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Live analysis and video: Trump's first State of the Union address

President Trump gave his first State of the Union address on Monday as our political reporters and editors gave their analysis and commentary.

See more of our coverage and our fact checks.

David Lauter

And that, Brian, will be a theme we'll be returning to throughout the year. Well, we've heard the president's speech and the Democratic response. Thanks to everyone who's come along for the evening with us. We appreciate your spending time with us. Good night.

Brian Bennett

Kennedy's factory backdrop and his use of Spanish highlight a conundrum for his party: Can Democrats figure out a way to speak to white workers and Hispanic immigrants at the same time?

Cathleen Decker

In our recent Times/USC poll, he got 4%, which shows that even a Kennedy faces problems trying to get known nationwide. His speech is done. He didn't have to drink water like Rubio or look like a teenager like Jindal did.

Evan Halper

Of course, even coming from a popular dynasty can be a curse. As Hillary Clinton found.

David Lauter

10 minutes and out.

David Lauter

That plus his name, of course.

Lisa Mascaro

Kennedy is a often a quieter member of the House, keeps lower profile, but he's among the most often mentioned in conversations about the Dem party's future. This speech delivery shows why.

Evan Halper

Democrats want to give voters something more than just anti-Trump. But this speech so  far doesn't strike me as offering particularly focused responses to that Democrats can hang their campaigns on.

Cathleen Decker

"You bravely say, #MeToo"," Kennedy says, speaking of societal movements that went unmentioned by Trump.

David Lauter

Right, Cathy. The trick for Democrats is to try to persuade voters of the "one for all, and all for one" theme that they want to stress. It clearly wasn't something that worked in 2016. One key question for Democrats is whether that was a fault of the message or that year's messenger.

Lisa Mascaro

Kennedy, in Spanish, to Dreamers.

Cathleen Decker

The semi-glitch: Democrats want to push that point against the president, but they also want to reach out to all their varied interest groups. But the average Americans who Democrats want to again attract get turned off by the Democrats' cultural focus on, say, transgender Americans.

David Lauter

The argument is that Trump promised to represent the average American, but he's really representing the wealthy and powerful.

David Lauter

"System forcefully rigged for those at the top," as Kennedy put it, is a theme that Democratic strategists hope they can turn against Trump.

Cathleen Decker

After a few bland minutes, Kennedy is getting into a better speech groove. Whoever set the event up delivered a complicated backdrop though.

Evan Halper

Democrats are still struggling to form a coherent message on the economy. Their recent "better deal" pitch Dem leadership tried to get the country to rally around was a quickly forgotten, measured jumble.

David Lauter

"For them, dignity isn't something you're born with," he declares, talking about the administration.

David Lauter

In his opening moments, Kennedy has hit several Democratic themes: Russia, racism, shootings, "this is not who we are."

Brian Bennett

Kennedy goes immediately after Trump's effort to reduce legal immigration by calling Fall River "a city built by immigrants."

Cathleen Decker

Just ask Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio, both of whom bellyflopped when responding during Democratic years.

Evan Halper

This is a speaking slot every rising star pines for -- but rarely seems to lead to bigger things.

David Lauter

Here's the problem with getting the assignment to do the opposition response: The president gets the House chamber with all the pomp and gravitas it represents. Joe Kennedy gets a small crowd at a factory in Fall River, MA.

Brian Bennett

Democrats have tapped Rep. Joe Kennedy III, the 37-year-old scion of the Kennedy family and a rising star in the party, to deliver the minority party's response to Trump.

Cathleen Decker

And back on CNN, evidence of how Trump has remade the Republican party: "Some Dreamers are gang members," says Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania and presidential candidate. Truth bomb: People with criminal records can't get DACA status.

Evan Halper

Ever the campaigner, Trump was also overheard talking poll numbers with a lawmakers as he exited the chamber.

David Lauter

By the way, we'll be sticking around -- or at least most of us will -- to listen to the Democratic response.

Brian Bennett

As he walked out, Trump could be seen shaking hands with a lawmaker and saying "get it done, get it done" and "let me know what you need."

Lisa Mascaro

And with that Speaker Ryan gavels the House out of session.

Lisa Mascaro

Trump seems to enjoy this part, shaking lots of hands, a few selfies, an autograph. House Republicans often say how much they appreciate that the president invites them to the White House, now knows their names. It builds goodwill. But can it build an agenda?

David Lauter

One area in which Trump has lost ground this past year has been among soft partisans, people who lean to the GOP, but don't feel strongly about their partisanship. This speech's more sober tone could help him, at least for a while, with those voters. Of course, as I noted earlier, those sorts of voters are also the ones least likely to pay attention to a State of the Union speech.

Brian Bennett

Trump gave Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross a bro-y shoulder grab while walking out of the chamber. Trump has soured recently on the Ross's trade negotiating skills and was put off by reports the billionaire Ross wasn't worth quite as much has he'd said in the past.

David Lauter

Indeed, Lisa. And it's worth wondering whether the next time Trump does this he'll be facing a Democratic-majority House.

Lisa Mascaro

And so it ends here in the House much like it began, two sides, split, without much consensus or comity -- and a legislative to-do list for Congress without much route for passage.

Cathleen Decker

Trump shaking hands with Supreme Court, pausing for a bit with his appointee Neil Gorsuch, and now his Cabinet and congressional leaders. "Thank you everybody" and some small talk. "Build the wall" one member says,

David Lauter

And Barack Obama was extremely consistent -- just about 1 hour each time.

David Lauter

George W. Bush, by contrast, never hit one hour.

Evan Halper

"USA" probably more palatable to swing voters than "Lock her Up"

David Lauter

Only two of Bill Clinton's State of the Union speeches were longer than this, and those only by a few minutes.

Cathleen Decker

That did seem unusual, Lisa.

Lisa Mascaro

Though these chants of "USA! USA!" from the GOP side are more Trump rally-like and, maybe a first for the chamber?

Cathleen Decker

Slightly sarcastic thought: There are rhetorically brilliant SOTU speeches and rhetorically middling SOTU speeches. Far more important is understanding how to manage your goals throught a contentious Congress. Trump showed (again) he can read a teleprompter. The rest remains unproven.

Evan Halper

An hour plus without calling Hillary Clinton a crook or boasting of his accomplishments on the campaign trail.

Brian Bennett

Bill Clinton gave the longest modern State of the Union in 2000. Clocking in at 1:28:49. That record still stands.

David Lauter

So there we go. Roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes. That's a long speech by any president's standards.

David Lauter

Critics will say, with some justification, that all Trump has done is show that he can read from a Teleprompter. But it's also true that he's taking some risk in doing this. His most avid supporters find him refreshing precisely because he doesn't sound like other political figures. This speech sounds very much like what he isn't.

Lisa Mascaro

Definitely, David. In style and substance, it's a notable difference.

Cathleen Decker

This speech is like a staid game of "Clue" compared to  his usual campaign speeches, which are far more like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots.

David Lauter

This is a much more sober and less energetic speech than the campaign rallies, isn't it, Lisa?

Cathleen Decker

Herein lies the rub: Trump just spent several minutes appropriately praising a young man from North Korea--who grew up poor, and needy. This just minutes after Trump insisted on moving legal immigration to the test of "merit" and "skill" of the sort this young man, now living in Seoul, would not have possessed.

Lisa Mascaro

On the campaign trail, Trump speeches often ran long, and the crowds seemed to love it to the end. Here, some lawmakers appear tired tonight.

David Lauter

No mention in that list of monuments of Lee or Stonewall Jackson.

David Lauter

Well, he did it. He got through the North Korea section without departing from the script or insulting Kim. Now, we're on to the peroration.

Brian Bennett

Notice that Trump hasn't so far attacked Kim Jong Un personally in this speech. Trump described "the depraved chracter of the North Korean regime." His aides have counseled him not to provoke Kim directly -- advice Trump did not follow when called Kim "rocket man" in front of the UN General Assembly in the fall.

Cathleen Decker

On North Korea, no references to who has the bigger button or insults to the North Korean leader tonight. Twitter is not the same as a teleprompter.

Lisa Mascaro

And Sen, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a noted photographer, is taking pictures.

David Lauter

Notably, although Trump is spending considerable time describing the atrocities of the North Korean government, his advance text is much more restrained than he's typically been in talking about what to do. It will be interesting to see if he sticks to that.

Cathleen Decker

Trump's now talking about his opposition to the "terrible" Iran nuclear deal. As usual, he didn't say what was terrible about it. Nor has he elaborated much at all about how what he calls terrible trade deals are terrible. In part that may be because he doesn't know the details, or has different views on them depending on the day. Neither is a good look for a president, however. And now, in an election year. Trump is getting more pressure from Trump-state Republicans to go easy on items like NAFTA because their impacts have been beneficial and do not conform to the simplistic opposition the president has laid out.

Lisa Mascaro

Louisiana GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy, a doctor, has been taking notes tonight.

David Lauter

Trump moves past the Iran nuclear deal very quickly, just noting that he's asked Congress to solve its "flaws." How to handle the deal -- and Trump's distaste for it -- has divided his advisors.

Cathleen Decker

"We no longer tell our enemies our plans"--a long uttered line by Trump that dings Obama for actions taken at the behest of military leaders (so civilians could clear out, for one thing). It also hysterically implies that Trump keeps things secret. The nation whose classified intelligence Trump shared with Russians in the Oval Office might differ.

David Lauter

Although Trump is making a point about keeping Gitmo open, his administration hasn't actually sent new prisoners there over the past year. They could have, if they wanted to, but they've, instead, brought cases to civilian court. It's an example of how Gitmo has become a symbolic market for both sides.

Brian Bennett

The leader of Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was held in U.S. prisons in Iraq. But that was before Islamic State had morphed out of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Lisa Mascaro

Good point, Brian. After the $1.5t tax cut package, not a lot of appetite for spending among Rs, even as they count on growth to cover cost

Cathleen Decker

Keepng open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, as Trump just formally announced, is yet another way to erase the Obama years from Washington. It has served as a great motivator for Trump, and likely one of the reasons he seems to detest California.

Brian Bennett

Trump talks about making big investments in the military and infrastructre, for example, but rarely talks about how he'll pay for it.  When he does, he mentions economic growth. But the White House projections for growth are well beyond those of most financial analysts.

David Lauter

As Cathy noted at the outset, Trump signed an order just before the speech to keep Guantanamo open. Here comes the announcement.

Evan Halper

Somber tone on nuclear weapons markedly different from Trump's loose talk about the weapons on twitter -- where he bragged his nuclear button is bigger than North Korea's, and it works.

Cathleen Decker

At each of these SOTU speeches, the soldiers cited for bravery always look more uncomfortable than anyone else in accepting the audience's applause. Gallantry for gallantry's sake, not for applause.

Lisa Mascaro

Ok, military spending. The issue is Democrats aren't necessarily opposed to boosting defense funding above budget caps. They just want parity for non-defense spending. And a few remaining GOP deficit hawks don't want to increase any spending, even for defense. It's a stalemate, Oh, and save the date: Federal funding for the government runs out again at the end of next week, threatening another shutdown.

Cathleen Decker

And, David, it's another reminder of how far afield Republicans have flown from their tight budget roots. At the same point several days ago, we had California's Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, advocating for billions for a rainy day fund for the state budget. At the same time, Republicans passed a tax plan that cost more than $1 trillion, without a funding source. Both elements flipped the script from years ago.

David Lauter

Notably, the call for higher military spending faces opposition not just from liberal Democrats, but also from some Republican budget hawks. Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, pushed against Pentagon requests for a big boost in the budget for the coming year. he lost.

David Lauter

We're now moving into the foreign policy part of the speech. It's placement at the end of the speech reflects its position as a difficult subject for the administration.

Evan Halper

This is stretching into Bill Clinton lengths.

Evan Halper

Trump talks about the opioid crisis often, but his administration's policy on it has been unfocused and incremental so far. The drug policy office has not been an effective force in confronting the epidemic.

David Lauter

By the way, we're at 55 minutes now, and the speech still has a ways to go.

Cathleen Decker

The opiod crisis is an example of something that Trump accurately seized upon in the campaign--more so than other candidates, to be sure--and has done not much at all about as president. The promises continue tonight, But the office handling the opiod crisis was staffed by a young campaign aide who had embellished his resume.

David Lauter

Trump's initial emphasis in talking about opioids is to frame it as a law enforcement issue. His opioid commission recommended an approach focused on public health programs.

Cathleen Decker

It was ironic to say the least that Trump cited ending "chain migration" as a way to protect the "nuclear family." Under his plan, young adults would not be able to bring in their parents; parents would not be able to bring in children over age 18.

David Lauter

It's pillar 4 that would dramatically reduce the number of legal immigrants allowed into the U.S.

Lisa Mascaro

Outburst from the Democratic side pushing back on Trump's characterization of "chain" migration -- a term many oppose -- as allowing "unlimited" family members into the yes. It takes years -- decades, in some cases  -- for family members from many countries to qualify for visas.

Brian Bennett

Groans can be heared in the chamber as Trump falsely describes how family unification policies work.  It is not true that "a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives." There are caps in place for those who are not spouses or children and waitlists last more than a decade.

Cathleen Decker

Trump is falsely describing what he calls "chain migration", saying that one immigrant could bring in virtually unlimited numbers of relatives. Again he's blaming a New York terror attack on that program. But under the rules, the suspect in that case could not have brought in anywhere near the number of people Trump alleges he did (say, 2 as opposed to 23). One of the reasons Democrats groaned was his habit of falsely describing the program and allying it with terrorists.

David Lauter

A key question for the next few weeks will be whether Trump would accept a deal that has 3 pillars, not 4.

David Lauter

As the groans from Democrats in the chamber made clear.

David Lauter

Of Trump's 3 pillars, numbers 1-3 probably could get a majority in Congress -- at least in some form. It's the 4th pillar, ending family unification, or "chain migration," as Trump likes to call it, which is the big sticking point.

Lisa Mascaro

Can Trump convince GOP on immigration? Speaker Ryan will need Trump to take the "heat," as the president recently promised, if there is to be any deal that gives Dreamers a path to citizenship.

Evan Halper

Trump wants to build a "great wall" but who pays? Been awhile since the president has promised Mexico would foot the $25 billion tab.

Cathleen Decker

As Brian has noted in stories, Trump falsely describes the visa lottery. Tonight he says: "a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people." In reality, those visas are given to people who undergo the same vetting.

Brian Bennett

When Trump says his plan “fully secures the border” he isn’t just talking about building border walls. He is also talking about tripling the number of deportation officers from 5,000 to 15,000. He asked Congress for money to do this last year.

Lisa Mascaro

Noted: Not a lot of Republicans, at all, applauding on the citizenship path for Dreamers. Many just plain opposed.

Cathleen Decker

Now path to citizenship is mentioned by Trump, listed as the "first pillar" of his immigration plan. Schumer has been looking intently at him.

David Lauter

"Nobody gets everything they want" is a key point of debate on immigration. Democrats argue that Trump is insisting on pretty much everything that his side of the debate wants.

Brian Bennett

Here's where Trump starts to pitch his immigration plan

Lisa Mascaro

DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen sitting with WH Chief of Staff John Kelly (the former DHS secty) are quick to rise and applaud, sharing some comments in between

Evan Halper

Not mentioned by Trump: There are 900 Dreamers currently serving the country in the military.

Brian Bennett

“Americans are dreamers too.” This line is a slap in the face for Sen. Graham and Sen. Durbin who have been pushing to pass the Dream Act to protect from deportation so-called Dreamers brought to the country illegally as children.

Cathleen Decker

"We have no choice"--Trump about a tough border bill, using one of his most common verbal quirks. It's almost always used in a circumstance where there is, in fact, a choice.

Cathleen Decker

Trump's last public comment about Dreamers was support for them attaining citizenship, over the long term of 10-12 years. Tonight they are invisible, as is that promise from the president, so far.

Cathleen Decker

"Because Americans are dreamers too"--Trump. Whoooo, the crowd responds. Trump does not introduce a Dreamer, of course, but instead an ICE agent "fighting gang violence." Fact check: MS 13 originated decades ago in California.

Brian Bennett

Trump skipped over the details of what he wants fixed in an immigration bill. He said he wants to fix “deadly loopholes." In the past few months he's called for ending family unification policies and the diversity visa lottery that admits about 50,000 per year mostly from Eastern Europe and Africa.

Lisa Mascaro

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is among those listening intently on immigration. He's one of Trump's most outspoken GOP critics, and is working with a bipartisan group on an immigration deal different than the one White House proposed.

Cathleen Decker

Trump is leaving the impression that immigrants are law breaking, when their rate of criminal behavior is lower than other groups. Also, in the prepared remarks already released there is no mention of DACA beneficiaries.

David Lauter

It's worth noting that although Trump wants to link crime victims to his immigration policies, there's very little in his immigration plan that has anything to do with MS-13 or other gangs. The most controversial part of his plan would prevent citizens and green-card holders from sponsoring their parents for immigration to the U.S.

Cathleen Decker

Trump introduces two fathers and two mothers who have lost children to MS-13 gang members. That is his entire context so far for immigration, which again suggests his plea for Democratic and Republican unity is destined to fall flat. Especially after he backed protections for DACA kids, then unbacked that measure, then backed it again in a way that may not guarantee passage.

Lisa Mascaro

On immigration: Audible groans on the Democratic side as Trump talks about crimes by immigrants here illegally, as studies largely show immigrants do not commit more offenses than others

Brian Bennett

Trump has tried repeatedly to link illegal immigration to a security threat. Demographic studies show that the crime rate among recent immigrants is lower than in the general American population.

David Lauter

Now, we transition into the immigration part of the speech, which Trump begins by associating immigrants with gang crime.

Evan Halper

And on the day Mayors were to come to the White House to discuss the plan, the DOJ launched an attack on sanctuary cities, moving the mayors of the biggest cities to boycott the meeting. The negotiations are not off to a good start on infrastructure.

David Lauter

Workforce development and job training are broadly popular. A call for reforming welfare programs, which might have fit into that part of the speech, would not have been. Speaker Ryan wanted to tackle welfare reform this year, but Trump has sided with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who thinks that's a political minefield.

Lisa Mascaro

Deficit hawks, of what's left of them, will balk at federal funding on infrastructure, while others, including Dems, won't want to push onto states or allow big private investment

Cathleen Decker

There is a conflict attendant to the infrastructure plan. Trump wants private sector and local/state governments to pony up money. But by limiting the local/state taxes that can be written off in federal taxes, he's made it much more politically difficult for states and locals to actually raise taxes for such activities.

Evan Halper

The infrastructure plan -- or what we know of it -- has already come under tremendous fire. It may limit federal investment to 20 percent per project. A typical freeway is 80 percent federally funded now. Cities and states don't have the funds to shoulder the costs Trump envisions.

Lisa Mascaro

Passing an infrastructure  bill is going to be tough -- $1.5t pricetag caused some rumbling through the chamber -- and not a lot of money left after the tax plan to pay for it

Brian Bennett

Last year, infrastructure was billed as a bipartisan issue. But the fact that Democrats largely are not standing or clapping for this section shows how deeply divided the chamber is.

David Lauter

The key word in that infrastructure pitch was "generates." He's not asking for $1.5 trillion in new federal money, he's calling for steps that will encourage private-sector investment. Democrats will argue that to really do the job, you need actual public spending.

Cathleen Decker

Let's have a contest: Isn't "infrastructure" the most bureaucratic word there is? Besides "incentivizing" of course. Trump sounds like a typical pol when he says it.

Evan Halper

The resistance will be pleased by the reaction of House Democrats.

Cathleen Decker

Exactly, David. Trump did at one point back allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices. But once elected....

Brian Bennett

When Trump brought up infrastructure, he waved his hand in the direction of the Democrats.

Evan Halper

On the Kochs: The tension with Trump eased when his transition team leaned heavily on the Koch network for guidance. And when he appointed a cabinet that didn't reflect the populism of the campaign, but the ideology of the GOP establishment.

David Lauter

The main way to reduce drug prices around the world is price regulation, which the GOP strongly opposes. Allowing Medicare to use its huge buying power to negotiate lower prices would have a major impact, as well, but GOP has opposed that, as well. There are arguments against both of those approaches, but if you want to lower drug prices, there aren't a lot of other ways to do it.

Lisa Mascaro

And not just Congress, trade's an issue that divides the Trump's team in the WH

Cathleen Decker

High drug prices, which Trump just said will be one of his priorities for the year, was a big component of his early campaigning. His new HS secretary is a former drug company bigwig, on the Nixon-to-China argument. However, Trump went trumpian and promised to definitively drop the cost of drugs--which seems to be out of his control unless he re-adopts measures he campaigned on but has since dropped.

Lisa Mascaro

Here comes trade: An issue that divides GOP, particularly in the Senate

David Lauter

Reducing the price of prescription drugs was a very popular campaign slogan for Trump, but he's repeatedly backed away from actions to actually accomplish it. If he moves forward, a lot of Republican members won't be applauding.

Cathleen Decker

I don't remember previous presidents applauding themselves, as Trump has been doing. But it is how he comported himself in the campaign.

David Lauter

If part of the point of a State of the Union speech is to arm a president's supporters with talking points -- and that is definitely part of the point in the modern era -- that section about jobs was likely a success.

Cathleen Decker

The Koch brothers' alliance with Trump is an interesting one. In 2016, Koch built a huge get-out-the-vote operation that worked for Republican senate candidates, and explicitly did not play in the presidential contests (though, to be sure, Republicans who voted because of them likely sided with Trump). Now, as indicated in a Koch confab a few days ago, the family is pleased with the president's actions. May pay dividends in 2020.

Evan Halper

One energy sector that has not gotten a boost from Trump: solar. The tariffs he just slapped on imported panels will cost 23,000 American jobs, according to the solar industry. And analysts say it will not bring back the manufacturing plants Trump promises.

Evan Halper

"Clean coal" is a term Trump has tended to confuse with all coal. There was never really a war on clean coal, a very costly carbon sequestration technique pursued during the Obama administration.

David Lauter

"Exporter of energy to the world" is an odd claim -- one that Trump has repeated before, and it's clearly not true. See latimes.com/EssentialWashington for details.

Lisa Mascaro

The regulatory rollback is one of Trump's notable accomplishments, built off long lists compiled by outside groups, including those backed by the Koch  brothers

Cathleen Decker

Trump has regularly said that Chrysler is moving from Mexico to Michigan. Michigan is boosting production, but it's still going on in Mexico. Makes for a less dramatic story, that.

Brian Bennett

Trump's pledge to "remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people" could be read as a call for a purge against career bureaucrats in federal agencies Trump loyalists call the "Deep State."

Evan Halper

On enviro regulations: Trump has rolled back 66 and counting.

David Lauter

That call for giving Cabinet officials more power to fire civil servants is a longtime conservative goal, but not one that Congress is likely to take up anytime soon. The fear of politicizing the civil service is a bipartisan one.

Evan Halper

Trump now turns to VA. He ultimately did not blow the place up as the Koch Bros. network hoped he would. Veterans resisted the privatization plans. And Trump ultimately built off the reforms started by the Obama administration..

Evan Halper

Boasts about how many judges appointed. Not all of them were qualified of course. One didn't know what a "motion in limine" is.

Cathleen Decker

When he makes a teleprompter speech, Trump does approximate a typical president, if a quirky one. But he does lose some of the fire that attracts his most loyal supporters to him.

Lisa Mascaro

Dipping into policy here, with the VA bill....

David Lauter

We've now moved to the more partisan section of the speech: National Anthem reference, appointing conservative judges, 2nd Amendment, etc. This is the part of the speech designed to reassure conservatives that the call for bipartisanship doesn't mean that Trump has gone soft.

Lisa Mascaro

Sounded like hissing when Trump mentioned those judges

Evan Halper

Like so many other issues, public opinion on the tax cuts could ultimately boil down to who produces the best sound bytes at the height of campaign season.

Cathleen Decker

"And why we proudly stand for the National Anthem"--Trump returning to the anti-NFL players theme. Republicans stand and applaud, Democrats sit silently. Unity.

David Lauter

As the campaign year takes hold, each side will try to push its version, and we'll see how voters respond.

David Lauter

That seems to be the key tension, Evan. Do voters respond positively because they get more take home pay, or do they say, "that's nice, but the rich are getting a lot more than I am"?

Cathleen Decker

Preston, the boy who placed flags at the graves of American soldiers, gets his due moment. (Alas, poor lawn-mowing guy is not here)

Evan Halper

Unexpected: All the nods to Californians.

Evan Halper

Of course, the dollars trickling down to employees are dwarfed by the dollars pocketed by corporate hq and investors.

Cathleen Decker

"And the same great American flag."--This is an example of how Trump is talking unity but occasionally diving into partisan references. I.E. that flag issue = his excoriation of the NFL players for protests on the field.

David Lauter

"One team, one people and one American family" is a very different rhetorical note than "American carnage" from the inaugural.

Evan Halper

I've been wondering that myself, Lisa. Public opinion on the tax plan does not comport with the way Trump talks about it. However, there have been a lot of headlines late about retail workers getting modest bonuses that their corporate employees attribute to the tax cuts. That helps Trump's pitch.

Cathleen Decker

Trump crowns this a "new American moment." Former Hillary Clinton aides took great joy today in passing around clips of her using the same construction, going back years. There are so very few new lines in politics.

Brian Bennett

People watch Trump in part because they never know when he might bounce off script.

Lisa Mascaro

Very Reagan? "We can achieve absolutely anything."

David Lauter

It's notable how briefly he mentioned healthcare, which dominated last year, by contrast to the extensive comments on the tax bill. It's partly that he'd rather talk about success, of course, but also reflects the fact that cutting taxes is something he cares much more about than repealing Obamacare.

Lisa Mascaro

Wonder if Trump talking taxes will move the needle on polling, David/Evan?

Cathleen Decker

Would love to know the point at which people, having tuned in to see news made in a speech, tune out because it's a recitation of stuff they already know. Half hour, perhaps?

Evan Halper

The $4,000 boost for the average family claim is looked upon skeptically by many independent tax experts, who say it is an inflated number.

Brian Bennett

You are right Lisa. Tax cuts is what Republicans feel is their best message for the mid-terms.

Lisa Mascaro

Fifteen minutes in, and Trump's still on tax cuts...

Brian Bennett

Don't expect much talk about health care from the White House this year.

Brian Bennett

Trump really wants to check "repeal and replace Obamacare" off his to do list. Even though he hasn't repealed or replaced it.

Cathleen Decker

On the tax front, there is a not-mentioned-much element that may help Republicans in November: New tax formularies may increase take home pay months before the election. However, the impact on the other side--for high tax states, the penalty of not being able to deduct state and local payments--won't hit until after the election, in 2019.

Lisa Mascaro

Unable to fully repeal Obamacare, Republicans increasingly appear ready to count repeal of ACA's individual mandate as a good enough GOP win, for now

Evan Halper

Trump says old and broken tax system is gone. But promises to make filing taxes as easy as filling out a postcard never materialized. It will still be a nightmare. And for many taxpayers, the changes have only added to the confusion.

David Lauter

Repeal of the individual mandate is a key promise for Republican voters. And it's the element of Obamacare that was least popular among voters overall.

Cathleen Decker

Striking to me how Mike Pence and Paul Ryan exhibit the same face no matter whether they're thinking "Go, boss!" or "Uhhh." Game faces.

David Lauter

That reference to April hints at one problem Republicans face with the tax bill: This year, people are still filing under the old system.

Lisa Mascaro

Republicans are counting on Trump to spell out the benefits of the GOP tax plan like this

Evan Halper

GOP lawmakers and their donors love the tax cuts. Voters? Not as much. In one poll only 2 percent of respondents said the tax cuts will give them a boost.

Cathleen Decker

Trump explaining how the tax plan affects middle class Americans. And then the camera pans to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

David Lauter

For more on African-American unemployment, check out our fact check on latimes.com/EssentialWashington

Lisa Mascaro

Democrats are not having any of this "great economy" portion, as David calls it, having argued today that much of the credit goes to Obama

Cathleen Decker

Trump again mentions African American unemployment, which has been  standard for weeks now, It's yet another way Trump tries to defuse the notion that he's only representing white America. African American joblessness has been sliding for years however, under Obama--which Trump declines to mention.

David Lauter

If the Republicans do keep control of Congress this year, the strong economy will almost certainly be the reason.

David Lauter

We've now moved into the "great economy" section of the speech.

Lisa Mascaro

On that note, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stands to applaud for "rising wages" -- one of the few Democrats to do so

Cathleen Decker

Another obligatory: "The state of our union is strong because our people are strong." This speech is another reminder of how using the telprompter both slows Trump's tempo down and lowers his usual shout to a normal tone.

David Lauter

Sen. Schumer applauds Trump's call for bipartisanship. Rep. Pelosi, no. Reflects their different personalities, but also the dynamics of their caucuses.

Lisa Mascaro

The nod to bipartisanship: "I call on all of us"... "set aside differences"

Cathleen Decker

"Tonight I call upon all of us to set aside our differences..."--here's the part where rhetoric suffers when the actions have been the opposite.

Lisa Mascaro

That's Steve-O to the GOP House members. He walked in behind the president and Kevin McCarthy tonight, using crutches, as recovery continues

Cathleen Decker

"A guy who took a bullet, almost died...the legend from Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise"--Trump intros the representative shot in the ballpark disaster last year.

David Lauter

There's a save: Trump initially omitted California from his list of states affected by disasters, but he caught himself and ad libbed it.

Cathleen Decker

Trump now introducing American heroes, a SOTU routine since President Reagan introduced Lenny Skutnick after he helped rescue people from an airplane crash  in the Potomac in 1982. Have always remembered his name for reasons unclear.

David Lauter

President Reagan introduced the practice of introducing "American heroes" during the State of the Union. It's proved an enduring legacy.

Lisa Mascaro

About hurricanes, wildfires -- Congress still has not passed the next tranche of disaster assistance to the states -- being held up in the Senate as some Republicans want it paid for with offsetting reductions in other government spending

Cathleen Decker

It's also not a usage he made at all during the campaign.

Brian Bennett

“Make America great again for all Americans”: This is Trump’s response to accusations of racism and running a plutocracy

David Lauter

In the opening moments, Trump hits what his aides hope will be the theme people will remember from tonight's speech: "for all Americans."

Cathleen Decker

Meantime, this AP alert: BC-US--APNewsAlert/18

White House says President Trump has signed an executive order to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open

Cathleen Decker

And Trump signals to someone that yes, indeed, he does have water. In a glass.

Lisa Mascaro

Logistics note: WiFi seems to be holding up here in the chamber.... hope to stay with you this evening!

David Lauter

There's no question, Brian -- this is a part of the job that he loves.

Brian Bennett

Trump's facial expression as the applause continues sums it up. He is very very pleased.

Lisa Mascaro

Not sure if you can hear on TV, but big roars from the GOP side as Trump takes his place

Cathleen Decker

A populist event if there ever was one, David.

David Lauter

C-Span records McCarthy telling Trump that one of the justices was "the funniest" at the exclusive Alfalfa Club dinner over the weekend.

Evan Halper

This is a guy who delighted in sorting Starbursts for the president. I think he may like it.

Cathleen Decker

That's one of the great Washington mysteries I'd love to see solved: Does McCarthy like being called "My Kevin"? Or not?

Lisa Mascaro

Yep. And it's almost exclusively Republicans taking the aisle seats to greet the president with that made-for-TV camera shot

Cathleen Decker

Trump enters, cornflower blue tie. Melania just shown clapping, not smiling. Sartorially speaking, Speaker Ryan wearing a lighter blue tie and Pence a red one. Bipartisanship breaking out all over!

David Lauter

"My Kevin," as Trump sometimes likes to call him.

Lisa Mascaro

That's Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy right behind the president as Trump makes his way into the chamber

Brian Bennett

Standing next to Melania Trump right now is the Albuquerque police officer, Ryan Holets, who adopted a baby born to a couple addicted to opioids.

Evan Halper

Hard to imagine Washington has been through more toxic times. And yet.

Cathleen Decker

True, David. That even makes the Joe Wilson "You Lie!" moment pale.

David Lauter

For all the strain that the past year has put on Washington, we're still a long way from that.

David Lauter

Of course, there have been periods in U.S. history when partisanship was worse. During the decades before the Civil War, there were several incidents of violence on the floor, including at least one abolitionist member who was severely beaten by a southerner.

Cathleen Decker

Also, re Melania Trump's white outfit, the actresses attending the SAG awards this month wore white to represent the Time's Up harassment movement. Hmm.

David Lauter

Chief Justice Roberts has said that he doesn't like being in the midst of such a partisan display. But they're sort of stuck with it. If the justices suddenly decided to stop attending, that would look like a partisan statement.

Brian Bennett

It is interesting that Melania Trump is wearing all white tonight. At Trump's speech to the joint session of Congress last year, Democratic women lawmakers wore white as a symbol of women’s suffrage.

Cathleen Decker

President's cabinet, which has been woefully overshadowed by this executive-mansion-centric presidency, is getting the aisle handshake ritual down.

Evan Halper

The Justices have the toughest job tonight. They have to get through it without making any visible reaction to anything Trump says that can be interpreted as remotely partisan. Which is probably about everything he will say.

Lisa Mascaro

So true, Brian. As lawmakers sit and wait, not chatting with their across-aisle neighbors, it doesn't feel like much of a space for compromising.

Brian Bennett

Melania Trump seems to be getting a warm reception in the room.

Cathleen Decker

Here's where we wish we had boom mikes to drop into those conversations taking place on the floor of the House. Although they probably are of the variety of : Hey got super Bowl tickets? Or what do you think about the Clippers trading away Blake Griffin to Detroit?

Brian Bennett

Democrats are convinced they have a chance to flip the House or the Senate in the mid-term elections. Republicans are digging in for tough elections. That doesn't create a healthy environment for reaching across the aisle.

David Lauter

Justices Gorsuch, Roberts, Breyer and Kagan are attending -- two appointees of Democratic presidents, two of Republicans.

Lisa Mascaro

The Supreme Court justices just took their seats.., looks like four made it: Roberts, Breyer, Kagan and Gorsuch

David Lauter

Four of the nine justices of the Supreme Court just entered the chamber. In the last few years, five have attended, but this year, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is in California this week.

Cathleen Decker

Sap that I am, have to say that I never fail to be moved by the beauty of DC. The buildings, lit on a night like tonight, speak of a permanence that seems hard to find some days.

David Lauter

The motorcade is arriving at the plaza on the east side of the Capitol. So the president should be entering the House chamber in a few minutes.

Lisa Mascaro

Indeed. But seems it was a moment, and times have changed - or reverted back to partisanship.

Cathleen Decker

Lisa, seem to remember they did that after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, when people were still really shaken up?

David Lauter

Yup, that "let's try to be friends" moment seems a long time ago.

Lisa Mascaro

There was a time, a few years back, when lawmakers made an effort to mix it up at State of the Union, sitting with those from the other party. But tonight they seem to largely be filing into their regular spots -- Rs on one side, Dems on the other -- without a show of bipartisanship.

Brian Bennett

It’s Brian Bennett here. I’ll be watching for what Trump doesn’t say. Will he make any veiled reference to the Russia investigation?  Nixon, in his 1974 State of the Union address, was defiant about the Watergate investigation, saying:  "One year of Watergate is enough.” Nixon also said he had "no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job." He resigned six months later. It’s unlikely Trump will take Nixon's tack.

Cathleen Decker

I.e., how many people will be watching Fixer Upper at the exact time the speech begins? Or Hallmark movies, which have zoomed in popularity during this contentious era.

David Lauter

People who aren't intense partisans one way or the other generally don't watch.

David Lauter

This is also a good point to remind everyone that despite all the attention that these speeches get -- for reasons both good and bad -- they have a very consistent record of almost never having much impact on a president's political standing. Most of the people who watch are already supporters of whoever is in office. The rest of the audience is mostly committed opponents.

Evan Halper

To your point, Lisa worth pointing out all the drama around who is in the chamber. Democrats invited Dreamers, leading a GOP Congressman to call on the Capitol Police to demand valid identification and arrest anyone who is not in the country legally (I gather teh Capitol Police are not heeding his call). And Republicans invited victims of crimes committed by immigrants.

Cathleen Decker

Lisa, I thought that "heart" thing sounded familiar. While he seemed to indicate today that this was a lesson of his first year, he used almost the same words last April in an interview with the AP. Continuing education, I guess.

Cathleen Decker

There also is an unofficial Trump rule: No good period lasts for more than 24 hours before bad news clobbers it. See last February's speech to Congress, in which the president was widely praised, only to get bludgeoned the next day by important Russia investigation stories. Momentum = stopped.

David Lauter

The motorcade is heading out from the White House now.

Lisa Mascaro

It was interesting that Trump, in his comments earlier today -- and our colleague Noah Bierman's story that's now online -- talked about how governing wasn't as much like running a business as he thought -- takes a lot more "heart," as he put it.  Sounds like that might come through in the speech.

Cathleen Decker

One of the attributes of the Trump era has been sort of a flattening of big events. So much is going on that almost nothing rises to real importance. Government shutdown? So last week. Seems as if that phenomenon limits the ability of the president to make a turn, if in fact he has any intention of doing so. And it probably also limits the impact of any bad income.

David Lauter

I have to say, Lisa, all the black clothing makes the scene up there look more Downtown Abbey-ish than normal.

Lisa Mascaro

You may have noticed already, but many Democrats are dressed in black tonight, in support of the "Me, too" campaigns and Dreamers

Evan Halper

Or don't remember in a day, depending on how distracting tomorrow's presidential tweets are.

Cathleen Decker

To follow what David said about the hopes Republicans are pinning on Trump's popularity in the midterms: Strikes me that one of the questions for tonight is whether Trump is believable any more by  folks who don't already like him. The excerpts released today included his promise to extend a hand to all. Three days ago, he was twittering about Democratic obstructionists and Cryin' Chuck Schumer. Will tonight presage any change or be Just Another Speech that people don't remember in a month?

Evan Halper

They are now discussing chair arrangement.

Evan Halper

Cathy: You are obviously not tuned to C-span. No badgering. Just a lot of deep diving into protocol and tradition!

David Lauter

Speaking of which, I took a look a bit earlier at what we know about Trump's popularity state by state. The most notable fact: His standing has declined most in states that he won in 2016. For details, take a look at latimes.com/essentialWashington.

Cathleen Decker

Speaking for America, let me just suggest what a relief it will be to listen to one person speak for an hour, as opposed to another hour of the multiplicity of cable guests currently badgering each other over the airwaves.

David Lauter

Republican members of Congress know that their hopes of winning reelection in this year's midterm elections depend significantly on Trump's popularity. Midterm elections are almost always referendums on the incumbent president -- at least in part. So boosting Trump's popularity is a way for them to boost their own chances.

Lisa Mascaro

And Democrats say they will show the president respect -- no outbursts -- even if and when they disagree with his speech.

Lisa Mascaro

Adding to tone and mood -- Republicans are anxious to hear President Trump deliver an upbeat message, touting his successes, particularly on the GOP tax, which is still not as popular as the GOP would like it to be heading into midterm elections.

David Lauter

And at least one Republican member of Congress, Paul Gosar of Arizona, said earlier today that he wanted immigration officials to arrest any undocumented immigrants present at the speech. There's no indication that's going to happen.

Cathleen Decker

Re the rituals, we've already seen one: the Parade of the Future Candidates. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, widely seen as positioning himself for a 2020 presidential bid, just yakked a bit with CNN's Dana Bash, posted inside the Capitol. Rep. Joe Kennedy, the Massachusetts congressman, gets the official Democratic response, so the only airtime available for those who want it is the pre-game show.

Lisa Mascaro

Hi David. It's interesting this year, quite a few lawmakers are skipping the speech, in a sign of protest. Others have invited guests -- immigrants, Dreamers -- in direct confrontation to some of the president's policies.

Evan Halper

Hi everyone. Evan Halper checking in. Any efforts by the White House to take attention off the presidential marriage are not going to be helped tonight by Jimmy Kimmel. His guest: Stormy Daniels.

David Lauter

Lisa, you've covered a lot of these speeches before. Does the atmosphere surrounding this one feel any different than usual on Capitol Hill? Or do the rituals play out pretty much as always?

Cathleen Decker

It's been interesting, if a little odd, that there was so little talk of the impact on the presidential marriage until very recently. That's uncomfortable territory for anyone, and negative insinuations might have been tamped down a bit with a little more information forthcoming from the administration.

Lisa Mascaro

Good evening from the press gallery at the House, where lawmakers and guest are gathering for SOTU2018

David Lauter

Yes, Cathy: The reports that the First Lady traveled to the Capitol separately from President Trump are getting a lot of air play. It's worth noting that there's a possibility that was simply a logistic convenience as opposed to a deliberate statement by Mrs. Trump. But it comes after several other events, most notably her decision not to travel to Davos, Switzerland, with the president last week.

Cathleen Decker

Hi everyone! Some opening thoughts: Normally, the pre-speech airwaves would have been filled with pre-selected excerpts of the address. There were some of those reports tonight, but the bulk of the commentary was a very Trumpian mix,  centered on the partisan GOP memo impugning the FBI that Trump has said he wants released, a Washington Post report that Trump’s Justice Department implored Trump’s chief of staff to keep the memo secret, the continued interest on the part of the president in firing special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III, and the state of the presidential marriage after news of a purported pre-election settlement between the president and a porn star.

David Lauter

Greetings, and welcome to our live coverage of President Trump's State of the Union speech. The White House has advertised this speech as a chance for the president to reach out beyond his current base of support and seek backing for his policies from a wider swath of Americans. My colleagues Cathy Decker, Lisa Mascaro, Evan Halper, Brian Bennett and I will be assessing how that effort unfolds as Trump speaks tonight. We'll also highlight key points and flag factual issues as the speech proceeds. Glad to have you with us for the evening. Stay around: the speech is scheduled to start in just about 40 minutes.

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