President Trump will deliver his State of the Union address at 9 p.m.
His first address to a divided Congress will take on a partisan edge.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, accused Mr. Trump of “blatant hypocrisy” even for “calling for unity.”
President Trump will deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday at the Capitol.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times
Unity theme frayed before Mr. Trump even left the White House.
President Trump heads to Capitol Hill on Tuesday night to deliver what aides called a message of bipartisan unity in his first address to Congress in the new era of divided government, but any hope of harmony was dispelled long before he left the White House.
The president and Democrats spent the hours before his State of the Union address exchanging political fire, making clear that whatever ritualistic calls for across-the-aisle cooperation he would issue later in the evening were unlikely to transform an environment that has turned increasingly toxic.
“Could you believe it? He choked like a dog.”
Some bon mots offered up:
On the prospects of facing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 campaign: “Biden was never very smart. He was a terrible student. His gaffes are unbelievable. When I say something that you might think is a gaffe, it’s on purpose; it’s not a gaffe. When Biden says something dumb, it’s because he’s dumb.”
On Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts: “I hope I haven’t wounded Pocahontas too badly,” he said. “I’d like to run against her.”
On Senator Schumer: “Schumer,” he added, “can be a nasty son of a bitch.”
And on the embattled Virginia governor, Ralph Northam: “Did you see that news conference?” Mr. Trump asked. “Could you believe it? He choked like a dog.”
For good measure, the president took another shot at the late Senator John McCain: “By the way,” Mr. Trump said, “he wrote a book and the book bombed.”
Democrats’ response: “Let all eligible Americans vote.”
Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost her race in November to be Georgia’s governor, will deliver the Democratic response, and she will press her case that access to the voting booth should be easier, not harder.
“This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country,” she will say, according to excerpts released by Senate Democratic leaders. “We must reject the cynicism that says allowing every eligible vote to be cast and counted is a ‘power grab.’ Americans understand that these are the values our brave men and women in uniform and our veterans risk their lives to defend.”
The “power grab” comment was a direct reference to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, who used that phrase to denounce House Democratic legislation to expand access to the voting booth.
“The foundation of our moral leadership around the globe is free and fair elections, where voters pick their leaders — not where politicians pick their voters,” she will say. She also will blame Mr. Trump for the government shutdown: “The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people — but our values.”
Stacey Abrams will be the first black woman and the first nonsitting public official to deliver the rebuttal. Here’s what you need to know about her.CreditCreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times
Rick Perry, your designated survivor, finds his bunker.
Every year, one member of the president’s cabinet is held in a secure location, in case catastrophe strikes. Rick Perry, the former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, hasn’t been much in evidence since he joined the Trump administration as the energy secretary.
He won’t be in evidence at the State of the Union address either. He is the designated survivor, spirited, well, somewhere.
The response has already begun — before the speech.
In an unofficial Democratic response to Mr. Trump, Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California and a 2020 presidential hopeful, delivered her own State of the Union address via Facebook Tuesday evening, taking the president to task for policies that she said benefit the rich and powerful, and outlining her own vision for a politics of unity rather than division.
“At this difficult moment we can have faith that the American people are spirited, resourceful and resilient,” Ms. Harris said, “and because of who we are we can come together around that common purpose.”
During the eight-minute speech live streamed on her Facebook page, Ms. Harris challenged Mr. Trump on a range of fronts, arguing that his economic policies are geared to “help big corporations and foreign interests,” and that his foreign policy has hurt American farmers and consumers because of the trade wars he has instigated.
She also confronted Mr. Trump on his immigration policy, particularly his administration’s decision to separate children from their parents seeking asylum at the border.
“When you hear claims that our problems would all be solved if we just built a wall on our southern border, don’t forget the babies ripped from their parents arms and the refugees fleeing violence and abuse that are being turned away,” she said.
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Speaker Nancy Pelosi sends a message with her guests.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was killed during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. last year, came to Washington for the confirmation hearings of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and made news when the future justice — apparently thinking he was a protester — refused to shake his hand.
Tuesday night, Mr. Guttenberg will be on Capitol Hill again, this time as a guest of Ms. Pelosi.
Mr. Guttenberg is among 20 people, other than her husband, Paul, who will sit in the House chamber as Ms. Pelosi’s guests. The list, which reflects Ms. Pelosi’s political priorities, includes five union presidents; three gun safety advocates (including Mr. Guttenberg) and three members of the military, two of them transgender.
The president of Planned Parenthood, Leana Wen, will also join Ms. Pelosi, as will Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver of New Jersey.
And the speaker’s list includes two chefs — the Food Network star Tyler Florence and José Andrés, who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work, including helping the devastated island of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria there.
The presence of Mr. Andrés may not go over well with President Trump; The Trump Organization sued him for breach of contract after Mr. Andres — upset over then-candidate Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans — backed out of an agreement to open a restaurant in The Trump International Hotel here.
The suit was settled in 2017 for an undisclosed amount.
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Democrats make a statement in suffragist white.
In a nod to the suffragists, many Democrat women decided to attend the State of the Union in white. They posed for group photos on a staircase, at one point clasping hands and holding them aloft. Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the majority leader, passed out white ribbons to his male colleagues.
Representative Dean Phillips, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, went a step further and donned a white suit jacket with black lapels. Democratic lawmakers said they had included Republicans in their proposal, but it was unlikely that any would intentionally coordinate.
Several of the guests — among them, Ana Maria Archila, the activist joining Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York — also were resplendent in white.
Some outfits were last minute endeavors; Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Democrat of Florida, had her husband run to Nordstrom’s Monday night while she dealt with congressional duties. “That’s the kind of husband I have,” she said, laughing.
— Emily Cochrane
Feb. 4, 2019
Your name on the State of the Union! For a price.
State of the Union viewers tuning in on the Trump campaign’s social media accounts or website, will get more than a view of the president’s address. They’ll also see a list of donors to Mr. Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.
The campaign said that donors will see their name and the amount they donated roll across the bottom of a live stream of the speech — like a stock ticker. The campaign did something similar last year, which the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen called “commercializing and corrupting yet another institution.”
The Republican National Committee told The Washington Post that the strategy raised more than $1 million.
This year’s total weren’t immediately available, said Gary Coby, who runs digital fund-raising for the campaign. He said people like being part of something live and official.
“I think people love seeing their name,” Mr. Coby said.
— Mihir Zaveri
Trump Hotel is home base for a MAGA-themed watch party.
The lobby at the Trump International Hotel in Washington is full of Trump supporters who have gathered here to watch the state of the union address, which will be broadcast in full volume from four large televisions in the lobby.
It’s a festive atmosphere, with flowing Trump-branded wine and plenty of related Trump merchandise. Fox News is on the televisions, and the broadcast is focused on divisions in the Democratic Party about the rebuttal speech that will be delivered right after the president’s.
Among the Trump-world inhabitants spotted are the president’s son, Donald Jr., Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary. Mr. Spicer declined to speak with a reporter except to say that his trip to the Super Bowl over the weekend was “great.”
A group of supporters will plan to gather in the hotel’s “Lincoln Library” to watch the proceedings while the rest of Washington’s “Make America Great Again” community will watch from the bar.
— Katie Rogers
Some of his best friends, oh, nevermind.
Representative Steve King, the Iowa Republican embroiled in a firestorm over racist remarks and charges of white supremacist sympathies, made something of his own statement by bringing Lynnette Hardaway, better known as her online persona Diamond from the Trump-supporting duo Diamond and Silk.
Mr. King on Twitter said the two women, who are both black, had a coin toss to see who would take the ticket.
— Emily Cochrane
Trump to address his planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump is expected to mention troop withdrawals in Syria and Afghanistan, issues that are more divisive in his own party than with Democrats. The Republican-led Senate has rebuked Mr. Trump over his moves.
In Afghanistan, the anxiety is even higher. Ordinary Afghans and their leaders wonder whether the United States is handing the country over to the Taliban.
On Tuesday evening, three hours before the start of Mr. Trump’s speech, a State Department spokesman said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken with Ashraf Ghani, president of Afghanistan, by telephone. Mr. Pompeo sought to “reaffirm the U.S. commitment to achieving a lasting peace in Afghanistan,” the spokesman, Robert Palladino, said. Mr. Pompeo also stressed the need for a cease-fire that would allow political groups, including the Taliban, to reach a settlement, he added. Mr. Pompeo highlighted the role of Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States special representative for Afghanistan, in trying to forge “an inclusive peace process,” he said.
They were words aimed at calming Mr. Ghani. The Afghan president is uncomfortable with Mr. Khalilzad’s negotiations, and last week Mr. Ghani sent Mr. Trump a letter offering him reduced costs for keeping American troops in the country.
— Edward Wong
Not all House members will be there. Some will boycott.
A handful of House Democrats announced they would not attend Tuesday night’s address. Representative Al Green, Democrat of Texas, who has introduced articles of impeachment against the president, was blunt.
“I am continuing my two-year protest of an unfit, impeachable president by not attending his State of the Union address. President Donald J. Trump has exhibited his unfitness for office since initially campaigning and thereafter governing with a propensity to promulgate and promote bigotry and bigoted policies against Muslims, people of color, women, immigrants, as well as members of the LGBTQ community. Since his inauguration, he has harmed our society by making bigotry and invidious discrimination more acceptable across our country.”
Four Justices Expected to Attend
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. does not care for the State of the Union ceremony, having called it “a political pep rally.” But he is expected to be in there Tuesday night, extending a perfect attendance record since he joined the Supreme Court in the fall of 2005.
He is likely to be joined by Mr. Trump’s two appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. That is no surprise. Political scientists have found that attendance by justices in their early years is common, probably prompted by gratitude and loyalty.
Justice Antonin Scalia, who said the State of the Union address was “a juvenile spectacle,” went to seven of the first nine after joining the court, through 1997. He died in 2016 without having attended another.
But he did not fault new justices for going, saying in 2010 that it was easier to stay home “when the president giving the State of the Union is not the man who appointed you.”
Justice Elena Kagan, who has been a consistent presence since her appointment by President Barack Obama in 2010, is expected to go. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is recovering from cancer surgery in December, did not attend last year’s address and is not expected. On Monday, she made her first public appearance since the surgery, at a musical celebration of her life.
— Adam Liptak