Trump plans appeal to Democrats in State of the Union speech, official says

Trump speaks during a meeting to discuss fighting human trafficking on the southern border.
Trump speaks during a meeting to discuss fighting human trafficking on the southern border.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Donald Trump will implore Congress to compromise on issues including immigration and infrastructure in his State of the Union address on Tuesday (Feb 5), a speech delayed a week by a 35-day partial government shutdown caused by the president's demand for money to build a border wall.

"Together we can break decades of political stalemate, we can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future," Trump plans to say, according to an excerpt of his speech read to reporters at a briefing on Friday.

Trump will deliver the address to a divided Congress, with Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker who forced him to yield on the shutdown and re-open the government, seated behind him on her chamber's dais.

The president is expected to urge Democrats to focus on working with him on legislation instead of pursuing investigations of him and his administration, and the theme of his speech will be "choosing greatness," a White House official told reporters.

The official asked not to be identified previewing Trump's speech.

Its tone will seek to be traditional for a State of the Union, the official said - bipartisan, optimistic and visionary.

While the president is expected to focus on immigration, the caustic subject that brought much of the government to a standstill, Trump will also touch on his trade war with China and his renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he wants the Democratic House to approve, the official said.

He will ask lawmakers to support his efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and other health care and will encourage a halt to what the official called endless foreign wars.

Trump plans to address Venezuela, where his administration seeks to depose President Nicolas Maduro. The official said he was instructed not to say whether any other specific countries would be mentioned.