The State of Our Union Is...Complicated
It's Tuesday February fifth he's done this before. But now with Nancy Pelosi sitting over his shoulder we start here. President Trump prepares for his state of the union address this very different crowd for the president. You're a lot about bipartisanship tonight. But his anyone actually in the mood for compromise as the military considers a troop drawdown. What does it really like Afghanistan? Isis as you point out. Brad is a huge concern or David Muir. Just got back from seeing the enemy. Check that enemies. The country is facing in with Virginia's capital in chaos. The tenant governor has been waiting. How long can the governor hang onto his job? From ABC news. This is start here. I'm Brad milkey. Are you hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started today at indeed dot com slash podcast. That's indeed dot com slash podcast. The state of the union is well, it's a little weird right now a couple of weeks ago. The state of our union was shut down at least a vast swath of the federal government was and while the doors have opened the standoff has continued so tonight after being delayed a week, President Trump will give one of the latest state of the union addresses in history. Every one of these has a lot of choreography, right? You'll have the vice president and the speaker you'll have invited guests. The supreme court will be up front and their robes lot of that is to demonstrate unity government. But when everyone in that room is bitterly divided when two sides feel like they can barely negotiate and good faith anymore. What can choreography really do? We will find out tonight. ABC's powerhouse political team will be on hand. With live coverage starts at nine eastern. We've got teammates on hand now to help you get ready for it. ABC senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce senior national correspondent, Terry Moran and Terry you've been roaming around the White House. Lately. Do we know what the president is going to talk about tonight, we do in broad strokes? He is confronted obviously with this. New situation for him. Nancy Pelosi speaker of the house right behind him commanding that new democratic majority. So he has to both challenge and confront that majority and find a way forward so that he can demonstrate to the country. He can still lead with this divided government. That means on the confrontation side immigration immigration immigration. He is going to ratchet up the stakes in lurid portrayal of what he claims is the dire need for that border war. What's in my mind? Certainly thinking about it. I think there's a good chance it we'll have to do that. He is going to it seems not go all the way and declared a national emergency, but declared the need for national emergency. Or at least the attitude of one to build that wall. But then he's going to look for ways to say, we can still get things done together. And on that, we expect a pitch on infrastructure to me this very very sexy subject. The media doesn't find it sexy. I find it sex. That is something that probably the Democrats should have run moron in two thousand sixteen and have been making noises at least like they want to get something done to rebuild the nation's older infrastructure. It's a long shot. But I think the country wants to hear something like that. So if President Trump says we need to declare a national emergency will his fellow Republicans stand and applaud that Republicans do not think this is a good idea. I don't think it's a good idea. I think it'd be a terrible idea. I hope he doesn't do it. Many in the president's own party are urging him not to take this step. They think it sets a bad precedent. But when you look at the president's options here, and the fact that both sides are still deeply entrenched. There's not convenient wall money in legislation. She's just playing games. So if there's no wall, it doesn't work declaring a national emergency may in some ways be the president's best political option to save face. And if he does go ahead and declared this national emergency, you can be sure that that. Lot of Republicans are going to be shaking their heads. When you've got to know all the players in this room by site. So what are your is going to be scanning for tonight? There is always the question of which Trump shows up is at Twitter, Trump or teleprompter. Trump what tone does he set and his Terry was saying this is a very different crowd for the president. He's used to standing there and getting mostly applause, everyone watching the president would probably just as closely watching Nancy Pelosi and all of her facial expressions. And remember, the president will be speaking to too many Democrats who are looking to take his job in twenty twenty there. Several who are eyeing presidential runs who will be sitting there. And of course, you have this new generation. Says momma look. Bullies stolen. Maybe they gonna. Really big rising stars in the Democratic Party. This'll be their first time in the chamber. So there's lots of color to watch Terry the more. I listen to you guys the more. I wonder if it actually pays for any of these guys to say, let's work together on a big infrastructure Bill, right? The president certainly knows about playing the his base. And now certainly seems like Democrats due to while I think he does want to maintain the appearance that he can still lead government, even a divided government. He's going to play to the base. Although to the point of the all these new fired-up democrat to kind of wonder how they're gonna react, which one is going to yell you lie. And if we learned anything for past due to the union, sometimes the president comes he does look very presidential delivers a sort of more, traditional speech. And then it's only a matter of hours before he gets back on Twitter and those dumb start firing it off again, even the guest list, kind of tells you how personal these battles. All right. Listen to this Democrats have invited some undocumented immigrants, including some fired from Trump properties. The White House's invited family members of people killed by other undocumented immigrants Alexandria, oh, Cossio Cortez is bringing the woman who confronted Jeff flake in that elevator to tell him about her sexual assault. The first lady's invited to the sixth grader who told his story about being bullied at school because his last name happens to be Trump. So here we go big night. Terry, Mary, thank you both. Thanks, brad. Thinking about government funding tonight. They won't be thinking about repairing roads. They just want to know if their son or daughter is coming home from serving overseas, and this has become a central question in President Trump's agenda. Boys are young women are men. They're all coming back and they're coming back now in December. The president said he was pulling American troops out of Syria days. Later officials told us thousands of troops in Afghanistan could be coming home as well. And that's a shock shockwaves through Capitol Hill and defense circles with people saying, yeah, it's been seventeen years that does not mean the mission is complete yet. And so this weekend, David Muir, the anchor of world news tonight went to Afghantistan to see it for himself. He's here with me now in studio, David we this piece was incredible. What is it like on the ground in Afghanistan right now, you fly in what do you see what we flew into Kabul? And we were given, you know remarkable access because the general now in charge the US commander. There is a four star general a his name is Scott Miller. And the remarkable thing about him is that he was among the first incentive right after nine eleven. Did you ever think you'd be back here as commander? Absolutely not. I don't think I believe that seventeen years going on eighteen years that we still be in Afghanistan. And now he's back to sort of write this next chapter, or at least help, and I certainly think there there is a lot of talk right now in Washington, we've heard from the president a Super Bowl Sunday in an interview he said he wants to bring, you know, US troops home. I wanna fight I want to win and we wanna bring our great troops back home. And there's been talk of a possible draw down in Afghanistan needed. The general told me there is no order for one as of yet at the same time as a commander. I'm always trying to bring the footprint down and bring our our force structure down. But it was very clear to me that that there is a lot of focus on whether or not we can bring some of those US troops home. And if we do what do you then do to make sure you focus on the Taliban. First of all to continue to apply pressure on them there at the table. They're talking with them there's negotiations going on. But they're also negotiate is a remarkable. Thing they they are negotiating with them. And for the first time we've heard from the US envoy who called the talk significant the acting Defense Secretary Shanahan saying that this is significant now, I need to give the diplomats time and space to advance those conversations general Miller saying the same thing, and he said, you know, this isn't going to be a military solution anymore ending. Well, first of all, the political talks. I I do think are are positive, but at the same time in order to apply pressure. This is still a deadly deadly battle between Afghan forces. And the Taliban in that country. And there's concern, of course, from the Afghan government that right now the telephones just talking with the US when is the Taliban to communicate with the Afghan government. And where is the proof that beyond these talks, it will get better when you guys actually got this incredible footage of Afghan forces raiding Taliban forces like cutting their own countrymen free from chains. And that's not even the only threat. They're right. Isis is a threat to well. Here's the thing. You know, we've heard so much in recent weeks about ISIS. There were the comments the president made in that video released to the White House than fighting for a long time in Syria. I've been president for almost two years, and we've really stepped it up, and we have one against ISIS, but ISIS is a very real threat, not only in Syria and in Iraq. But it was really interesting to hear from the general himself that ISIS is a huge problem in Afghanistan. They are inside those borders absolutely dangerous. Not only do the country of Afghantistan, and we've talked about that to the to the government, but very. Dangerous the Afghan people say it's dangerous to the region and certainly dangerous to the west as well. When you think about the recent we went to have ghanistan in the first place was because the Taliban allowed these safe havens for Al Qaeda, and for Osama bin Laden, and so I think there's a little bit of reticence on Capitol Hill when you hear about the potential for us troops to come home. Listen, there's there's even democratic support for that. From many many the candidates for president who've already declared that they're either exploring or are going to run. But I think across the board. It would recognize the danger of a precipitous was rawal for me there conflict, you find sort of a course of Republicans and Democrats who say that if there is any withdrawal in Afghanistan if you begin to draw down troops. How can you be sure that you're not going to allow safe havens like the ones that had been created that led to nine eleven? Particularly when you know still there ISIS as you point out. Brad is a huge concern. And I think the the obvious fight that continues his with the Taliban. And so they're hopeful they want to publicly send a message to keep the Taliban at the table. But at the same time, they're sending a message on the battlefield. This is still a very deadly battle. It's raging as we talk and the big conundrum continues to be if you leave what happens. But also if you continue to stay there do people just stay there forever. The parents who want to know, you know, winner our sons and daughters coming home seventeen years is a long time, David Muir. Thanks a lot like you. Next up on start here. There's one speaker tonight. We haven't talked about how Stacey Abrams lost and still won the biggest audience of her life. Is it still a struggle to get that good night's sleep? Then maybe it's time to try the purple mattress. It's made out of a new material that keeps it firm and soft so keeps everything supported while still feeling really comfortable. Try it now with a one hundred night risk-free trial along with free shipping and returns. And if you order one, you'll get a free purple pillow with the purchase of a mattress just text ABC two four seven four seven four seven the only way to get the three pillow is detect ABC two four seven four seven four seven. Message and data rates may apply when it comes to hiring. You don't have time to waste you need help getting to your shortlist of qualified candidates fast. That's why you need indeed dot com. Get started today at indeed dot com slash podcast. That's indeed dot com slash podcast. President Trump will get a majority of the headlines majority of speaking time. But remember there is a second person who will take the spotlight tonight Stacey Abrams from Georgia will be giving the democratic response. And usually this is the part where we would talk about. How thankless this job is nothing frustrated me more than false choices like the one the president laid out tonight. The choice isn't just between big government or big business. Usually, we make jokes water bottles and Kenneth the page. Joe Kennedy sweaty lipped from last year, but Stacey Abrams is not your usual pick. There was a different conversation to be had here. Maryalice parks is ABC's deputy political director maryalice the democratic response is usually given by someone who represents Democrats. Stacey Abrams doesn't represent anyone. Right. She lost the election. What what's she doing? Here is she did lose the election. She had hoped to be the current new governor of Georgia, and she ran this. Pretty exciting race. Democrats have proven this every single day Georgia with doors knocked with calls made Willie energize Democrats, not only in Georgia and a red southern state, but really energize Democrats across the country. And so I hope that you all join us in our fight for the future. A proud progressive for bold progressive woman of color running in the south. And that was exciting for a lot of Democrats. You know, she has this huge history herself. She's incredibly accomplished who was a minority leader in the Georgia house representatives under secretary Kemp. More people have lost the right to vote in the state of Georgia. They've been purged. They've been suppressed and they've been scared really. Yourself in that role since then working really publicly to fight voter suppression to get minorities out to vote working on income inequality in wage inequality. And and an issue a tough systematic inequality in the south. So she's the kind of person and talking about the kinds of issues that Democrats want to highlight this year Gabriel's might even dispute the notion that she lost. She didn't even concede the race amid all the allegations of otr suppression in Georgia, but maryalice if you are Nancy Pelosi. Why was this the pick? It is rare to pick someone that's not currently in elected office. But it's not unprecedented. Just in two thousand seventeen the former Kentucky governor Steve Bachar did the democratic response to the president's first speech to a joint congress. It was not formally state of the union at that point in some ways. I think Abrams is kind of low risk for Democrats. She's not in the halls of congress every day, not in Washington that makes it harder for the president and Republicans to really critique her or go after her Democrats can. Kind of wash their hands of it afterwards if they want or they can champion it embrace it. If it goes, really, well, but big picture. She just really is emblematic of what Democrats want to put forward this year. The face of leadership is evolving in the United States. That doesn't mean anyone is being pushed out it simply means that more being added to the conversation. They're excited to show case women, especially women of color, it draws a really clear distinction with the GOP which by comparison has very few women and hardly any women of color in their ranks. And she'll get her precious six or seven minutes to the president speaks for an hour. That is maryalice parks. Thank you very much. Thanks, brad. At this point the list of people demanding Ralph Northerns resignation is like a who's who of politics thinks. It's unforgivable. It's unconscionable. Post majority leader Nancy Pelosi saying he should do the right thing. He should step away from that job. It's like if people agreed this much all the time. We'd have a lot more bipartisanship in congress. But the governor Virginia continues to dispute that he was ever in a racist yearbook photo that appeared right under his name in nineteen Eighty-four. There is no way that I have ever been in a K KKK uniform. I am not the person in that uniform. And I'm not the person to the right? He bizarrely acknowledged he has dressed in black face before though during a Michael Jackson dance competition, and he continues to resist the calls to step aside. ABC's chief national affairs correspondent Tom yomas in Richmond Virginia, and so Tom. I mean, let's get right to it. Do people think Ralph nor them has to end up resigning here, virtually every Virginia politician, Republican or democrat has unified under this cause and the causes to call on. On Ralph Northam to resign. But Ralph Northam the Virginia governor has yet to resign. He has met with his staffers. He met with them Sunday night. He met with them Monday morning. He is still meeting with them. He's not stepping aside. While I think he has come to grips with the notion that he doesn't have the authority to lead anymore and right now, I just spoke to a a congressman of fellow democrat who tells me he thinks no longer is about the scandal anymore. This is about Ralph Northerns legacy. So you think now this is more about him than about the government? I think it's more about his legacy than it is about the government. Yes. Selfish move, human move. We know that the Lieutenant governor has been waiting. He's there. He has made his statements very clear he won't call on the governor to resign. People say, whatever they. Statement. Decisions in the best interests of the Commonwealth, but Lieutenant governor Fairfax, I is definitely ready to take over and you can tell that in the statement said he has said well, and so you've got this bipartisan outrage, then Republicans control the house of delegates, but there's certainly enough Democrats that want north amount if he doesn't step down like I is impeachment on the table. What are the other options? You know, the speaker of the house of delegates said that he he does not wanna go down that route because of the the constitution Virginian. The constitution says, you know, it has to be a mental health issue or a physical health issue for impeachment to go through. So they don't want to go down that route namely because the Virginia voters voted for him. And they don't want to overturn election. That being said the constitution is very clear that if there is a vacancy in the gov- Lieutenant governor steps up, and if there's a vacancy with Lieutenant governor that it's the attorney general who needs to step up. So, you know, we could be at this for a few days if not a few weeks, but if you think he is in that yearbook photo, then that would mean as of right now, he's not telling the truth, Tom in Virginia. Thanks for staying on top of this. Thank you, Brad. And one last thing the deadline is looming. If a deal isn't done in just seventy two days, we could crush out even in Britain. No one quite knows what's going to happen on March twenty ninth. And according to recent reports in London Buckingham Palace has a plan already to go. If things get real ugly, including getting the Queen out of the country of necessary, and these reports of a quick cet. Yes, they're calling a quick sit. And don't blame me for that. They seem farfetched right? From where the king and Queen wish outing the Royal chapel was struck tanning through the roof, the bum compete directly old and ho twenty tons of debris into the basement the Royal family status Buckingham Palace during World War Two win bombs raining down. Just like the secret service the royals have extrication planes. They go back decades doesn't mean they're expecting to need them. But all this does speak to the very real concerns sweeping across Britain right now. You remember why two k it's like that. No one quite knew what was going to happen. So everyone just got more and more nervous ahead of the deadline people over put it stockpiling groceries and medicine, they might need. If your car is not made in Britain people think maybe now's the time to go. Get that spare-part in case. There's no imports. There's still a lot of steps between right now and civil unrest deadlines could get pushed back there could be new votes. Just don't look to the Queen for help. She's legally not allowed to take sides in this. But if you need reassurance, call her she'll be at home. Guess what you guys we are going on the road this evening. That's right. A special edition of start here from the capital is coming your way tomorrow, we're super psyched, we will have all the highlights and analysis you need to start your day. Of course, ABC will carry the speech of live starting tonight at nine pm eastern on ABC, news dot com or the news app. I'm Brad milkey. See tomorrow. Are you hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started today at indeed dot com slash podcast. That's indeed dot com slash podcast.