“All I can do is speak from the heart and say what I want to do,” Trump said during an interview broadcast on Fox & Friends, according to USA Today.
After a turbulent five and a half weeks in the White House, Trump said he will also discuss his yet-to-be proposed replacement for President Obama’s health care plan. The president’s speech also figures to touch on his disputed immigration plans, including a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a proposed travel ban from seven Muslim majority nations.
The address is scheduled to begin at 9:10 p.m. ET.
It comes a day after Trump’s team proposed $54 billion more in the defense budget, a 10% increase that would be financed by an equal amount of still undefined cuts in other government programs. In his Fox interview, Trump also touted an aggressive deportation program focused on migrants with criminal records.
“I’ll be talking about the military, I’ll be talking about the border,” Trump told Fox. “And remember this: On the border and throughout our country, we’re getting the bad ones out. The bad people, gang members, drug lords, in some cases, murderers.”
Asked about financing his plans, Trump said, “I think the money is going to come from a revved up economy.”
Trump travels to Capitol Hill after a short but turbulent time in the presidency. While facing mass protests and lawsuits over his travel ban and deportation policies, Trump has also used Twitter and the presidential bully pulpit to attack political opponents and the media. The friction often deals with ongoing investigations into possible contacts between Trump’s team and Russians during last year’s presidential election.
Polls put Trump’s approval ratings below 50%, unusually low for this early in a presidency.
While Tuesday’s speech will have a State of the Union-like quality, it is technically just an address to Congress. First-year presidents are not expected to be able to judge the true state of the union.
Hours before the event, Democrats and other critics are already attacking many of Trump’s proposals, saying they will benefit the wealthy at the expense of working people he claimed to represent during his campaign.
“If past is prologue, the president will come to Congress with a populist message in an attempt to cloak what has been a hard-right, anti-working person Administration,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
Seeking to win some support from congressional Republicans, Trump has said he will push for a major infrastructure program.
During a Monday meeting at the White House with governors, Trump criticized the state of the nation’s roads and said “we’re going to take care of that. Infrastructure: We’re going to start spending on infrastructure, big.”
While his team is still putting together its own health care proposal, Trump told Fox he will have a “really terrific” plan that is needed because “Obamacare has been a disaster, it’s way out of control.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, more than 20 million people have gained health insurance, dropping the rate of uninsured Americans to new lows.
In his remarks to the governors, Trump said health care was more complicated than he thought, in part because it will affect so many other aspects of the economy. As a result, Trump said he wants to address health care before asking Congress to pass a tax cut.
“I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” Trump said. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”