10 Things to Watch for in Trump’s Address to Congress

10 Things to Watch for in Trump’s Address to Congress

Donald Trump’s speech tonight will be, like everything he does, a spectacle. The last time Trump had such a stage was his inaugural, where all of official Washington stood behind him as he looked out over what (in his mind) were trillions of people. But tonight, he will be looking right into the eyes of Congress, his Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs, the Supreme Court, and diplomatic corps. He can’t resist working the room — name-checking, fawning, heckling — so expect this to be the wackiest joint session address you’ve ever seen.

But we’ll be listening for what Trump says about substance (that is, if he can refrain from attacking the press and refuting the numbers at his inauguration). So in that spirit, here are the top 10 things we hope to hear about in Trump’s speech tonight. These can be used as checklist to grade the president — and we’ll offer our take on how we think he did later in the week.

The first three are questions that President Barack Obama posed in his final State of the Union address over a year ago, but are even more relevant today.

“First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?”

“Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us, especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?”

“Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?”

Fourth, how will America work with its longstanding democratic allies in Europe and Asia?

Fifth, what more should we know about Russia meddling in our election, and how can we better defend our country (and work with our partners) to ensure that future elections are free and fair, protected from Russian influence?

Sixth, what is the strategy behind the defense spending increases Trump plans to unveil, and how does paying for those increases by slashing money for diplomacy and foreign assistance make America stronger and safer?

Seventh, how will President Trump denounce hate crimes, especially the alarming wave of anti-Semitism and targeting of immigrants and people of color?

Eighth, we have heard next to nothing from President Trump or his administration about future of Afghanistan and the mission of the 8,400 U.S. troops that are still fighting there. What are Trump’s goals?

Ninth, does Trump believe it is in America’s interests to promote democracy abroad? If so, how does he suggest we do it better?

Finally, Trump has put Iran “on notice,” but said little about his intentions regarding the Iran nuclear deal. Does he plan to stand by it? And if he takes a more confrontational approach toward Iran, how does he plan to avoid a spiral to war?

So this is what we’ll be looking for tonight. Tune in later this week to see how we think he did.

Photo credit: ALEX WONG/Getty Images