The President "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient [...]"
- U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section III
The State of the Union address is Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 8:00 central time.
When President Trump steps up to the podium in front of federal lawmakers, invited guests, and Supreme Court Justices (as well as millions of citizens watching at home), he will follow in the footsteps of all those who have come before, stretching back to the first "SOTU" in 1790, delivered by George Washington in New York City.
The Constitution doesn't get very specific about the SOTU, other than by directing the president to give Congress information about the state of the union "from time to time," though it has become an annual tradition.
Over the centuries, the SOTU has varied by method of delivery, ranging from a written message to radio broadcast. Today, television (and Internet streaming) are the dominant forms of public broadcast. It's not hard to imagine President Trump, given his love of Twitter, making history by tweeting out the SOTU in 280-character chunks.
Predictions on President Trump's SOTU
This will be Trump's first official SOTU, having wrapped up his first year in office.
In light of the improving U.S. economy - a record-setting stock market and rising interest rates, for example - it's widely believed that Trump won't hesitate to shine his spotlight on this in his speech, along with the GOP's tax plan, which passed in December.
Other topics may include the opioid crisis, immigration, infrastructure, and ongoing tensions with North Korea, though it's tough to make predictions, given Trump's penchant for going off-script.
Joe Kennedy's SOTU Response
Nothing in the Constitution mandates a response by the political opposition, but this has become a tradition. This year the oppositional torch goes to 37-year-old Rep. Joe Kennedy - yes, a member of the Kennedy political dynasty - who is widely perceived to be an up-and-comer in the Democratic party.