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Trump to tout accomplishments in State of the Union address

President Donald Trump supports a plan that would

President Donald Trump supports a plan that would give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals enrollees a path to citizenship, White House officials said on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will tout the accomplishments in his first year of office and talk about infrastructure and immigration initiatives he’s sending to Congress in his State of the Union address Tuesday, a senior administration official said.

Trump’s first State of the Union address, to be delivered before a joint session of Congress in an evening national telecast, comes about a week after he celebrated his first year in office, but amid a government shutdown amid partisan battles in Congress.

With record-low approval ratings — recent Gallup and Quinnipiac polls had him at 36 percent — and a special counsel investigating whether his campaign colluded with Russia, Trump aims to paint an optimistic picture for a crucial midterm election year.

“The president will be talking about several of his record-setting accomplishments from his first year, how the policies of his administration are lifting all Americans, which is setting a foundation for a safe, strong and proud America,” said the official, who requested anonymity.

In addition to immigration and infrastructure, Trump will speak about trade and national security policies as he toasts a “roaring” economy, rising stock market and job growth, which he attributes to deregulation and the federal tax cuts Republicans passed last year, the official said Saturday.

“The president has consistently talked about how the United States is going to be insisting on fairer and reciprocal trade,” the official said.

“The president is going to talk about rebuilding our military, returning to a policy of peace through strength, returning to clarity about our friends and our adversaries and his efforts to defeat terrorists around the world.”

Though Trump has aimed most of his speeches in the past year to his political base of supporters, the official said that his tone to Congress “will be one of bipartisanship and will be forward looking” — though he also will make “call-outs to Congress for action.”

Trump’s initiatives face a tough road in Congress. It has battled over budget levels and four short-term spending bills and last weekend shut down the government as Democrats demanded fixing an expiring program for immigrants brought here illegally as children.

Last week, the White House delivered a framework for an immigration bill that would give 1.8 million Dreamers a path to citizenship but would also spend $25 billion on security, including a wall, limit family reunion policies and end the visa lottery.

Lawmakers on the left and right immediately rejected the framework, as a bipartisan group of senators work on their own bill.

The official declined to offer details about Trump’s discussion of a $1 trillion infrastructure program, including whether he would address New York’s urging that he fund the Gateway Program for a new tunnel.

Mayors meeting in Washington complained that the $1 trillion is a drop in the bucket compared with their needs. But an administration official defended the proposal.

“Our internal estimates have shown that, leveraged properly, $200 billion in direct federal spending could generate somewhere between $1 trillion and $1.8 trillion in total investment,” the aide said. “These numbers are driven by the amount of interest we see in the infrastructure market that can be unlocked by the right federal action.”

Trump and his White House staff have been preparing the address for weeks, a speech the president values because it gives him an hour to talk to the American people “unfiltered” by the news media and commentators, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

With Laura Figueroa Hernandez

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