The Latest: Trump speech to tout ‘Great American Comeback’

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The latest on the president’s State of the Union speech (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump will tell the American people that the country has achieved a “Great American Comeback” in his State of the Union address.

That’s according to early excerpts released by the White House on Tuesday, shortly before the president was scheduled to travel across Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol for the address.

The speech comes after the president became the third in the nation’s history to be impeached and as his trial is still underway. But he will make the case that, despite the division, the country is better off now than four years ago and that he has kept his election promises as he makes his pitch to voters in an election year.

Trump says he will lay out a vision “where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success” and touch on issues including the economy, education, health care, trade and national defense.

He plans to say, “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”

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7:55 p.m.

Two prominent House Democratic freshmen are boycotting President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech over his conduct.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who are both front and center as members of “the Squad,” said hours before the address Tuesday that they’re skipping it.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she would “not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution.”

Pressley, meanwhile, said she’s boycotting because Trump “consistently demonstrates contempt for the American people, contempt for Congress & contempt for our constitution.”

Other “Squad” members – Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – were expected to attend the joint session of Congress.

The four freshmen are all congresswomen of color, and they voted to impeach Trump. They have been labeled “The Squad” in part for their criticism of Trump, and the president frequently rails against them.

The flag flies outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of President Donald Trump delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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