President Trump will deliver the State of the Union address Tuesday night. He was originally scheduled to deliver the annual speech Jan. 29, 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 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.
Trump is expected to call for Congress to pass his immigration policies, and to assert that his presidency, along with the country, remains strong. Presidents often use the State of the Union address to call for unity and bipartisanship, but Trump will give his address in the midst of a political polarized moment.
Here’s everything you need to know about the speech and the ceremony surrounding it. We’ll be updating as more details about the State of the Union are announced.
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.
What time will Trump give the address?
The address is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern 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.
The Washington Post also will carry a stream of live coverage here.
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 has 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 tumor when she was 9; Judah Samet, a survivor of the Holocaust who lived through the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; 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, N.J., 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 M. 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.
Almost a year after the Parkland shooting took the lives of 17 Florida high school students and staff members, parents and survivors will be represented at the State of the Union. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) has invited Manuel Oliver, Speaker Pelosi will bring Fred Guttenberg, and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has invited Andrew Pollack. Each of the three lost a child in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Activist Cameron Kasky, a student there who helped found the March for Our Lives movement, will be the guest of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).
Why are some female lawmakers wearing white?
Some members of Congress will use their clothing to send a political message by wearing white. The color is meant to evoke the women of the suffrage movement, who donned white clothing to draw attention to their movement.
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) told The Post that the House Democratic Women’s Working Group invited members from both sides of the aisle to make a statement for their “hard-earned rights.”
This is not the first time female lawmakers have worn white to the annual speech. In 2017, some women wore white to Trump’s Joint Address to Congress as a form of protest against his policies.
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.
Here’s some history behind the protocol, which began during the Cold War. We’ll likely know the identity of the designated survivor 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.
Eli Rosenberg contributed to this report.