Trump to Call for Unity in tonights State of the Union

WASHINGTON—President Trump in Tuesday’s State of the Union is expected to issue a plea for national unity at a moment of deep partisan divisions, with the Democratic-controlled House and the White House at an impasse over spending priorities while Mr. Trump threatens to do an end-run around both chambers of Congress to pay for a wall on the southern U.S. border.

Mr. Trump’s call for bipartisanship will be a contrast with his recent assertions that bipartisan efforts to reach a deal on border security are a “waste of time.” Last week, he said there was a “good chance” he would declare a national emergency over immigration, in which he would attempt to divert funds from elsewhere in the administration to pay for a border wall without congressional approval. The move would face immediate court challenges.

“An appeal to bipartisanship is probably one of the easiest things to do in Washington. It’s one of the hardest things to do in practice,” said Kevin Madden, a longtime Republican strategist. 

The speech will be Mr. Trump’s first joint address to Congress since Democratic election gains and the ensuing new era of divided government, in which the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) have already clashed over the wall funding and the timing of the State of the Union address. Most political observers concluded that Mrs. Pelosi won the first round, and Mr. Trump is expected on Tuesday to try to regain momentum and level the political playing field.

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