As President Donald Trump seeks to redefine his administration's goals at the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the White House's choice of guests offer hints as to the speech's central themes.
Millions of Americans were expected to watch the address on television, giving Trump his biggest opportunity to date to explain why he believes a barrier is needed on the USA southern border with Mexico.
Some Democrats have invited guests to the speech to highlight various causes, some at odds with Trump's policies, making a raucous atmosphere possible inside the House chamber.
The president is also expected to call for political unity and an end to the partisan politics dividing the nation.
He also will make another pitch for his proposed southern border wall. Congressional Republicans largely escaped political blowback for the shutdown, and so far they have generally supported Trump's wall demands, while letting the president lead on the issue.
Commenting on the Pentagon's decision, Trump stated that while a wall would be "soooo much easier and less expensive" than sending troops, the measure was necessary to stop the "Invasion of Illegals" trying to gain entry into the US. Trump's approval rating during the shutdown dipped to 34 percent, down from 42% a month earlier, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Asked on Tuesday if Trump would use the speech to announce an emergency, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said the president "has an absolute right to do it" but would prefer that lawmakers forge a solution. He was released in January as the first person granted clemency by the bipartisan First Step Program, the White House has said. "They're going to need to decide if they're serious about that, as well".More news: Son Heung-min leads the line for Spurs against Newcastle
With the Democrats having rejected his "compromise" to build the wall with steel instead of concrete, Trump announced Tuesday that a different kind of material had been chosen.
"His hero and best friend is his Uncle Cody, who serves in the United States Air Force", the White House said.
US President Donald Trump, second right, and Vice President Mike Pence, second left, meet with then-Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, right, and then-House minority leader Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office of the White House, December 11, 2018, in Washington.
That means a "unity" speech would not be a simple declaration that the opposition party needs to come around to the president's way of thinking about everything from the economy to immigration to national security and foreign policy. "He's going to lay out the case".
As Cohen mentioned, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., also said he wouldn't go to the State of the Union, according to The Hill. The counter-puncher in chief charged Schumer with being "upset that he didn't win the Senate, after spending a fortune, like he thought he would". Last week, in a one-on-one meeting with the president, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, reportedly warned Mr. Trump that declaring a national emergency to build his wall would nearly certainly spark a rebellion within his party - and a vote to overrule him. Expect Republican members to shower him in applause and a few standing ovations as he speaks of what he calls a humanitarian and security "crisis", and when he drops some version of his "walls work" line. And when it comes to the president's requested $5.7 billion in border wall funding, he's hit a brick wall of naysayers.