Trump to address US Congress next month

WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump will address a joint session of Congress late next month, accepting House Speaker Paul Ryan's traditional invitation to deliver the speech to lawmakers and the nation.

The White House and both chambers of Congress are now controlled by Republicans. Mr Trump will come to Congress as a change agent, but he entered the White House with poor approval ratings.

"It is my honour to invite you to address a joint session of Congress on Feb 28, 2017, in the hall of the House of Representatives," Mr Ryan wrote in a letter to the President.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the President has accepted Mr Ryan's invitation.

Mr Trump may have some repair work to do with his Republicans, after he offered a searing repudiation of the Washington establishment in his inauguration speech.

"The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country," Mr Trump said. "Their victories have not been your victories."

Mr Trump is likely to address several objectives he hopes to accomplish in his first 100 days in office, notably a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the health reforms implemented by his predecessor, Mr Barack Obama.

But the complex issue already appears to have set Mr Trump on course for a possible clash with Republicans. Before his swearing-in, Mr Trump told The Washington Post that he wants the replacement to provide "insurance for everybody", a proposal that has been opposed by his party.

Mr Ryan's formal invitation fulfils a tradition that provides an incoming president with the opportunity to address Congress within weeks of taking office.

A joint session of Congress is usually attended by all 100 US senators and 435 representatives.

Mr Trump may seek to soothe the concerns of a weary and nervous nation following last year's divisive presidential campaign.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'Trump to address US Congress next month'. Print Edition | Subscribe