State of the Union 2018

President Donald Trump enters the House Chamber

President Donald Trump enters the House Chamber to deliver his first State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018. (Photo by Franmarie Metzler)

President Donald J. Trump and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan shake hands

President Donald J. Trump and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan shake hands before President Trump’s first State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018. (Photo by Phi Nguyen)

President Donald Trump flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan

President Donald Trump flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan at President Trump’s first State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018. (Photo by Kristie Boyd)

Majority Whip Steve Scalise points back at President Donald Trump during the State of the Union

Majority Whip Steve Scalise points back at President Donald Trump during the State of the Union Address. In his address, Trump recognized Scalise, who is recovering after he was shot at a practice for a congressional baseball game over the summer. (Photo by Eric Connolly)

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018, before members of the Senate and House, Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet officials, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and guests. (Photo by Kristie Boyd)

President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union Address

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address before a Joint Session of Congress on January 30, 2018. Members of the House and Senate were joined by Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet officials, and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the address. 

In his speech, President Trump touched on topics from the economy to domestic and foreign policy to recovery efforts from recent natural disasters. “Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans,” President Trump said. “If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.”

When a president addresses a Joint Session of Congress, it is often referred to as a State of the Union Address; however, there typically is no State of the Union Address by a new president in their first year in office. There have been 94 in-person Annual Message and State of the Union Addresses given by presidents before Joint Sessions of Congress.

The State of the Union Address meets the requirement stipulated in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The address is traditionally given annually, although the Constitution does not define “from time to time.”

Find out more about the history of the State of the Union Address from the House Historian’s website.