FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., watch. Two decades ago, President Bill Clinton delivered his State of the Union address before a nation transfixed by his impeachment. He didn’t use the I-word once. President Donald Trump is far from the first president to deliver a State of the Union address in a time of turmoil.
Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP
Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

President Trump to give State of the Union tonight at 9: How to watch, listen

One of the president’s personal guests is a Cincinnati man recovering from addiction.

President Donald Trump will be unleashing “relentless optimism” during his third State of the Union address, a speech designed to pivot from his impeachment to his drive for reelection. Trump is speaking from a position of strength, with nearly complete control of the Republican Party. The theme of his speech: “The Great American Comeback.”

You can watch the address live on WHIO-TV, on whio.com, and on daytondailynews.com. You can also listen to it live on 1290 and 95.7 WHIO starting at 9 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar will then give the Democratic response-- you can watch or listen in the same ways listed above. 

It’ll be a different experience for Democrats, nearly all of whom voted for Trump’s impeachment in the House. Where Trump will point to GOP unity ahead of the 2020 elections, Democrats and their difficult nomination will be on display after a long night of uncertainty in Iowa’s kickoff caucuses — an “unmitigated disaster,” as Trump tweeted Tuesday.

The contrast with Trump’s State of the Union address last year will be stark. Then, Democrats were triumphant just a few days after taking control of the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had forced Trump to reopen the government. Her smirking clap, eye-to-eye with him, mocked the president of the United States in front of the world.

What to watch during Trump’s speech:

OHIO LAWMAKERS REACTION

“We’re living in the best place in the world at the best time in history, and I hope the president communicates that to Americans in his State of the Union address,” said U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy. “Due to divisive partisanship, many Americans don’t know how this country is flourishing. Unemployment is at an all-time low. Since 2016, we’ve added over 100,000 new jobs to Ohio’s economy, notably in manufacturing.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has a different opinion of how the economy is doing compared to Rep. Davidson.

“President Trump has betrayed workers at every turn,” Brown said in a statement. Brown is bringing Dave Green, a former president of United Auto Workers Local 1112 who worked at the now shuttered GM plant in Lordstown, as his guest to tonight’s speech.

“The workers at Lordstown helped create GM’s financial success and, instead of fighting to save these jobs, the president sided with corporations and gave companies like GM massive tax breaks to shut down American factories and ship jobs overseas,” Brown said.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said his guest will be Dr. Patrice Palmer, founder of the non-profit Chosen4Change and head of Franklin County’s Pathways Achieving Recovery by Choice program.

Portman’s office said Pathways is a voluntary recovery program for incarcerated women with a substance use disorder and often a co-occurring mental illness. The program is funded in part by $881,070 in federal grants Franklin County received through Portman’s bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA).

A statement from Portman said Palmer “has played a leading role in helping some of the most vulnerable women in the Columbus area turn their lives around and break the cycle of incarceration.”

TRUMP AND PELOSI

Trump walks into the House chamber tonight between what he’ll tout are two victories: Iowa Democrats’ technical failure that delayed Monday’s caucus results and his expected acquittal in the Senate on Wednesday.

“The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country,” Trump Tweeted Tuesday morning, declaring himself the only “big” winner of the contest.

Trump and Pelosi haven’t spoken since Pelosi stood up, pointed at Trump across a table at the White House and bluntly suggested he is controlled by the president of Russia. “All roads lead to Putin,” she said, before stalking out.

The extraordinary moment last October was captured in a now-famous photograph that Trump released and Pelosi slapped across the top of her Twitter page. At other times, she’s questioned his “manhood” and he’s called her “crazy.”

Impeachment has only inflamed things. Pelosi last week said Trump will never have a true acquittal because the Senate did not hold a real trial with witnesses. But, she’s said with relish, “He’ll be impeached forever.”

THE BIG PICTURE

Trump is sure to use the speech to try to remind the country of what he’s accomplished.

The White House would not say whether it is modeling Trump’s speech on President Bill Clinton’s in 1999, amid his own impeachment trial. Clinton never mentioned the I-word.

Look for Trump, like Clinton, to promote a strong economy. Trump is expected to lead with talk about what the White House calls a “blue-collar boom.” There have been gains in blue-collar wages under Trump, though some of those gains have faded as Trump’s trade war hurt manufacturing.

CORONAVIRUS

Will he make any mention of the new coronavirus?

“We’ve offered China help, but we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus,” Trump said Sunday. At the same time, the president has tried to avoid angering China by being too outspoken, according to confidants.

Under new rules, U.S. citizens who have traveled in China within the last 14 days will be re-routed to one of 11 designated airports, where they will undergo enhanced health screening procedures.

In this Feb. 2, 2020, photo, Polish military personnel wearing protective suits talk with evacuees from Wuhan, China, after their arrival at an airport in Marseilles, France. China said Tuesday the number of infections from a new virus surpassed 20,000 as medical workers and patients arrived at a new hospital and President Xi Jinping said "we have launched a people's war of prevention of the epidemic."
Photo: AP Photo/Arek Rataj

CINCINNATI MAN WILL BE PRESIDENT’S GUEST

Army veteran Tony Rankins, who lives in Cincinnati, will be a guest of the president and First Lady Melania Trump, a White House official told The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Rankins is a recovering drug addict who now works in construction in a Cincinnati “opportunity zone,” low-income area that receives tax advantages for investments. Opportunity zones were created as part of Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.

Rankins struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and drug addiction after serving in Afghanistan. He lost his job and family, started living out of his car and eventually ended up in prison, according to the White House.

After his release, Rankins went to work for Denver-based R Investments, which does development work in Cincinnati. The real estate and construction company trained Rankins in carpentry, painting and brick work. His job in Cincinnati has helped Rankins to remain drug-free and reunite with his family, the White House official said.

Sabrina Eaton of Cleveland.com contributed to this report

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