On Tuesday, January 30, President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address to Congress. It’s an important tradition in American politics, and this one will almost certainly be much discussed the day after, so if you’re curious about what it is or simply how to watch it, here’s everything you need to know.
What is the State of the Union?
Article II of the Constitution outlines the various duties of the president, one of which is to “from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” George Washington established the tradition of addressing Congress annually, but beginning with Thomas Jefferson, presidents chose to deliver a written message rather than a speech. Nowadays, presidents once again deliver the State of the Union to Congress in person, a tradition that Woodrow Wilson revived in 1913.
When and how to watch it
In 2018, the State of the Union address is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m ET on January 30. There is no set length, with some presidents running well over an hour while others wrap up in a little over 30 minutes.
On cable or satellite, most major news networks — CNN, NBC, and so on — will be broadcasting the address. If you want to stream it, there are plenty of options. On YouTube, C-SPAN, NBC, The New York Times, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, and others should all be streaming. On Facebook, the White House’s own page will be streaming the event.
Twitter will also be streaming the speech, alongside a feed for user reactions and commentary.
Many networks and publications will offer live blogging from their policy experts, for those who want analysis to go along with the speech. The New York Times, NPR, and CBS will offer live coverage their sites, including live annotation and fact-checking.
If you want to check out the State of the Union is a new way, and have a VR headset lying around, you can use AltspaceVR, which is essentially a VR-based social platform where people can hang out in a non-physical way.
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