President Donald Trump has hailed the “great American comeback” in a speech to Congress on the eve of his expected acquittal in his impeachment trial.
At his annual State of the Union address, Mr Trump struck a tone of optimism as he set out his case for another four years in office.
He will say his tenure has “shattered the mentality of American decline”.
But it is unclear whether he will lash out at the lawmakers who have attempted to remove him from office.
The Republican president delivered Tuesday night’s nationally televised speech in the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives, where he was impeached in December.
On the other side of the Capitol, the Republican-led Senate is all but certain on Wednesday to clear the president of corruption charges in a party-line vote.
- Live – all the latest from Trump’s speech
Before Mr Trump began speaking at the podium in the well of the House, he appeared to ignore a handshake from the chamber’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Mrs Pelosi, the president’s implacable political foe and the most powerful elected Democrat, was sitting behind him at the dias.
Republican lawmakers chanted “four more years” as he prepared to speak, urging him on for November’s White House election.
With an upbeat note that contrasted sharply with his lament of “American carnage” in his 2017 inaugural presidential address, Mr Trump told his audience: “The years of economic decay are over.
“The days of our country being used, taken advantage of, and even scorned by other nations are long behind us.
“Gone too are the broken promises, jobless recoveries, tired platitudes, and constant excuses for the depletion of American wealth, power, and prestige.”
The president invited several special guests to the address, including Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, two military veterans and the brother of a man killed by an undocumented immigrant.
Mr Trump welcomed the Venezuelan visitor with a remark that was also seen as a jab at liberal Democrats, including the left-wing candidates vying to challenge him for the White House, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
“Socialism destroys nations,” said the president. “But always remember, freedom unifies the soul.”
As they did last year, many female Democrats – including Mrs Pelosi – wore white as tribute to the suffragettes who won the vote for US women in 1920.
Several liberal Democratic lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Maxine Waters of California, boycotted Mr Trump’s address.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she would “not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution”.
A Democratic rebuttal to Mr Trump’s speech will be delivered afterwards by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of Texas will follow in Spanish.
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Source Author: BBC News