State of the Union

Five made-for-TV moments from the State of the Union

House Democrats chant “HR3” and hold up three fingers in response to a line on prescription drug prices in President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Network overhaul shores up House Wi-Fi for State of the Union
Bandwidth boosted after years of unreliable access

Media covering President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address had an improved internet situation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A massive revamp of internet infrastructure in the House chamber and press galleries ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union was born out of chaos in preceding years and aimed to facilitate improved media coverage of the speech, spin and surrounding pomp and circumstance.

It seemed to make a difference Tuesday, allowing reporters to fire off tweets and file story updates during the speech from inside the chamber. That hasn’t been the case in previous years and was a pleasant surprise for those in the chamber.

Soldier reunited with family during State of the Union
Army sergeant surprises his wife and two children

Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams kisses his wife, Amy Williams, after surprising his family during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump used part of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address to surprise Amy Williams, a Fort Bragg-based wife of a deployed Army sergeant, and her two young children.

While the president highlighted her volunteer work, he invited Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams down to the gallery to be reunited with his family.

Strong, hateful and inspiring? — Lawmakers react to State of the Union in 3 words
#SOTUin3Words

President Donald Trump arrives in the House chamber to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State of the Union: Draft after draft

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., speaks with reporters following the final votes of the week on Dec. 12, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Josh Gottheimer was one of the youngest staffers on the Clinton administration’s speech writing team.

“The good news is I was only 23 so I don’t think I realized just how overwhelmed I should have been by being in the West Wing,” said Gottheimer while showing CQ Roll Call the Clinton speech memorabilia adorning his walls.

Capitol Ink | Heckler in Chief

What to watch during impeachment: Napping senators
Things are getting soporific in the Senate chamber

Capitol workers wind the Ohio Clock in the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Spot the snoozing politician” is pretty much an annual tradition at the State of the Union. Now there’s a new chance to play the game.

As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial continues, lawmakers are slouching, yawning and fidgeting — and observers in the gallery are watching for drooping eyelids.

Trump accepts Pelosi invitation to deliver State of the Union address Feb. 4
Address will be the first time Trump visits the House chamber since Democrats impeached him

President Donald Trump delivers the 2019 State of the Union address as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi applaud at the Capitol on Feb. 5. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/pool photo)

Updated 2:37 p.m. | President Donald Trump accepted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation Friday to deliver his State of the Union address on Feb. 4, which will be his first visit to the House since Democrats voted to impeach him.

The invite came in a letter Pelosi sent to Trump citing “the spirit of our Constitution,” which calls for the president to give Congress information on the state of the union “from time to time.”

‘Mr. President, get real’: Democrats reject Trump’s SOTU alarm about socialism
Republicans have increasingly referred to Democrats as socialists, but Trump remarks take attack to new heights

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., pictured walking through Statuary Hall to the House chamber for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Feb. 5, dismissed Trump’s remark about the rise of socialism as “demagoguing.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican efforts to label the Democratic Party as socialists reached a new high Tuesday night as President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address to further that partisan message — prompting groans and grimaces from Democrats. 

“We are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” Trump said. “America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

How the 2020 Democrats reacted to Trump’s State of the Union address
Gabbard spent most of it on her phone, Sanders was editing his response

President Donald Trump and others in the House chamber applaud during his State of the Union address Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one of the few Democrats to sit next to a Republican during the State of the Union address Tuesday night, but she spent much of it on her phone. Sen. Bernie Sanders, pen in hand, reviewed and edited the prepared text of his response during the first part of the speech. Rep. Tim Ryan stood in the back looking bored most of the time.

The rest of the Democratic lawmakers running or considering bids for president in 2020 paid more attention to President Donald Trump as he spoke but often sat stone-faced in reaction to his assertions and promises.