Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union address: 5 things to watch out for

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President Donald Trump said on Monday he will address his proposed immigration overhaul in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday and will seek Democratic support for it.
US President Donald Trump's speech will be both a report card and a vision statement. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday (Jan 30) at 9pm (10am Wednesday Singapore time) before a joint session of Congress.

The speech will be both a report card and a vision statement - and double as a scene setter for November's mid-term elections to Congress, when Republicans will be fighting to retain control of both Houses.

Here are some things to look out for:

1. Combative or conciliatory?

Mr Trump is expected to offer a bipartisan, unifying message and vision of "building a safe, strong and proud America".

He will tell the stories of several Americans, from workers to war heroes, who are invited to the event to sit with First Lady Melania Trump.

2. Trade

The President will be combative on trade. The North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) is being renegotiated, and Beijing is in the cross hairs because of the US' yawning trade imbalance with China.

"The world has taken advantage of us on trade for many years," Mr Trump said on Monday. "We're stopping it cold."

3. National security

With Congress stalemated over immigration and the border wall, the President may continue to draw the line and bargain hard, or break the stalemate with a sales pitch for a big bipartisan compromise. He will also mention strengthening the military.

4. The economy

The President will list low unemployment, a hot stock market, deregulation and corporate tax cuts as his key achievements. And he is expected to pitch a long-awaited trillion-dollar infrastructure overhaul and appeal for bipartisan support.

5. Foreign policy

Mr Trump will take credit for dumping the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the Paris Agreement; defeating the Islamic State in its former territory; getting tough with North Korea; and recognising Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

He could announce something dramatically new, or may simply reassert known hardline positions on North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan.

What he says about China and Russia will draw particular attention.

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