Echoing his campaign pitch, Trump will focus on economic boom in annual speech


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With the timing of a final impeachment vote still up in the air, President Donald Trump plans to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday and focus on a U.S. economic boom that he hopes will spur his re-election.

The Senate is conducting an impeachment trial over allegations that Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress.

Trump is almost certain to be acquitted, but the trial may still be going on next week. That has not changed the White House’s plans for the speech.

A senior administration official declined to say how or whether Trump would address impeachment.

The official said the speech would follow a broad theme that he referred to as the “Great American Comeback.”

The president will argue that the U.S. economy under his stewardship is lifting up blue-collar workers and middle-class Americans, the official said, noting Trump would mention recent trade agreements with China, and with Canada and Mexico.

The speech will also celebrate U.S. military strength and present an optimistic view of America’s future, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump, a Republican, will make lowering the cost of healthcare a key part of his speech, the official said. Democrats campaigned heavily on healthcare in the 2018 midterm elections when they won control of the House of Representatives.

Trump had promised as a presidential candidate in 2016 to do away with the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, but he has been unsuccessful in doing so even as he and Republicans have managed to weaken it.

His administration this week outlined a plan that would allow states to limit health benefits and prescription drug coverage under the Medicaid program.

The official said Trump would contrast his vision for healthcare with the plans put out by his potential rivals, a reference to left-leaning proposals by Democratic presidential candidates, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Trump also plans to talk about immigration, including progress on building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. He will also address national security threats and other foreign policy issues.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Jonathan Oatis