WASHINGTON — President Trump, in his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, will call for overhauling immigration and spending more on the military and infrastructure. But his vision will confront political realities and budget constraints created by Republicans’ recent tax cuts, which he’ll tout as a boon to the economy.

Trump’s 60 minutes of uninterrupted airtime will come after reports that his staff blocked him from firing special counsel Robert Mueller in June as the investigation into contacts between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia gathered steam.

With the midterm elections in November and Republican control of Congress in question, White House officials are emphasizing accomplishments that include the new tax law and reducing regulations on businesses, and claiming credit for gains in the stock market and drops in unemployment.

But the cloud of the Russia investigation continues to hang over Trump. Prosecutors have spoken to more than 20 current and former White House officials and are gathering facts about what Trump may have done to impede the investigation. In addition, Mueller may ask to interview Trump in the coming weeks.

Trump’s advisers hope Tuesday night’s speech will give Trump the opportunity to sweep turmoil aside and list his accomplishments – in his own words – directly to living rooms across the country.

The central theme of the speech will be that Trump is “building a safe, strong, proud America,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to give a preview of the president’s remarks.

The official outlined Trump’s main points for the speech. The president will:

Praise the passage of the tax bill and take credit for creating jobs and boosting the economy.

Call for Congress to fund a $1 trillion plan to improve roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Demand that lawmakers revamp the immigration system.

Call for additional military spending to promote “peace through strength.”

But Republicans are becoming more wary of creeping deficits under Trump’s military and infrastructure proposals, which the White House has said repeatedly would be paid for by economic growth.

On infrastructure, the White House has circulated a plan that would use about half of the $1 trillion to fund state and local project grants, and encourage private investment. Another large part of the money would go to rural transportation, water, power and broadband internet investments.

Trump has said he wants to protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation in exchange for $25 billion to build a Mexican border wall and increase deportations. He also wants changes in the immigration system that would cut the number of legal immigrants allowed in the country each year and emphasize job skills over family ties.

He has tried to make the case that the current immigration system poses a security risk, even though each person given permanent residency must go through a background check and a consular interview.

Trump’s continued demand for a wall and his repeated implications that new arrivals are more likely to commit crimes and terrorist attacks threaten to drive away Senate Democrats whose support he would need to make a deal.

To emphasize his security concerns, Trump may point out family members seated in the gallery who have had loved ones killed by people who were in the country illegally or who migrated through one of the family unification channels.

The White House has invited a few people whose lives have been affected by the opioid addiction crisis to sit in the House gallery. Tackling the crisis has been a stated goal of Trump’s administration. But steep budget cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy and some anti-drug programs have led public health advocates to criticize the effectiveness of Trump’s approach.

For coverage of the opioid crisis in Maine, go to pressherald.com/lost.

Democrats chose Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., the scion of the Kennedy family and a rising star in the party, to deliver their response to Trump.

Kennedy, grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, wrote Friday on Twitter that he’ll contrast Trump’s “broken promises” with his party’s agenda on health care, economic justice and civil rights.

Virginia state Delegate Elizabeth Guzman will deliver the Democratic response in Spanish to be broadcast on Spanish-language television.

Guzman is Peruvian-American and in the fall defeated an eight-term Republican incumbent to take her seat.

Several female Democratic lawmakers plan to wear black Tuesday to show solidarity with the #MeToo movement and to send a message to Trump, who has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.