President Trump will make his annual State of the Union address amid a whirlwind of contention.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had already postponed the event in January because of the ongoing dispute over Mr Trump’s border wall, and the ensuing government shutdown.

Traditionally, presidents use the State of the Union to discuss past, present, and future policies. The occasion follows strict convention, with chiefs of staff and justices expected to remain impartial. Any reactions they do display will be closely analysed, as will Mrs Pelosi’s.

There are signs the Republican party is increasingly divided over issues like imposing a state of emergency, or withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria & Afghanistan.

Moreover, recently-fired employees of Mr Trump’s New Jersey golf club will watch the address from the public balcony. Their testimonies highlighting the Trump organisation’s contradictory hiring practices caused outrage, and observers wonder whether they’ll attempt to disrupt the address.

Previews of the speech suggest quite a rhetorical U-turn. Could this alienate Trump’s hardliner voter base?

How will the House of representatives’ unprecedented diversity — and outspoken criticism of Trump — impact the address?

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