US President Donald Trump waves as he arrives during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Picture: Michael Probst/AP
INTERNATIONAL - US president Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address tomorrow, an hour-long speech to Congress and the nation with the theme: “Building a safe, strong and proud America.”

Trump’s speech comes on the back of a three-day government shutdown, and ahead of a February 8 deadline for deeply divided Republicans and Democrats to agree on how to fund the government and overhaul immigration laws.

The address, required by the US Constitution, will focus on Trump’s priorities in five areas, a senior administration official told reporters on Friday: jobs, infrastructure, immigration, trade and national security.

Here is what’s in play:

Jobs: Expect Trump to take a victory lap over his recent tax cuts and record high stock markets. With unemployment for African Americans, Hispanics and women at record lows, Trump will “make clear that all groups are benefiting under this presidency,” the official said.

Trump may talk about some of first lady Melania Trump’s guests for the speech, who are expected to include people who have benefited from the tax cuts.

Infrastructure: Trump has pledged to rebuild the nation’s ageing infrastructure, but has provided few details on his $1.7trillion (R20.14trln) plan.

It is unlikely that he will delve too deeply into the plan during his speech.

Immigration: Trump will make the case for letting “Dreamers,” a group of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, stay in the US.

But he will insist that lawmakers agree to pay for a wall on the southern border, as well as curb immigrants’ ability to sponsor family members.

His immigration proposal has upset both pro-immigration groups who call it a bad trade, and hardliners who object to what they call “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

Trade: Few issues fire up Trump more than seeing other countries sell more goods to America than US companies export in return. He will insist in his speech on “fair and reciprocal” trade deals, the official said.

Trump recently said he would discuss the US trade imbalance with China during his State of the Union speech, and said he was considering retaliation over intellectual property issues.

National security: The speech will focus on domestic issues, but will include Trump’s plea to beef up funding for the military and a discussion of top threats including North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests. 

- REUTERS