Vanderbilt experts available to discuss State of the Union


A number of Vanderbilt University experts will be available to media in the days leading up to and after the State of the Union speech Jan. 30 to discuss a variety of topics that could be addressed during President Trump’s address next Tuesday.

Will Trump “talk tough” about immigration?

Vanessa Beasley, associate professor of communications studies, specializes in political rhetoric. Beasley says she’ll be paying attention to how President Trump’s speech comports with previous presidential addresses. In particular, she’ll be comparing his words on immigration to those of his predecessors.

READ: Beasley discusses how the phrase “American values” is essentially a rhetorical inkblot–it can mean anything we want it to

Will Trump throw establishment GOP candidates a bone?

John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, studies public opinion and political campaigns. As 2018 is an election year, he’ll be looking to see whether the tone and content of Trump’s speech is tailored to fire up his base, or whether he signals interest in reaching out to the establishment in order to help mainstream Republican candidates this fall.

WATCH: Geer discusses how negative rhetoric can shape media coverage of campaigns

What will Trump say about regulations and federal agencies?

David Lewis, William R. Kenan Professor of Political Science, studies the business of federal government, including congressional oversight of agencies, political appointments and civil service. He can discuss issues related to the staffing and running of federal agencies, particularly about regulations, bureaucracy, the federal workforce and plans to restructure agencies including the State Department.

WATCH: Lewis explains why the presidential appointment system needs an overhaul

What’s happening with NAFTA and China?

Timothy Meyer, professor of law, specializes in public international law, with expertise in international trade agreements. He can discuss international trade issues including NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, President Trump’s recent imposition of solar tariffs and trade issues with China, including allegations that the country has practiced currency manipulation. He can also discuss lesser-known trade agreements including the T-TIP agreement with Europe.

WATCH: Meyer weighs in on how our international trade agreements could improve

What will ‘America First’ look like in Year 2?

Tom Schwartz, professor of history, is a historian of U.S. foreign relations. He can comment on North Korea, the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ISIS, the Paris Climate Agreement and more. Additionally, he can evaluate the impact of Trump’s “America First” philosophy on the United States’ traditional leadership in foreign policy.

READ: Schwartz discusses why Trump should have postponed his early meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin

What executive actions are on deck?

Sharece Thrower, assistant professor of political science, studies how Congress and the courts limit the scope of executive power, and how presidents use a variety of tools like executive orders and signing statements to expand their power. Thrower can discuss any executive actions and other unilateral actions President Trump may announce during his speech.

READ: Thrower explains how presidents always end up expanding their power