He’s unpopular, under investigation, and facing tough legislative and electoral battles ahead.
Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address comes at a particularly tumultuous time in his unusually tumultuous presidency.
Wrenching legislative battles over immigration, a potential government shutdown, and the debt ceiling lie ahead. Trump’s the most unpopular president at this point in his term since modern polling was invented, and his party has been paying the price in recent special elections — which bodes ominously for the GOP in 2016.
All the while, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has been looming larger than ever, with Trump’s team in talks with Mueller’s about a possible sit-down interview with the president. Indeed, Trump is facing so many challenges that the recent report that he arranged a hush money payment to a porn star to cover up an affair seems relatively minor.
Yet not everything is going badly for President Trump — far from it.
While the economy isn’t doing wildly better than the late Obama years, it’s doing generally fine — and one highly visible indicator, the stock market, has been reaching new heights. Plus, after spending most of his first year without legislative accomplishments, Trump has signed the tax cut that the GOP so craved into law, and he can take credit for success in judicial confirmations as well.
Republicans in Congress have for the most part circled the wagons around the president rather than abandoning him. They’ve generally downplayed previous criticisms and expressing indifference to new scandals, apparently due to a calculation that their own electoral fates are linked to his.