President Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union to the United States Congress tonight. The annual address, given by the current president to both houses of Congress, is typically an opportunity for the nation’s leader to lay out the state of the economy, highlight important developments over the past year, and share the vision for the coming year.
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
The State of the Union address is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m ET/6 p.m. PT this evening. There is no set length, with some presidents running well over an hour while others wrap up in a little over 30 minutes. Trump’s 2019 State of the Union last year ended up being 1 hour and 22 minutes, the third-longest ever.
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: YouTube, C-SPAN, NBC, ABC, The Washington Post, Telemundo, and other major news channels should all be streaming the speech. The White House will stream the speech on its website.
Many networks and publications will offer live blogging from their policy experts, for those who want analysis to go along with the speech. Last year, The New York Times, NPR, and CBS offered live coverage on their sites, including live annotation and fact-checking, and it seems likely they will do the same this year.
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