WASHINGTON — President Trump says he'll use his State of the Union address Tuesday to make a bipartisan appeal to Congress on immigration and infrastructure in the coming year.
But first, Trump isn't quite done talking about the year that's passed.
Trump said Monday he will use his annual address to Congress to tout "our great success with the markets and with the tax cut"before tackling some of the things he'd like to achieve in 2018 — a list that includes infrastructure spending, an immigration bill and renegotiated trade agreements.
Those two objectives — looking both backwards and forwards, claiming credit for past accomplishments but also proposing new initiatives — have come to define the highly formulaic, ritualized speech to Congress.
They present a unique challenge for Trump, a president more accustomed to speaking in 280-character tweets, brief exchanges with reporters than an hour-long formal address. But he prime-time televised address also gives Trump an unfiltered opportunity to talk about his presidency without the distraction of daily headlines about the Russia investigation and White House intrigue.
"The president is going to talk about how America is back," White House legislative director Marc Short told Fox News Sunday. The White House has declined to talk much about the policy specifics, although Trump continued a tradition he started last year by having lunch with network anchors to preview the speech.
Key talking points used by presidential aides over the past few days: A growing economy. Declining unemployment — particularly among African-Americans, A booming stock market. Victories against he Islamic State. And the appointment of conservative federal judges.
"Certainly, the economy will be front and center," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told NBC News on Tuesday.
But the State of the Union speech isn't just a report on the year that's passed. The Constitution requires the president to give an annual report to Congress and "recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
Trump has a weighty legislative agenda he'd like to get through a Republican-dominated Congress before November's elections change the legislative math.
► Immigration: The White House released the outlines of a proposal Friday that would give immigrants who arrived in the United States as children legal status — with the possibility of citizenship in 10 to 12 years.
But that concession would come with strings attached: Trump wants $25 billion for border security and an end to two immigration programs Trump opposes: family-based "chain" migration, and the diversity visa lottery program, which admits immigrants from countries usually under-represented in other visa categories.
"For many, many years they've been talking immigration and never got anything done. We're going to get something done, we hope. It's got to be bipartisan, because the Republicans really don't have the votes to get it done in any other way," Trump told reporters Monday.