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Twitter chat: Previewing Trump’s first address to Congress

Nearly 40 days into his first term, President Donald Trump will lay out his agenda in an address to the nation and a joint session of Congress tonight on Capitol Hill.

The speech, his first to both houses of Congress, will focus on the renewal of the American spirit, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during his news briefing Monday. Trump “will invite Americans of all backgrounds to come together in the service of a stronger and brighter future for our nation,” Spicer told reporters.

Why is this speech important for Trump, and will he earn some political capital to steer his agenda through Congress? Can his address help unify the country after a deeply divisive election? Or, will he use the speech to remind voters of his election victory and continue to criticize his detractors and the news media?

For a preview of Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress, PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) will host a Twitter Chat with Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid), a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, April Ponnuru (@AprilPonnuru), a senior adviser at the Conservative Reform Network, Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey), managing editor of the blog Lawfare and a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Republican strategist Barry Bennett (@GOPBarryBennett). Join us at 8 p.m. ET—just before the president’s speech—on Twitter, and follow the conversation using the hashtag #NewsHourChats.

After our Twitter chat, join NewsHour for live coverage of President Trump’s address to Congress:

The president will address several policy areas that he says need attention, including tax and regulatory reform, health care and bolstering the military. On all of these, Trump “wants to work with Congress,” Spicer said.

But how will Congress react to the president’s first-ever speech in the House chamber?

“We’re looking forward to a positive, upbeat presentation tomorrow night and proceeding with our agenda,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Monday after leaving a Trump meeting at the White House with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

However, during the Presidents Day recess, some Republican members of Congress went home to angry constituents at town halls across the country. Meanwhile, Democrats have invited immigrants to join them as their guests in the chamber during Trump’s address.

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