Trump’s State of the Union Address Expected to Tout Economy

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is set to give his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night from the House of Representatives.

The impeached president will focus on prosperity and issues affecting America’s working families. It is an economy that has proved solid and durable.

He’s set to deliver his remarks on the opposite side of the Capitol from where the Senate one day later is likely to acquit him of impeachment charges brought against him.

Nine months before the election, the economy keeps growing steadily, if only modestly. Unemployment is at a half-century low.

And consumers, the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, continue to spend. Average pay is rising faster than when Trump took office three years ago, with the largest percentage gains now going to lower-wage workers. Some research has found that this trend, which began in 2015 before Trump’s election, partly reflects higher state minimum wages.

America’s manufacturing sector is struggling, a reflection of Trump’s trade conflicts. High corporate debt levels have sparked concerns. Some analysts also worry that the Federal Reserve’s ultra-low interest rates have helped feed risky bubbles in stocks or other assets.

And leading Democratic presidential candidates, especially Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have built their campaigns to unseat Trump around the message that the economy remains rife with inequality, with many workers struggling to afford college, housing or health care.

Trump is unlikely on Tuesday night to let any such doubts temper his standard message that under his stewardship, the economy is thriving, unemployment is falling, the stock market is roaring and that the best days are still ahead.

Yet what Trump calls an unprecedented boom is, by many measures, not all that different from the solid economy he inherited from President Barack Obama. Economic growth was 2.3 percent in 2019, matching the average pace since the Great Recession ended a decade ago in the first year of Obama’s eight-year presidency.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump boasted that his tax cut plan would boost annual growth to 4 percent a year — a brisk pace not seen since the late 1990s. Instead, Trump, along with Obama, is one of two presidents since World War II not to have presided over a year of at least 3 percent growth. And few economists think the economy will hit that target this year.

The White House says he is expected to talk about his accomplishments in office, but they are not predicting whether Trump will stick to that script.

The president has a deep and often-stated sense of grievance, and he will be in the room with people he has raged about on Twitter and elsewhere.

And it is expected that he will mention the impeachment trial that has captured the nation’s attention. On Wednesday, it is expected that senators will vote on whether to acquit Trump or remove him from office.

The other topics the president is expected to talk about may include education, family issues, health care, illegal immigration and national security.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced will be there to be a voice to push for recovery efforts for the Island.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.