White House Attempts to Script Post-State of the Union Comments by Allies

February 6, 2019, 12:48 AM UTC

The White House wants Americans to hear 11 words after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening: “visionary,” “unifying,” “commonsense,” “hopeful,” “patriotic,” “inclusive,” “inspiring,” “clarifying,” “strong,” “optimistic,” and “confident.”

The descriptors appear in a “messaging preview” document the White House distributed to political allies ahead of the annual speech. The document, obtained by Bloomberg News, shows how the president’s aides are trying to orchestrate an echo chamber of accolades for Trump’s address, instructing supporters who may be interviewed by media on what adjectives to use as they deliver praise.

The theme of the speech, aides have said, will be “choosing greatness.” The document encourages Trump’s allies to emphasize that “extraordinary bipartisan achievements” are possible and that Trump is a “problem solver.” Trump will encourage Democrats in his speech to “reject the politics of resistance and retribution and instead adopt a spirit of cooperation and compromise,” according to the document.

“Speech will have a bipartisan tone, invite cooperation and present a unifying, hopeful, and patriotic vision of America’s future,” the document reads.

That would mark a distinct turn for the president, who has spent months publicly blaming Democrats for illegal migration to the U.S. and accusing them of supporting “open borders” and high crime. The dispute over his demand for $5.7 billion to continue construction of a wall on the border with Mexico caused a 35-day partial shutdown of the government, the longest in modern U.S. history, that delayed his State of the Union by a week.