WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week will include a call to end America’s ongoing wars overseas, building on his recent comments suggesting troop drawdowns in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
The speech, set for Tuesday evening, will include a significant section on national security, according to a senior administration official involved in planning for the event. Specifics are still being discussed, but the speech is expected to touch on troop drawdowns and diplomatic shifts.
On Friday morning, the president took to social media to lament that “I inherited a total mess in Syria and Afghanistan,” adding that “these wars must finally end.”
“It is now time to start coming home and, after many years, spending our money wisely. Certain people must get smart!” he wrote.
On Thursday, the Senate approved legislation rebuking Trump for his proposed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, saying rogue elements in both countries still pose a significant national security threat to the United States.
Officials involved in the planning would not give specifics on which foreign countries Trump will focus on in the speech, other than to say the political turmoil in Venezuela would be addressed.
Much of the speech will include calls for bipartisan compromise on ways to reform government and help American workers.
In an speech except released Friday, Trump calls for Congress to “break decades of political stalemate, bridge old division, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future.”
The speech was delayed for a week by the month-long government shutdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced the postponement of the address into February, saying it would be inappropriate while budget negotiations were ongoing.
In last year’s speech, Trump praised military progress in both Afghanistan and the Middle East, and he also claimed credit for bolstering America’s military might through increased Defense Department funding.
Officials crafting this year’s speech said many of those themes will be repeated in next week’s address.
Trump is scheduled to deliver the address at 9 p.m. from the House chamber.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.