other countries are different, but if it works in most countries, it could work in the USA. Stop defending right wing posters like Dan B and Eric L, who bash Bernie Sanders and his progressive policies that we desperately need in this country like Medicare for All. You always side with the wrong people.

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E1 months ago

brian f BOT
You have to always be right don't you.(just like trump)
Some things work in other countries because we are DIFFERENT !!! Different political ways, we are not chopped up into tiny bits with every politician it seems having to be right like in the US. Do your homework, brian and find out WHY it works in other countries. The US is so used to being the be all and end all to the rest of the world that you collectively broke the system. YOU especially just want to complain but put forth nothing except complaints.

Brian F
Brian F1 months ago

Dan B Making a statement like Bernie Sander's socialist policies will lead to shared misery and death, as Eric L did in his last post is unacceptable. We don't need this kind of rhetoric. Their is no proof to substantiate this claim. Please don't mischaracterize Bernie Sanders progressive policies or people will not take you seriously. Most people support Bernie Sanders and his progressive policies like Medicare for All, which we desperately need in this country. Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, and many of his progressive policies work in other countries like Canada, Sweden, Denmark, France, the UK, and others. Eric has also used failed dictatorships like Venezuela to try to discredit Bernie Sanders, and make it appear as if Bernie Sanders supports the same failed policies. I realize you disagree with Bernie Sanders progressive policies, but just to be clear, Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, his progressive policies work in other countries, and most people support his progressive policies, so you are in the minority here.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

Brian F.,
Your arguments that someone sounds like a shill for the healthcare, fossil fuel, corporate America, etc. whenever they disagree with you is getting old. Anyone who cannot devate their position reasonably and intellectually, but resorts to this type of name calling, has already lost. Please refrain from doing so, if you want to be taken seriously.

Brian F
Brian F1 months ago

Eric L You're right, it only works in other countries like Norway, Sweden, and Canada, where healthcare is guaranteed from birth to death. Only in America do we have this horrible healthcare industry, that only cares about money, but we should just accept it, because we can't have the higher level of care that other countries have. You sound like a shill for our dirty criminal healthcare industry.

Jetana A
Jetana A1 months ago

Lies and that abominable smirk!

Bill Eagle
Bill E1 months ago

We got what we expected to get and now we have to live with it.

Eric L
Eric Lees1 months ago

@Brian F
"This fraud Trump and the Republicans are criminal liars, but so are the Democrats who cheated Bernie Sanders out of his primary, and caused this crook Trump to win."

Yes both wings of the Oligarchy are corrupt and everyone that pays attention knows this.
News flash Brian, your idol Bernie lies as well. Socialism is not the path to Utopian prosperity. It only leads to shared misery and death.

Educate yourself!

Eric L
Eric Lees1 months ago

@Winn A
"They liar in chief, tRUMP should be impeached."

Impeached for what? Can you name a recent President that did not lie? Every one has taken credit for stuff like the economy that they had nothing to do with.