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Trump’s first address to Congress: What you need to know

What will Trump say during the biggest speech of his presidency to date?


Andrew Couts


Posted on Feb 28, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 10:21 pm CDT

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night will deliver his first major speech before the United States Congress.

Given the tumultuous first weeks of the Trump administration, this address will serve as a signal of what to expect from the president and his cabinet in the months and years to come. As the White House explains, the speech will “continue to lay out his agenda to Make America Great Again.”

Of course, nothing with Trump is quite as simple as that might make it sound. In fact, you can expect this speech to be the primary talking point around the U.S. for at least the next week.

Here’s a quick rundown on what you need to know about Trump’s first joint address to Congress. 

What time does Trump’s speech start?

The speech is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 9pm ET. Trump will be addressing both houses of Congress, and the speech will take place in the House Chamber.

Where can I watch Trump’s speech?

All the major news networks will carry the speech, but you can also watch it live on CNN will also livestream the speech from, and @PBS and @NewsHour will stream the speech directly on Twitter.

The White House will also be tweeting information from the @WhiteHouse and @POTUS accounts. It likely goes without saying, but the Trump administration has frequently shared misleading and false information, so do extra research on the information coming from those accounts, as well as what Trump says during his speech before taking them at face value.

What issues will Trump discuss?

All the big ones, from healthcare to national security to jobs. Expect a major focus on the economy, taxes, and the military, which Trump reportedly plans to expand. On Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said to expect a “bold,” “optimistic,” and “upbeat” speech from Trump. If so, it would be a stark departure from the “American carnage” tone of his inaugural address.

The White House says the speech will touch on all the following topics: 

  • Reviving key job-creating energy projects such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. 
  • Eliminating costly Obama-era regulations such as the “Stream Protection Rule.” 
  • Minimizing the economic burden of Obamacare while clearing the path toward repeal and replace. 
  • Directing the Department of Defense to develop a plan to defeat ISIS. 
  • Standing with American workers by withdrawing from the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership. 
  • Enacting common sense regulatory reform by ordering any new regulations be offset by the repeal of two other regulations. 
  • Building his Cabinet and Administration with the highest quality individuals to help implement the President’s vision for the country. 
  • Establishing new ethics commitments for all executive branch appointees to enforce a five-year lobbying ban and a permanent ban on lobbying for foreign governments. 

Just as important as the topics he covers is how he covers them. Does he include specifics on policy? Does he take a combative tone toward those who oppose him or make an effort to reach out? Beyond the details, these are the things to watch.

Will there be protests?

Yes, there will be protests. Actress Rosie O’Donnell, with whom Trump has had an ongoing spat, will be among the “thousands” of protesters at a “Resistance Address” demonstration at the White House during the president’s address.

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*First Published: Feb 28, 2017, 6:30 am CST