WASHINGTON — Republicans want details and Democrats want an olive branch. What’s unclear is whether either side will get ’em.
Anticipation is running high for President Donald Trump’s first speech before a joint session of Congress later tonight. Georgia lawmakers have a long list of issues they hope the new president will address during his prime-time speech.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is looking for more details on Trump’s plan to defeat the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. A shout-out to deepening project at the Savannah Port wouldn’t hurt either.
“That’s a lot to ask for and I doubt that he’ll do it but I’d love to hear him (reference) it as a perfect example of a shovel-ready project that’s already receiving federal and state funding … and would bring more jobs, more opportunity to Georgia,” Isakson said in an interview Tuesday. “That would be fantastic.”
GOP Rep. Buddy Carter, whose district includes Savannah, also wouldn’t mind a port shout-out, as well as more detail about health care since he’s a member of the House committee that authors such legislation.
“At some point we have to get in the weeds. There’s got to be certain things that he is and is not willing to accept and I’d like to know those parameters,” he said.
White House officials said to expect a speech that emphasizes how Trump has made good on his campaign promises in terms of cutting government waste and red tape, pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and greenlighting the Keystone XL Pipeline. They said to also expect Trump to lay out his vision for health care and taxes, while underscoring national unity.
A “more conciliatory message that brings the country together” is something Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he’s looking for during tonight’s address.
“Anyone who watches what’s going on, there’s a level of anxiety,” Reed told fellow Insider Greg Bluestein. “There’s some real tension in the country. And I hope that the president will start taking steps to heal that.”
Other Democrats were not as optimistic.
“My expectations are a brazen political speech no different than what we’ve been hearing lately,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia. “I think it will defile the will of the House to be subjected to the rank politicization that I expect from this president.”
Read more about tonight’s speech here:
How to watch:
Start time: roughly 9 p.m. eastern
Where: C-SPAN and other news networks. It will also be streamed live on whitehouse.gov.