Trump delivers State of the Union speech at 10am: Everything you need to know about the address

US President Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address to Congress at the Capitol in Washington, on Jan 30, 2018.
US President Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address to Congress at the Capitol in Washington, on Jan 30, 2018.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - President Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday (Feb 5) night. He was originally scheduled to deliver the annual speech Jan 29, 2019, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., revoked his invitation during the latest government shutdown.

This will be Trump's first time speaking in a House chamber that is now controlled by Democrats, after the party retook the lower chamber in the 2018 midterms. It follows a bitter partisan battle over his proposed border wall that resulted in the longest government shutdown in history.

Here's everything you need to know about the speech and the ceremony surrounding it.

When is the 2019 State of the Union address?

Trump will deliver the 2019 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019 (Wednesday, Feb 6, Singapore time).

What time will Trump give the address?

The address is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. EST (10am Singapore time).


Where can I watch the State of the Union?

You can watch the address live on TV on the major networks and cable news channels.

What will be in Trump's State of the Union address?

Aides to the president previewed his speech to reporters, and it will contain calls for bipartisanship, The Post reported: "President Trump intends to offer an 'aspirational' and 'visionary' path for the nation at the State of the Union on Tuesday, White House aides said, even as his relations with lawmakers have soured over his threats to use executive power to bypass them.

"In his third prime-time address to the nation from the House chambers, Trump will call on Congress to work with him on initiatives around infrastructure and health care, while also reaffirming his strategy to toughen immigration enforcement, confront China on trade and actively intervene in the political upheaval in Venezuela, aides said in previewing the speech Friday."

The president also is expected to make appeals to "heal old wounds," according to an excerpt of his prepared remarks. "We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make," Trump is expected to say.

Who will sit with the first lady?

Traditionally, guests in the first lady's box are people who exemplify policies the president will highlight in his remarks. The guests were announced Monday night and include an 11-year-old boy who says he's been bullied because of his last name: Trump.

Other guests announced by the White House include Grace Eline, a child who was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 9; Judah Samet, a Holocaust survivor who lived through the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Ashley Evans, a recovering opioid addict; Elvin Hernandez, a special agent at the Department of Homeland Security who focuses on human trafficking; and Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong and Madison Armstrong, family members of a Nevada couple who authorities say were killed by an undocumented immigrant.

Do members of Congress invite guests? Who are they?

Like the president, lawmakers invite guests to the State of the Union to make a statement on an issue they wish to highlight. This year, several will do so. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., has invited Victorina Morales, an undocumented worker who recently worked for Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and left after she publicly disclosed her immigration status. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will bring Ana Maria Archila, the activist who confronted Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in a Senate elevator to urge him to vote against Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., who recently announced a presidential bid, will bring Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, an air traffic controller who lost her home in 2017's Thomas Fire and was affected by the shutdown. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., will be accompanied by Nadia Murad, a Yazidi activist who escaped the Islamic State and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Who is the designated survivor?

Hint: It's not Kiefer Sutherland.

Each year, a designated Cabinet member does not attend the speech and is instead taken to a secure location in the event of a disaster or attack.

Because so many of the nation's most powerful leaders - including the president, vice president and others in the presidential line of succession - will be gathered in one place, precautions are taken to ensure that in the event catastrophe strikes, there is one official who survives and can assume leadership of the country. Hence the dramatic name: designated survivor.

The protocol began during the Cold War. The identity of the designated survivor likely will be revealed a few hours before the address.

Who will deliver the Democrats' response?

Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the race for Georgia governor in November but is considered one of the Democratic Party's brightest stars, will deliver the Democrats' response to the address.

Who will deliver the Democrats' response in Spanish?

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former member of the House Democratic leadership, will deliver the Spanish-language response.

What is the history of the State of the Union address?

As any West Wing fan worth their salt knows, the constitutional justification for a State of the Union comes from Article II of the Constitution, which states the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

But it didn't become an annual tradition until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, who in 1913 delivered a speech to Congress about tariffs. At the time, it was seen as a highly controversial move. Wilson's idea was picked up by subsequent presidents, some of whom delivered them as radio addresses, before Harry Truman delivered the first televised iteration.