The Latest: Mrs. Trump to mingle with guests before speech

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address (all times local):

12:01 p.m.

Melania Trump is going early to the State of the Union again to spend time with her guests.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says the first lady escorts the guests to help put them at ease and so they have time to look around the Capitol.

President Donald Trump’s public schedule has Mrs. Trump departing the White House about 40 minutes before Trump.

She caused a stir last year by arriving at the Capitol early and without the president. Grisham said then that the reason was to spend time with the guests. Her decision to travel alone also followed reports that Trump’s lawyer had paid a porn star to keep quiet about an alleged past affair with Trump.

Trump and his wife returned to the White House together after the speech.


11:12 a.m.

President Donald Trump is belittling the Senate’s top Democrat and complaining about the press hours ahead of a State of the Union address that the White House says will focus on unity and optimism.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seems to have triggered Trump’s Twitter complaint. The New York Democrat said on the Senate floor Tuesday that Trump talks about unity in his annual addresses to the nation but “spends the other 364 days of the year dividing us.” He accuses Trump of “blatant hypocrisy.”

Minutes later, Trump tweeted that Schumer hasn’t even seen the speech. He claims Schumer is just “upset that he didn’t win the Senate, after spending a fortune.” And Trump complains that Republicans “weren’t given more credit for the Senate win by the media.”


11:05 a.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump is keeping a busy schedule before he goes to the Capitol to deliver the State of the Union address.

Although Trump had nothing on his public schedule, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says Trump has meetings Tuesday, including with his chief of staff. He also plans to confer with his speechwriting and communications teams to put “finishing touches” on the nationally televised address. Conway says he’ll go “up to the last minute with (a) Sharpie in hand.”

She says Trump has worked with the teams to put much of the speech “in his own voice.”

The president is also sticking to tradition and hosting television news anchors for lunch.

Conway says Trump will also meet with guests the White House has invited to sit with first lady Melania Trump during the speech.


12:24 p.m.

President Donald Trump is expected to call for optimism and unity in his State of the Union address, but skeptics are likely to question whether he can be successful in pursuing such a reset after two years of bitter partisanship and personal attacks.

Ahead of Trump’s prime-time Tuesday speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hopes to hear a commitment from Trump on issues with bipartisan support, such as lowering the price of prescription drugs and rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

Trump will speak in the House chamber of the Capitol before members of the House and Senate and other government officials. Among them are several Democrats running to challenge Trump’s re-election.

The Democratic response will come from the unsuccessful candidate for Georgia governor, Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the party.

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